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Williamsburg handles Wahlert, will play for a state football championship
Dubuque Wahlert has no answer for Carson Huedepohl and Derek Weisskopf in 31-7 Raiders win
CEDAR FALLS — Williamsburg’s Carson Huedepohl and Derek Weisskopf make a dangerous duo.
As far as quarterback-receiver combos, they have built a strong rapport in a short amount of time. Weisskopf didn’t move to receiver until the end of last season. Huedepohl, who missed last year due to a knee injury, is in his first season at quarterback, moving from tailback in the second half of the season opener.
“They’re special,” Williamsburg Coach Curt Ritchie said. “It’s not like there is anything unique or tricky about what they’re doing. Trying to get them good matchups and letting them make plays. They both did it today.”
Dubuque Wahlert witnessed it. The Raiders’ passing pair connected nine times for 177 yards and two scores, leading No. 2 Williamsburg to a 31-7 victory over the Golden Eagles in a Class 2A state football semifinal at UNI-Dome. The Raiders have a chance for their first state football title in school history.
“It would mean everything,” Huedepohl said. “We’ve never won it. It would mean everything for the team, coaches and even the community. It would put smiles on everybody’s faces.”
Williamsburg (12-0) reached the semifinals for the second straight season but fell short a year ago. The Raiders are back in the title game for the first time since 2017. A feat a year in the making.
“It’s awesome,” Weisskopf said. “Coach Ritchie and Coach Eck (assistant Grant Eckenrod) were like ‘we’re going to make it this year.’
“It’s huge to us because we wanted it last year and didn’t get it. We came back this year and did it.”
Huedepohl and Weisskopf were key in grounding the Golden Eagles. Weisskopf reeled in eight catches for 164 yards, including seven that resulted in a first down or two impressive touchdowns. Their chemistry was part of a winning formula.
“We’re all good friends in Williamsburg,” Huedepohl said. “We all have a good connection.
⧉ Related article: Photos: Williamsburg vs. Dubuque Wahlert in Class 2A state football semifinals
“I can throw the ball pretty well and place it in spots that I would like it to be. Knowing he’s going to be there is a big part of it. In practice, we throw the ball around a lot. That’s where it comes from.”
They teamed up twice for 62 yards on the second possession of the game. On fourth-and-4, Huedepohl rolled left and lofted a pass in the end zone. Weisskopf jumped and came down with the ball in between two defenders for a 16-yard TD, giving the Raiders a 10-0 lead with 1:34 left in the first.
“I saw him throw the ball and just thought go get this,” Weisskopf said. “I came up with it.”
With a 6-foot-3, 210-pound future NCAA Division I athlete at receiver, Huedepohl has a luxury many quarterbacks don’t and he has faith Weisskopf will showcase his ability to win those battles.
“I have big trust in Derek,” Huedepohl said. “He’s a great athlete.
“The catch between those two defenders definitely is nothing new for Derek.”
They closed the Raiders’ scoring with a 30-yard scoring strike with 8:36 remaining. Weisskopf hauled in a deep ball down the near sideline, diving from the 4 and just getting inside the pylon.
“I told my coaches I wanted the ball,” Weisskopf said. “I told them I wanted it and went to go make a play. It was awesome.”
The pair even reversed roles with Weisskopf hitting Huedepohl for a 13-yard gain on a pass back to the QB, which resulted in a Gable Dayton 4-yard TD run for a 24-0 lead in the third.
The Raiders defense provided a pivotal boost in the game. Wahlert drove to the red zone when Williamsburg’s Madox Doehrmann punched the ball out of running back Alex Eisbach’s hands. The ball bounced on the turf and Braylon Wetjen scooped it up and bolted 79 yards for the score, a possible double-digit swing for a 17-0 advantage with 5:23 left before halftime.
Williamsburg stymied Wahlert most of the game, holding it scoreless on two trips inside the red zone. The Golden Eagles (9-3) managed 229 offensive yards, which is a little more than 100 under their average, with 53 yards coming on a TD pass from Bryce Rudiger to Zach Callahan with 6:13 left on the only fourth down the Golden Eagles converted.
“Our defense has been special all year,” Ritchie said. “We saw it at the end of last year. They kept us in that semifinal game last year. Eight of those guys are back.
“In the second half, they were playing with three backup linemen the whole half. To do what they did was really special. Credit to the coaches and kids to get themselves prepared and ready for that moment.”
Williamsburg faces No. 1 Central Lyon/George-Little Rock (12-0) here Friday at 10 a.m.