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Prep Football: McDonell wraps up first eight-man winning season with rout over Siren
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Prep Football | McDonell 64, Siren 16

Prep Football: McDonell wraps up first eight-man winning season with rout over Siren

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Siren at McDonell football 11-13-20

McDonell's Noah Christopherson celebrates a touchdown with teammates Tanner Opsal (11), Clemett Matthews (15) and Seth Wildenberg (63) after a touchdown against Siren on Friday evening at Dorais Field.

The McDonell football team has come a long way in three seasons.

The Macks wrapped up their first winning season in eight-man Friday evening by scoring the first 56 points in a 64-16 rout of Siren to close the regular season.

Tanner Opsal threw for 97 yards and four touchdowns while he and Xayvion Matthews each had two rushing scores in the win for the Macks (5-3).

Matthews had a game-high 101 rushing yards on 11 carries and Opsal threw touchdown passes to Dale Tetrault, Noah Hanson, Noah Christopherson and Chase Berg as the Macks raced out to a 48-0 halftime lead.

"That's when we're at our best is when we can establish the run," McDonell coach Jason Cox said of the offense. "That's what we like to do, we established it early like we wanted to do and then getting some RPOs off of that and some passes when they started coming up tight is really our game and that's what we were able to do today."

McDonell scored on each of its first six possessions on offense while the defense held the Dragons out of the end zone until the fourth quarter. Ethan Goulet had two interceptions for McDonell and Matthews added a pick of his own as the Macks made life difficult for Siren quarterback Nick Webster in holding the Dragons to negative 33 rushing yards.

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"They were fantastic tonight," Cox said. "I'd have to look at the scores but I'm pretty sure that's the only time we went into halftime with a goose egg, a shutout going into halftime. They scored late there but the defense was fantastic, got a lot of pressure up front which was really the key for us and our DBs did a fantastic job of finding the balls and making plays."

Opsal opened the scoring on the fourth play of the game by finding Tetrault over the top of the Siren defense for a 44-yard touchdown pass to put the Macks in front 8-0 less than two minutes into the game. Opsal had rushing scores of five and four yards and connected with Hanson on a seven-yard scoring toss in the first quarter.

Christopherson and Berg caught touchdowns in the second quarter with Matthews breaking free on a 50-yard scoring scamper to extend the McDonell lead to 48-0 at the break.

"It was fun because you know you're going to hit people," senior offensive lineman Seth Wildenberg said of the team establishing the run. "You know it's coming right behind you. You know if you do a good job, it's going to be a big play."

Luke Pettis broke the shutout with a 72-yard touchdown reception from Webster with 6:42 left in the game for the Dragons (1-4). Ethan Ruud added a touchdown pass to Brady Kosloski for Siren's other touchdown before Christopherson broke free on a 21-yard touchdown run in the final minute for the Macks.

The victory caps a successful season for McDonell, who finished above the .500 mark for the first time in eight-man and the first time for the program in general since 2015. Seniors Opsal, Christopherson, Peter Herron, Wildenberg, Rongxian Yang and Berg saw their freshman season canceled as the program took 2017 off before making the move to eight-man in 2018.

The group saw its first varsity action as sophomores in a winless season before improving to 3-5 last year. McDonell finished second to Gilman in the Central Wisconsin West Conference standings.

"I can't say enough about the senior class, they were fantastic," Cox said. "A lot of those guys started as sophomores and really took their lumps out there a couple years ago and fought through a ton of adversity and kept getting better. The leadership this year was better than its ever been for us. Those guys really were in charge and really led our team to where we want to be."

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