The Wauwatosa Spartans defeated the Southern Lakes Blue Devils, 27-6, in the American Conference Championship Game in the Ironman Football League on Saturday night at Hart Park.
The Spartans (9-1) came into the game as the number one seed in the American Conference playoffs, and hosted the number three seed Blue Devils (6-4). The teams played close in their regular season matchup in week four hosted by the Blue Devils, with the Spartans taking a 14-12 win.
But this one wasn't destined to be close. In the first half, a power running game generated two touchdowns, one in each quarter, both by running back Jaimie Marton, opening a 14-0 Spartan lead. The Spartan defense stymied the Blue Devils on every offensive possession, never allowing a serious scoring threat in the first half.
In the third quarter, the Spartan offense continued marching, but were only able to add two field goals by kicker Charlie Henke, making it 20-0.
Late in the third quarter, the Blue Devils were aided by a long pass-interference call and scored on a 2-yard run by quarterback Chris Calhoun, to make it 20-6 after a failed two-point conversion.
With time winding down in the fourth quarter, the Blue Devils mounted one last desperate drive to get back into the game, only to have a Calhoun pass picked off by Spartan defensive lineman Raymond McGee and returned 20 yards for a touchdown, making it 27-6.
The Blue Devils final possession was stopped on a series of sacks, ending the game and giving the Spartans the victory.
The win gives the Spartans their third American Conference Championship in five years, and sends them to the Iron Bowl for the third time. Advancing in the National Conference were the Madison Mustangs, winners of the last four Iron Bowls, who defeated the Muskego Hitmen, 21-3.
The Mustangs (11-0) inflicted the only blemish on the Spartans' 2012 record (10-1), when they were able to score in the final minute of the game in Middleton in week five of the regular season, giving them a 28-24 win.
Iron Bowl XVI will be played at 6 p.m. on Sept. 8 at Hart Park.
- Tom "Sky" Skibosh
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