State Semifinal Preview: The Darkhorse in Melrose

Melrose-Mindoro takes on No. 1 in the state Darlington

Friday marks the first time in school history Mustangs football will play on turf field.
This for the chance at a much bigger first: an invite to the state title game.

“We don’t think we are little David,” senior wide receiver Aaron Scafe said. “We do not think we are an underdog because we know how good we are. If we play our game we are going to come out and beat them.”

Last week on the road against No. 1 seed Pecatonia/Argyle, Melrose-Mindoro needed two touchdown drives in the final three minutes and change to have a shot to advance. Quarterback Sam Boone and the Mustangs continued to do what worked all season: throw the football. And with 17 seconds left on the clock, the Mustangs were ahead and on to the state semifinals for the first time since 1997.

“It is definitely different, you know, most teams around here just run, and we like to put the ball in the air,” said junior quarterback Sam Boone. “I think that attributes to the athletes we have.”  

Boone and the offense flew past expectations all season, tripling 2014’s output of touchdowns thru the air and slicing the interception total by more than half. The high-flying attack put veteran coach Tom Wisniewski on the best ride of his career.

“It has been a crazy run; it’s a year where we improved a lot through the season,” said Wisniewski. “There was a lot of doubt after the  first week loss to Bangor, but we learned from it and we got on a big-time roll. It is just an awesome way to close out the season, going in to the semifinals with the opportunity to get to Camp Randall.”

The favorites to win state in division 6 hail from Darlington, and the Redbirds are up next. Kickoff is set for Friday at 7 p.m. in Middleton.