By RON DEUTER
NIAGARA, Wis. - Northern Elite has sealed up another berth in the WIAA state football playoffs.
Theresa Peterson/The Daily News Photo
Northern Elite’s TJ Liebergen carries during the first half of Friday night’s Northern Lakes Conference game against White Lake/Elcho. He finished with 109 yards on 16 attempts.
Scoring four times in the second quarter, the Predators ran away from White Lake/Elcho 47-14 in a Northern Lakes regular-season finale Friday night at Marv Ropele Field.
"I thought we did a good job," Predators coach Ben Laarman said. "We were a little bit of a sluggish to start but we picked it up defensively. We picked it up, started playing better on defensive line. That made a big difference."
The Predators (4-4, 4-2) scored on a Joey Swanson three-yard push up the middle in the first quarter, but got nothing else until the second frame.
"They gave us a look we weren't expecting,' Laarman said. "But we adjusted well and started to execute, so overall a good win."
Swanson took over in quarter two, adding two more rushing scores of five and 37 yards. He finished with a game-best 142 yards on 16 trips, 138 of that coming in the first half.
Colin Anderson added a two-yard run for another first-half touchdown, and Swanson found Jordan Zawada for a 51-pass over the middle on the final play of the half to make it 34-0 at the break.
Another Swanson to Zawada hook-up, this time for 10 yards, helped make it a 41-0 game late in the third quarter. The Predators second teamers went the rest of the game.
TJ Liebergen ran 16 times for 109 yards, and Zawada finished with four catches for 65 yards as the Predators offense broke the 400-yard mark in the game.
The Predators defense came up with a couple of sacks, three interceptions and several more tackles for loss in holding the Wolverines to under 100 yards on the ground.
Liebergen, Peston Dumke and Patrick Moreau all had picks.
The Wolverines (3-5, 1-5) dented the scoreboard twice in the fourth quarter. Joe Kubacki found Dylan Korvela for a 28-yard strike, and Kubacki then picked off a pass and ran it back 55 yards for another score.
Northern Elite added one more touchdown late in the game when Grant Moll broke through the line and darted 39 yards to paydirt.
The Predators find out later this afternoon who they will face in the opening round of the playoffs. That information will be relayed in Monday's Daily News.
Northern Elite finished the regular season winning four of its last five games.
"I think so," Laarman said when asked if his team is ready for the playoffs. "You look at our last two games, and we played well. We've been improving all season, so I feel good about where we are right now heading into the playoffs."
White Lake/Elcho 0 0 0 14 - 14
Northern Elite 7 27 7 6 - 47
N - Joey Swanson 3 run (TJ Liebergen kick), 5:35.
N - Swanson 5 run (kick failed), 11:55.
N - Swanson 37 run (Liebergen kick), 5:06.
N - Colin Anderson 2 run (Liebergen kick), 0:34.
N - Jordan Zawada 51 pass from Swanson (Liebergen kick), 0:00.
N - Zawada 10 pass from Swanson (Liebergen kick), 2:46.
WL - Dylan Korvela 28 pass from Joe Kubacki (Jaeger Adams pass from Kubacki), 10:31.
WL - Kubacki 55 interception (run failed), 3:40.
N - Grant Moll 39 run (run failed), 0:48.
Total yards - White Lake/Elcho 261 (86 run,175 pass); Northern Elite 405 (340 run, 65 pass).
Rushing leaders - WL: Korvela 11-53, Kubacki 13-46; NE: Swanson 16-142, Liebergen 16-109.
Receiving leaders - WL: Kris Gallagher 4-100, Adams 1-35, Alec Smith 2-40; NE: Zawada 4-65.
Passing - WL: Kubacki 6-21-126-1-3, Adams 1-2-49-0-0, Korvela 0-1-0-0-0; NE: Swanson 4-6-65-2-0, Adam Parent 0-1-0-0-1.
Interceptions - WL: Kubacki; NE: Liebergen, Preston Dumke, Patrick Moreau.
First downs - WL 12: NE: 16.
Penalties - WL: 7-45; NE: 5-30.