Hortonville football stomps Appleton West
Polar Bears win 1st game at new stadium
By Erik Buchinger
Hortonville football shut out Appleton West 38-0 in the first game played at Wolf River Community Bank Stadium on Friday, Aug. 17.
The Polar Bears made plays in all three phases, and head coach Tom Kolosso said he was proud of his team’s season-opening win.
“With the new stadium and everything else we had going on, this was unlike anything I’ve experienced,” Kolosso said. “I’m really proud of our community and proud of what we did tonight.”
Kolosso said it was excited to get back on the field after coming up short of the playoffs last season.
“It was a long offseason,” Kolosso said. “It was really good to put last year behind us and come out here and get this going again. The excitement leading up to the first football game is always a big deal.”
Hortonville running back Jose Concepcion scored two touchdowns and gained 148 yards on 29 carries, and quarterback Kyle Allen completed all nine of his passes for 112 yards and two touchdowns.
“Offensively, we made big plays,” Kolosso said. “We’ve got a lot of stuff to clean up, but I’m really proud of Kyle managing our offense, and he made some big throws.”
Hortonville jumped out to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter, which included Josh Giese returning a punt to the 6-yard line and Jayqon Owens scoring on a 49-yard punt return touchdown.
“Really happy with our special teams coming out of the gate,” Kolosso said. “Coach [Bob] Forstrom does an awesome job, and we identified that as something we wanted to be an advantage for us tonight. That set the tone and set our offense up early.”
Owens said his speed guided him to the end zone on the first of his two touchdowns.
“I was in the moment right there,” Owens said. “I knew I was faster than all of them, so I just decided to score on them.”
Hortonville’s first touchdown of the game was from one yard out for Concepcion after Duncan Ice forced a fumble, recovered by Dylan Schmidt at the 1-yard line.
The Polar Bears went ahead by 21 on a pass from Allen to wide receiver Josh Giese for a 29-yard touchdown late in the first quarter.
“Our offensive skill guys with Qon, Giese, Jose, Braden [Vallafskey] – we’ve got some playmakers there,” Kolosso said. “Each night, I think guys are going to be taking turns of whose night it’s going to be.”
Giese finished with two receptions for 42 yards and a touchdown and had one carry for 36 yards.
Hortonville extended its lead to 28-0 on a 1-yard touchdown run for Concepcion after the Polar Bears converted 31-yard pass to Schmidt on fourth down to the 3-yard line.
In the third quarter, Owens caught Allen’s pass near the corner of the end zone and kept his feet inbounds for a 5-yard touchdown reception, which he described after the game as “toe drag swag.”
Hortonville kicker McKenna Gervais made all five extra points and made a 20-yard field goal to give the Polar Bears a 38-0 lead in the third quarter.
Kolosso said he was proud of the defensive effort all four quarters and the day before the game, he knew his team would be ready.
“We have absolutely great leadership,” Kolosso said. “We had the best Thursday practice I think we’ve ever had in our program last night, and I knew watching our practice last night we were going to come out here and be ready to go.”
Kolosso said he is excited to begin the season on a winning streak.
“We’re going to enjoy it for the weekend and by Sunday, it’s on to Kaukauna,” Kolosso said. “We move on, but boy it feels good to be 1-0 right now.”