MADISON - Midway through the second quarter the left arm of St. Mary's Springs quarterback Evan Henderson was just hanging by his side.
No movement, but it was a good thing for Henderson he was right-handed and the Ledgers were a run-oriented team. Imagine if he had to win this game.
Well … the way Regis' defense was stopping the run Springs had to find a way to move the ball and if you can't run, you pass, right?
With the score tied 14-all and 1 minute, 50 seconds left in the second quarter, the Ledgers wanted to see if they could put one more touchdown on the scoreboard. However, without the running game trampling the defense like normal and Henderson's bum arm, how was that going to happen?
Ask Henderson to throw the ball, and he did. The senior, making his third straight state championship start, took the team on his shoulders and completed 8 of 10 passes on a 13-play 75-yard drive and capped it off with his second TD pass of the game to give the Ledgers a 21-14 lead entering halftime.
Springs never looked back as it won its second straight title, beating the Ramblers, 24-14, at Camp Randall Stadium.
"He got banged up there," Springs coach Bob Hyland said. "A little speculation there is he probably separated his shoulder. He played with one arm the whole second half. What can you say about a kid who's thrown two interceptions all year?"
Henderson, who entered the game averaging 9.1 pass attempts per game, set a Division 6 state title game record with 14 completions and it only took 18 attempts, which were a season-high. He totaled 144 yards, but it was the second-quarter drive that made the imprint on this game.
Henderson, who finished the season with 23 TD passes, might've been in pain, but at halftime Regis couldn't have been feeling too good either. During a play call he came over to the sideline and was asked if he could make a throw, and Henderson said he could.
Henderson, who opened the scoring with a 3-yard TD run, then hit tight end Matt Austin for a 28-yard gain on a pass over the middle.
"I told the receivers they were going to have to make plays," Henderson said. "I could feel it, but I just tried to put it out mind and just play."
Added receiver Eric Feldner: "I think that score at the end of the first half gave us momentum into the second half. It really gave us that push to end the game."
Springs, which entered the game leading the state in scoring at 49.8 points per game, only added a field goal in the second half but it proved to be enough. The 24 points scored matched a season low, as Shiocton also limited the Ledgers to 24 points.
"This was a war, an absolute war," Hyland said. "They took away things we liked to do and had to throw the ball more than we'd like to do."
"They got to be one of the best (defenses)," Henderson said. "They have some big guys, they played hard and came after us."
Hyland expected to rely on the ground game, which featured 1,000-yard runner Darin Ward, who was averaging an absurd 9.5 yards per carry. Ward, though, was limited to 95 yards on 17 carries, including a run of 55 yards.
Outside of Ward's long rush, he ran 16 times for 40 yards. If Springs was going to find a way to win a second straight state title, it needed to find a solution to Regis' stingy defense.
The answer was Henderson, who became a starter late his sophomore season. His experience in the state championship environment had to help his cause.
"I'm sure you can go back and rely on experiences you've had," Hyland said. "He knew what he had to do and he did. That's a real tribute to the kid and his character and what he had to do for his team."
During the game Henderson looked lackadaisical, walking slowly, almost like he wasn't into the game. He was, but he was hurting.
Feldner, who had 9 catches for 85 yards and a touchdown, couldn't give his teammate enough credit.
"I can't give Evan enough credit," Feldner said. "He was even having a tough time talking in the huddle, calling the plays. He was in pain, took the snap, took a deep drop, threw the pass and put the ball on the money where I could catch it. I can't give enough credit. He's a great all-around quarterback."
And because of his effort, Henderson is now a two-time state champion.
- Notes: Springs has won 27 straight games, the longest streak in Northeast Wisconsin. … Ike Floyd rushed 17 times for 62 yards. … Ward finished with 1,144 rushing yards this season. … Springs' last loss was in the 2010 state title game, a 6-3 loss to Edgar. … Springs has won four state titles and has been runner-up three times.
- Game ball: Henderson, who played injured and accounted for all of Springs' touchdowns.
- Numbers game: 2 Straight state titles for Springs.
ST. MARY'S SPRINGS 24, REGIS 14
St. Mary's Springs… 7 14 0 3 - 24
Regis…....................…0 14 0 0 - 14
SMS: Evan Henderson 3 yard run (Mitchell Herron kick). Drive: 4 plays, 15 yards.
SMS: Eric Feldner 16 yard pass from Henderson (Herron kick). Drive: 7 plays, 83
REG: K. Akindolire 1 yard run (Pedersen kick). Drive: 7 plays, 82 yards.
REG: Hayden Frey 5 yard run (Pedersen kick). Drive: 7 plays, 55 yards.
SMS: Ryan Grandlic 7 yard pass from Henderson (Herron kick). Drive: 13 plays 75 yards.
SMS: Herron 24 yards field goal. Drive: 11 plays, 66 yards.
Follow Doug Ritchay on Twitter @dougritchay
The village of Allouez has received a request from the owner of the Hilltop Apartments site to build a 48-unit apartment complex on the site of the burnt-out apartments.
Brown County's old Mental Health Center is starting to come down.
A big score for a local food pantry, thanks to the Packers finding the end zone this season.
A jury convicted Peter Hanson Tuesday for the 1998 death of Chad McLean.
A Sheboygan man convicted of helping to run a sophisticated drug ring that trafficked cocaine and marijuana from Texas to Wisconsin has been sentenced to more than 10 years in prison.
The Salvation Army of Brown County has struck gold for the third year in a row.