Chippewa Falls and Eau Claire Memorial have been meeting since 1895.
Nothing in one of the state’s longest rivalries can match Friday night’s epic struggle at Carson Park.
Matt Pomietlo ran 25 yards for a touchdown in a second overtime and then plunged over for the 2-point conversion to cap a wild-scoring 67-65 victory.
Memorial followed with a touchdown on Bryson Johnson’s 12-yard toss to Jack Piper but a pass into the end zone in an attempt to tie the game could not be handled by a receiver.
The win ended a season of frustration for the Cardinals, who have been hurt by turnovers in two losses and opened Friday’s game with two lost fumbles that gave Memorial the early lead.
“Credit the kids,” Chippewa Falls coach Chuck Raykovich said. “They were down 21 in the second half and didn’t quit.”
Memorial took a 51-37 lead into the final period but the Cardinals rallied to force overtime, marching the field in the final minutes and gained a tie on Nolan Hutzler’s 6-yard pass to Joe Reuter and Pomielto’s run for the two pointer with 45 seconds to play.
Memorial took a 59-51 lead in the first overtime on Bryson Johnson’s 10-yard pass to Calvin Tanner and the two hooked up on a 2-point conversion. But Chippewa Falls answered on a 20-yard pass play from Hutzler to JD Czech and Pomietlo’s run, forcing a second overtime.
Pomietlo gave the Cards the lead on a first-down scoring run from the 25 and the his conversion run. Memorial countered but fell short on the conversion try.
“It was a great game,” Raykovich said. “It’s unfortunate that somebody had to lose. Memorial played a excellent game.”
The game broke all records for the two schools. Tyler Bohland and Pomietlo combined to run for nearly 400 yards while Memorial junior quarterback Johnson passed for over 400 yards and a school record eight touchdowns.
Memorial’s receiving corps of Nathan Hau, Tanner, Piper and Will Hesse was outstanding.
Memorial led 31-21 at halftime and 45-21 in the third period, despite losing its standout running back, Loyal Crawford, to a shoulder injury in the first quarter.
It was the first conference win for Chippewa Falls (3-2, 1-2), which is now tied with Memorial (2-3, 1-2) in the BRC.