Bo Iverson

Stoughton's Bo Iverson (28) celebrates during the Vikings' 28-21 overtime win over Fort Atkinson on Friday, Sept. 9, at Fort Atkinson High School.

Jason Becker and Nick Nelson certainly know how to make a sequel.

The two head coaches faced off last season – with Nelson and Fort Atkinson beating Becker and Stoughton with a walkoff Hail Mary.

A comeback win in overtime is a pretty good way to follow that up.

The Stoughton football team rallied from down 14 points to earn a 28-21 win over Fort Atkinson in a Badger Small Conference game on Friday, Sept. 9, at Fort Atkinson High School.

“I have so much admiration for what he’s (Nelson) done here, the turnaround in the program,” Becker said. “I don’t know what it is about the two of us playing such tight games. It’s certainly my hope that this provides the catalyst we’re looking for.”

Junior quarterback Ty Fernholz found senior wide receiver Mason Marggi for an 8-yard touchdown in overtime to give the Vikings (1-3, 1-1 Badger Small) a 28-21 lead. On the second offensive play for Fort Atkinson, Stoughton sophomore linebacker Mason Richter stripped a run attempt up the middle and junior linebacker Joe Wahlin was there with the recovery.

Fort Atkinson’s win over Stoughton last season also eliminated the Vikings from playoff contention.

“Last year they came into our house on homecoming and left a bad taste in our mouths,” said junior running back Sawyer Schipper, who scored two touchdowns. “We circled this one. We wanted to go get it.”

Fort Atkinson (2-2, 1-1 Badger Small) started off with a methodical 5 minute, 56-second drive that culminated with junior running back Mason Dressler punching in a 1-yard touchdown run. The extra point put the Blackhawks up 7-0 with 6:04 left in the opening quarter.

A second time-eating drive put Fort Atkinson up 14-0.

The drive took 6:19 off the clock and was capped off with Dressler scoring on a fourth-and-1 from 6 yards out with 2:54 left in the second quarter.

The Blackhawks’ first-half scoring drives combined for 19 plays.

On the ensuing drive, a holding penalty put Stoughton at first-and-25 from their own 40-yard line. Fernholz connected with sophomore wide receiver Jay Johnson down the right sideline for a 47-yard gain – putting the Vikings at the Blackhawk 14-yard line with under two minutes until half.

Stoughton eventually found itself in a fourth-and-9 from the 13-yard line with 39 seconds left.

Fernholz rolled to his left and found an open Schipper. The junior running back scurried into the end zone with 33 seconds left in the second quarter.

Stoughton headed into halftime down 14-7.

“As soon as we walked into the locker room, we all looked at each other and said, ‘we’re going to win this football game,’” Becker said.

Stoughton carried the pep-talk momentum out of half and tied the game at 14-14 when Fernholz found Wahlin on a 32-yard strike on second-and-20.

A 4-yard rushing touchdown late in the third quarter put Fort Atkinson up 21-14 entering the four quarter.

The Vikings responded when Schipper ripped a run up the right-side of the sideline for a 29-yard score with 10:35 left in the fourth.

“Just had to trust my guys, I knew they were going to make their blocks,” Schipper said. “I knew it would be there and it was. I got those initial couple of yards and then bounced it out.”

On the next possession, Fort Atkinson drove all the way to the Stoughton red zone where the Blackhawks faced a fourth-and-4 at the 5-yard line with just under four minutes to go. A sack from senior lineman Griffin Empey halted the drive.

The Blackhawks managed to get the ball back and had a potential game-winning field attempt from the 27-yard line – but the kick from senior Eli Cosson sailed right.

That led to Fernholz finding Marggi for the go-ahead score and then eventually, Richter’s game-sealing strip.

“I knew we were going to make a big play,” said Schipper, who watched the final play from the sidelines. “A turnover was coming – it came at the perfect spot. Saw that ball in the air and thought we have to go get that. We were on it.”

Schipper racked 67 rushing yards to go along with four catches and 17 yards. Fernholz finished 13 of 24 passing with 165 yards. He also added 95 yards on the ground.

“Ty Fernholz man,” Becker said. “That was a fantastic football game from him, extremely gritty.”

After four straight road games to start the season, Stoughton will play on its new turf field in the newly renovated Anderson Complex against DeForest on Friday, Sept. 16, at Stoughton High School.

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