The bamboo sticks were carried out with pride the first time the Papermakers stepped on the field prior to Friday’s WIAA Division 2 state title game.
It could have seemed odd to the casual observer, but the bamboo sticks represent absolutely everything you need to know about the Kimberly football team.
Those bamboo sticks, you see, represent perseverance, hard work and patience. And all three of those qualities helped lead the Kimberly football team to a 51-10 demolishing of Oshkosh North at Camp Randall Stadium.
Need an explanation about the whole bamboo thing? Kimberly coach Steve Jones was more than happy to let you in on the team’s mantra, which has players mentioning the phrase “Grow it!” throughout the season as they collected their third Division 2 state title and first since 2008.
“There’s a story behind (the bamboo sticks),” Jones said. “There’s a certain giant bamboo plant that for four years, even after four years after you plant it, it never grows. You water it, but you never see anything. But once it hits the ground, it bursts up 90 feet in sixty days.
“That’s been the metaphor for our football team in terms of being patient, persistent and hard-working.”
Many of those traits also showed up in Friday’s game, where Kimberly’s defense had to weather the imposing quarterback-receiver combination of North’s Nathan Neveau and Cooper Radtke.
The duo had been playing at a high level throughout the playoffs and, Neveau especially, had the Papermakers on their heels.
Neveau, with his quick footwork and accurate arm, moved North on the game’s first possession down inside Kimberly territory, where he scored from six yards out for a 7-0 lead.
But Kimberly quarterback Scott Schreiber answered the drive in leading the Papermakers inside the North red zone, where he tied the game on a one-yard scoring plunge.
Schreiber was just getting warmed up however, as he found Weston Guilfoyle on a 33-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter and Kimberly led 14-10 at the half.
The second half was more Schreiber as he took the opening possession and finished it with a 42-yard touchdown run that ended with a nifty spin move into the end zone.
Kimberly scored two more times in the third quarter, with Blair Mulholland running in from one yard out and Schreiber adding an 11-yard TD run as the Papermakers led 35-10 heading into the fourth quarter.
“I think every week we prepare with the mindset that we’re going to go into any game and play our best,” Mulholland said. “(Coach Jones) said all week that this was going to be our best game. We started slow but in the second half we really kicked it into gear.”
Kimberly’s defense also put the clamps on Neveau. While the 5-foot-10 senior finished with 192 yards passing, the Papermakers defense picked him off once while also forcing him into several poor throws in the second half.
The Papermakers finished with two sacks in another great outing by a unit that had given up just fewer than 10 points per game all season.
“We just knew that he was a broken-play kind of player and that he can make plays out of anything,” Kimberly senior linebacker Mitchel Fisher said. “We needed pressure on him and our defensive line did a great job.”
Kimberly’s secondary also fared well against Radtke. His 6-5 frame presented matchup problems all postseason, but the Papermakers held him to 37 yards on four catches.
“During the week, we knew we would have some struggles on that,” Kimberly senior defensive back Luke Winnen said. “They base that offense they have off that great quarterback and receiver. We just had to settle down, play some tough defense and we came away victorious.”
Kimberly added a 24-yard scoring run from Schreiber and a J.P. Peerenboom’s 13-yard scoring run to cap the scoring. Peerenboom returned to action after missing the entire postseason up to Friday’s game due to injury.
Schreiber finished with 100 yards rushing and 194 yards passing. Mulholland added 89 yards rushing and Peerenboom collected 52. Guilfoyle led all receivers with 77 yards.
“(The win) feels great,” Schreiber said. “All the time we spent with this senior group, the workouts in the summer, running the hills and being in the weight room. To win this … it just feels great.”
ON – Nate Neveau 6 run (T. Geisthardt kick)
K – Scott Schreiber 1 run (Mitchel Fisher kick)
K – Weston Guilfoyle 33 pass from Schreiber (Fisher kick)
ON – Geisthardt 29 FG
K – Schreiber 42 run (Fisher kick)
K – Blair Mulholland 1 run (Fisher kick)
K – Schreiber 11 run (Fisher kick)
K – Schreiber 24 run (Fisher kick)
K – Safety
K – J.P. Peerenboom 13 run (Fisher kick)
|Total Net Yards||238||396|
Rushing — Oshkosh North, Neveau 18-55, Cooper Radtke 1-14. Kimberly, Schreiber 12-100, Mulholland 18-89, Peerenboom 10-52.
Passing — Oshkosh North, Neveau 18-31-1-192. Kimberly, Schreiber 9-12-0-154.
Receiving — Oshkosh North, Cameron Parish 5-63, Geisthardt 4-38, Radtke 4-37, Alex Hintze 3-41, Dong Hoon Im 2-13. Kimberly, Guilfoyle 3-77, Jack DeGroot 3-48, Jake Johnson 2-15, Jordan Janssen 1-14
Kimberly tackes (solo-assist-total): Fisher 8-3-11, Luke Winnen 4-1-5, Matt Weinhold 3-2-5, Spencer Hermus 1-3-4, Nick Peters 3-0-3, Connor McCormick 3-0-3, Ty Romenesko 3-0-3, Marcus Matsche 2-1-3, Bret Verstegen 1-2-3, Sam Plucker 2-0-2.