There was no letdown for the Racine Lutheran High School football team Saturday afternoon.
And there certainly wasn’t for Tyler Tenner.
Coming off its emotional 30-22 overtime victory over St. Catherine’s Sept. 28, the Crusaders defeated Milwaukee Saint Thomas More 57-6 in a Metro Classic Conference game at Saint Francis High School.
If Lutheran (7-0, 5-0 MCC) wins its last two regular-season games — against Whitefish Bay Dominican at Horlick Field Thursday night and at Catholic Central in Burlington Oct. 18 — it will win its first conference championship since it finished in a three-way tie for the Midwest Classic title in 2007.
Meanwhile, things are going just as well for Tenner. The senior running back rushed for 275 yards and five touchdowns as he continued his ascent on the state’s all-time rushing-yardage list.
He increased his career rushing total to 6,031 yards to move past Austin Ramesh (5,939) of Northland Pines for fifth place in state history. Tenner needs 840 yards to surpass Bryce Huettner of Iola-Scandinavia and become the state’s all-time rushing leader.
Tenner has rushed for 1,413 yards and 23 touchdowns this season.
“Tyler just keeps his legs moving,” said Lutheran coach Scott Smith, whose team is ranked No. 1 among small schools in the AP state poll. “On one play, he must have had six guys try to tackle him and he just busted out of there again.
“The whole team rallies around him, which makes me proud. I’m so happy to coach this team because they know how to win and they what they’ve got to do. And the seniors step up.”
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Nolan Kraus complemented Tenner with his passes. The junior quarterback completed 5 of 8 attempts for 83 yards, with touchdown passes of 5 and 57 yards to Jaylen Houston and 1 yard to Nathan Zawicki.
The Crusaders were just as imposing defensively, limiting the Cavaliers (0-7, 0-5 MCC) to 104 yards. Lutheran held Saint Thomas More to 48 rushing yards on 28 attempts and intercepted two passes.
“I think our secondary is getting more physical and they’re maturing,” said Smith, referring to Kraus at free safety along with strong safety Isaiah Folsom and cornerbacks Gavin Zawicki and Camdin Jansen. “We did what we had to do and we didn’t have a letdown after the big game last week, which says something for the team.
“We shut them down the whole game and we controlled the line of scrimmage. We just played as a unit with getting hands on the ball. They don’t stop and expect someone else to make a play. They’re expected to make a play, so they fire out and they go 100 percent to the ball.”
How much are the Crusaders aware that they have the inside track to win the conference championship?
“The big picture is the state playoffs and what we’ve got to do is get better each week,” Smith said. “That’s what we’re stressing. It’s not looking ahead, it’s not saying, ‘Hey, this game doesn’t matter.’
“You know what? It’s one game at a time and what we have to do is better.”
Lutheran is trying for its second straight appearance in the WIAA Division 6 championship game. The Crusaders lost to Iola-Scandinavia and Huettner 43-14 in the championship game last November.