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Jayme Wells softened them up with three big jabs, and Benny DeBruin delivered most of the body blows as Kimberly posted a 28-14 victory over Verona to claim its second straight and overall Division 2 state championship.
The speedy Wells scored on a 5-yard run, a 34-yard pass reception and an 88-yard kickoff return to stake top-ranked and defending champion Kimberly to a 21-7 advantage. It was the last effort that provided the biggest boost after Verona had driven 63 yards and scored on a beautiful pass from Trevor Burmeister to Adam Means from 38 yards out to make it 14-7 with 1:58 left before the break.
Wells, who has verbally committed to play baseball at Northern Illinois, then intercepted a pass that helped keep the Wildcats from cutting into Kimberly's lead before the intermission.
Kimberly hasn't lost since its playoff opener against Germantown in 2006, polishing off its second consecutive 14-0 campaign as DeBruin took over in the second half, carrying nine times for 62 yards during a 10-play, 64-yard drive to open the second half as the favorites pushed ahead 28-7 on his 1-yard dive. His dominance featured two 16-yard scampers.
Quarterback Taylor Wolf gained 50 yards rushing and 66 passing while directing a punishing ground game that finished with 316 yards, including 164 from DeBruin on 23 attempts.
The Papermakers' defense allowed yardage and several big plays but didn't let the Wildcats stay in synch too long at a time, giving up 294 yards and 15 first downs. But they made several key stops and made Verona work for its points. Another key juncture occurred when Verona earned a first-and-goal from the 5 but couldn't score after driving 76 yards and leaving the score at 28-7 with 4:29 showing.
Burmeister finished 11 of 26 for 165 yards, while Cameron Bathe led the running attack with 54 yards on 12 tries.
Wells ended up with 55 yards rushing and 41 receiving.
Defensively, Colten Heagle topped the Papermakers with 13 total stops, 12 of them solo. Sean McGowan led the Wildcats with 10 tackles.