If anyone at Wisconsin Lutheran’s Raabe Stadium on Saturday night couldn’t pronounce the name Adihia Bell in their game program, they had it mastered by the end of the Vikings’ 28-17 victory over New Berlin Eisenhower in Level 2 of the Division 3 playoffs.
Bell was far more than the Lions could handle, as the junior running back ran 25 times for 226 yards and three scores, good for an average of nine yards per carry. Bell got to work early, scoring on a 53-yard run just under 2 minutes into the game on a free sprint down the left sideline.
“I saw our left tackle make a great block and that cleared the way,” Bell said. “After that, it was just off to the races from there.”
Eisenhower scored less than a minute later on a 2-yard run from senior quarterback John Crowley, set up by a 79-yard kickoff return from sophomore Nick Taylor. The Vikings fumbled on their next possession to set up a 37-yard Eisenhower field goal, but the Lions wouldn’t hold their 10-7 lead for long.
Lutheran senior tight end Nolan McShane helped the Vikings regain a 14-10 lead with a 21-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Zach Evans with 3:11 left in the first quarter.
From there, Bell took over with touchdown runs of 38 and 20 yards to give Lutheran a 28-10 lead at halftime.
“He’s a player we were worried about coming in,” Eisenhower head coach Jeff Setz said. “We knew he was a very tough runner in the middle, but he burned us a few times on the outside as well. We didn’t make enough plays. We couldn’t stop them when we needed to, and we just didn’t have it tonight.”
Eisenhower scored the only points of the second half on Dylan Petre’s 33-yard touchdown reception with 10:04 left in the third quarter, but for most of the night, Lutheran stymied the 6-foot-4, 200-pound senior. Petre finished with three catches for 71 yards.
“New Berlin Eisenhower is a very physical team, and they were very physical tonight,” Luterhan head coach Kirk DeNoyer said. “You have to give them a lot of credit because they battled and stuck with us right until the end. I think a turning point was once we started taking care of the football and stopped turning the ball over. We got a little more comfortable, and we were able to be a little more productive.”
Eisenhower's season ends at 8-3 overall, something Setz was more than proud of.
“I’m very pleased with the way this season went,” he said. “I would say we overachieved compared to what the expectations were at the beginning of the year. It’s always rough when you lose like this, but I’m very proud of this group. We had a great coaching staff that kept them motivated throughout the year and it was a very coachable group of kids.”
The Vikings (9-2) move on to the quarterfinals, where they will face Pewaukee (9-2) next weekend.
“Pewaukee is a great team,” Lutheran head coach Kirk DeNoyer said. "I watched them on Friday night; they’re physical, they’re athletic, and we have a quite a week ahead of us getting ready for them.”
Asked about his dominant performance, Bell was more focused on the road ahead.
“It feels amazing,” he said, “everybody’s real confident right now. After a win like this, it’s just all smiles. I don’t know how far we can go, but right now it’s just about preparation and being ready to go to battle.”