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Bennington's defense issues reminder in dominant Class B final

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Watch now: Bennington's Lenhart post game

Bennington’s offense gets a lot of the credit, and it's deserved. But the Badgers' defense served up a reminder about their unit when it mattered the most.

Bennington held Omaha Gross to just 39 yards on 21 plays between the second and third quarters, which allowed the Badgers' offense to jolt out to a big lead.

In the end, it was Bennington over Omaha Gross 38-14, clinching the Badgers' second straight Class B title Tuesday at Memorial Stadium.

“We asked them and relied on them all year,” Bennington coach Kem Lenhart said. “They just continue to amaze me. This defense, the amount of time and effort they put in, it’s deserved.”

Bennington’s defense was dominant all season, holding opponents to less than nine points per game.

“Our defense played lights-out all season,” Badgers quarterback Trey Bird said. “We definitely wouldn’t be here without them. And they give us the best look in practice every day.”

Gross racked up 104 yards of total offense in the first quarter and traded touchdowns with the defending champions.

Prep football Class B championship

Bennington's Layne Boever trips up Omaha Gross Catholic's Jake Garcia in the fourth quarter during the class B championship game on Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022, at Memorial Stadium.

That's when the Badgers' defense kicked it up a notch.

“We always had to figure out what they are going to do, what the physicality is like,” Lenhart said. “I think that works with every football game. You could see (the defense) really settle in as we got going.”

Lenhart credited the defensive line for setting the tempo for the game, which was a common theme this fall.

“It was the same defensive game plan that we kept all year,” he said. “We are going to let our D-line control the line of scrimmage. We relied on them all year. Let those linebackers flow.”

Weston Heinemann was one of the key cogs along that stout front. He stepped up in the championship, making seven tackles, including a sack and two tackles for loss.

“We have a great coaching staff with coach (Bart) Miller, he knows how to hype everyone up,” Heinemann said. “He knows how to get us through practice. He knows all the schemes and blitzes. There is not much for us to do when you have a coach like that behind you.”

Ask Heinemann, and he says it's the relationships the defensive players share with one another that help build a productive unit on the field.

“We just have the camaraderie that’s hard to hard to find,” Heinemann said. “All those little slogans and nicknames, all that stuff just brings us together. It makes communication on the field so much better.”

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