October 2016

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A Quest For Justice

In late 2004, a shy young man involved in a vast marijuana ring vanished. He left behind a beloved dog, a heartbroken mother and countless questions about the bizarre circumstances surrounding his disappearance.

Today, 12 years later, a group of journalists, filmmakers, friends and family are still doggedly pursuing answers in the mysterious case of Amos Mortier.

Their latest effort is “What Happened to Amos?” It is a hard-hitting foray into the life of Mortier, his puzzling disappearance, and the multiple investigations that followed. They believe they have solved the case, locking together clues the authorities in Fitchburg and Dane County chose to ignore. And now they want to be heard.

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Late rally saves Middleton's season

This wasn’t about revenge.

It was about redemption.

And who better than C.J. Fermanich to play the central character in one of Middleton’s most memorable games in years.

Fermanich had a 47-yard kickoff return, then caught a 15-yard, game-winning touchdown pass with 27 seconds left to lift Middleton to a 22-17 win over Madison La Follette in the second round of the WIAA Division 1 playoffs last Friday. And for Fermanich, as much as anyone, this was about atonement.

When these same teams met on Sept. 30, Fermanich sat out the game due to an athletic code violation — one of several Cardinals who missed time due to that infringement. That night, the Lancers rallied past Middleton, 13-12, in a game that cost the Cardinals a share of the Big Eight Conference title.

This time, Fermanich had a chance to alter the outcome — and he made the most if it.

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Girls spikers set for sectionals

Survive and advance.

That’s really all that matters at this time of year.

And Middleton’s girls volleyball team is proof of that.

The fourth-seeded Cardinals edged 13th-seeded Madison La Follette, 25-10, 25-23, 20-25, 27-29, 21-19 in a WIAA Division 1 regional semifinal last Thursday.

Middleton was then much sharper in its regional final last Saturday and toppled La Crosse Central, 25-18, 25-11, 25-18.

Middleton now hosts top-seeded Sun Prairie in a sectional semifinal Thursday at 5 p.m. The winner advances to the sectional final against either second-seeded Waunakee or third-seeded Monona Grove Saturday at 7 p.m. in Verona.

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Allen, Cards have state in sight

In Aug., 2013, Bradan Allen and his family had just moved to Middleton.

The freshman-to-be still hadn’t taken a class at his new school. He wasn’t even sure what his class list looked like.

But Allen went to the first game for the Cardinals’ freshman boys soccer team and made quite a first impression.

“My first game I scored four goals,” Allen said. “School hadn’t started yet, but soccer was already going. Nobody even knew who I was that day.”

That anonymity certainly didn’t last long.

Over the last three seasons, Allen has established himself as one of the elite players in the state. And thanks to Allen and a gifted surrounding cast, the Cardinals’ dream of reaching the WIAA Division 1 state tournament is alive and well.

Middleton rolled through regional play last weekend. Now, the top-seeded Cardinals host Madison East in a sectional semifinal Thursday at 7 p.m.

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Middleton rallies past Oconomowoc

OCONOMOWOC — One play. One final play.

That’s what it came down to for Middleton’s defense Friday night.

The Cardinals had kept Oconomowoc’s high-powered offense — one that was averaging 43.3 points per game — in check throughout their WIAA Division 1 Level 1 playoff match-up. Now, with the Cardinals clinging to a 20-13 lead in the closing minutes, Middleton defensive coordinator Tom Cabalka implored his sensational unit to make one last play.

Raccoons all-state quarterback Ben Nienhuis took the 4th-and-10 snap, and everyone knew the ball was going to all-state wideout Zach Clayton, who already had 13 catches on the night. Middleton bracketed Clayton with two of its top defenders — C.J. Fermanich and Joe Ludwig — but Nienhuis fired that way anyhow.

Nienhuis’ pass was on target, but the ball was tipped away.

Middleton 20, Oconomowoc 13.

Next stop? The second round of the postseason.

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Football Cards ready for playoffs

One team wants to ground and pound, run the clock and impose its will.

The other travels primarily by air, will fling the ball all night and try hurting you with quick strikes.

Polar opposites.

That’s what the football teams from Middleton and Oconomowoc are.

The fourth-seeded Raccoons and fifth-seeded Cardinals meet in a WIAA Division 1 Level 1 playoff game Friday at 7 p.m. that features a complete contrast in styles. And whichever group is able to best execute its brand of football will emerge victorious.

“It will be a very interesting game,” said Middleton coach Tim Simon, whose team takes a 7-2 record into the postseason. “They’re a quick strike team and they throw it as well, or better, than anyone we’ve seen.

“Our strength this year is our running game, and we want to hammer it at you. It’s probably going to come down to who does their thing the best.”

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Boys spikers shine at Whitefish Bay

Middleton’s boys volleyball team has enjoyed another strong season.

But Cardinals’ head coach Ben White has been waiting for his team to produce a breakthrough moment.

That wait is over.

Middleton went to the star-studded Whitefish Bay Invite last Saturday and finished second. The Cardinals reached the championship match where it took top-ranked Marquette to the wire before the Hilltoppers prevailed, 9-25, 25-19, 15-7.

“So proud of the boys,” White said. “They worked harder than ever and proved they can play with the top team in state. We have to capture this momentum.”

Eagan Peters-Michaud 43 and Cole Spitler both had 43 kills in the tournament, while Andrew Lepage and Peters-Michaud both had five aces.

Jack Herder had eight blocks, Lepage had 133 assists and Thomas Robson added 77 digs.

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No shame in second for MHS golfers

When the postseason began, there were 103 WIAA Division 1 girls golf teams.

There were also just shy of 500 individual golfers competing in the playoffs.

When it all came to an end at the state tournament Tuesday afternoon, Middleton left picturesque University Ridge with a silver trophy for its second place finish. And Cardinals standout senior Alexis Thomas had a memorable two days and captured a second place individual finish.

Both Thomas — and her team — wanted better. Wanted more.

When they all paused for a second, though, considered the numbers and the competition, they realized the magnitude of their accomplishment.

“I think all of the girls are super disappointed,” Middleton coach Becky Halverson said. “But they’ve also got to be proud. A lot of people would love to be second.”