MADISON, Wis. – When members of the 2015 Kimberly football team gather in the years to come, they’ll tell wild tales and grand stories as they relive their incredible championship season.
And there’s no way they could ever embellish the facts.
The Papermakers scored four straight second-half touchdowns after trailing by as many as 21 points to stun Arrowhead 49-42 in Friday’s WIAA Division 1 state title game at Camp Randall Stadium – a contest that will be remembered as an all-time classic.
The 49 points are the most scored by a team in a Division 1 state championship history. Meanwhile, the combined 91 points set a record in all divisions.
And there are the historic ramifications.
Kimberly became just the seventh school in state annals to capture at least three consecutive championships. The win also completed its third straight 14-0 season as it extended its winning streak to 42 in a row – six away from tying the state record.
Papermakers senior Blair Mulholland rushed for 341 yards and four TDs to spearhead an offensive attack that amassed 582 total yards. Mulholland scored on runs of 40, 74, 17 and one yards – the final plunge capping a nine-play, 77-yard drive with just 11 seconds remaining.
The rushing total was a state championship record for all divisions as Mulholland – a South Dakota State recruit – finishes with 2,963 yards and 47 TDs on the season.
Mulholland’s 17-yard run late in the third quarter triggered a comeback after the Papermakers fell behind 42-21.
Quarterback Danny Vanden Boom then followed with a seven-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Janssen midway through the fourth quarter to cut the deficit to within seven.
Kimberly recovered the ensuing onside kick, and Vanden Boom hit Janssen again from seven yards out to tie the game at 42-42 with 2:43 remaining.
The Papermakers defense, which struggled to contain Arrowhead’s dynamic passing attack, forced a three-and-out to set up the final, game-winning drive.
Vanden Boom threw for 255 yards and three touchdowns on 18-of-31 passing. Janssen finished with 10 receptions for 125 yards and three scores.
The game was a rematch of last year’s Division 1 championship – a 31-6 Papermakers victory. Kimberly also won the Division 2 title in 2013.
Warhawks quarterback Johnny Duranso was sensational in guiding an Arrowhead (12-2) offense that piled up 372 total yards. The senior threw for 275 yards and three TDs on 11-of-16 passing. He also rushed for two scores.
Justin Peret added five catches for 173 yards and two touchdowns.
The 954 combined offensive yards set a new state title record for all divisions.