MENASHA (WLUK) -- Menasha knew when the postseason kicked off it would be a tough run for any team to reach the Division 3 state title game from its side of the bracket.
Among the 16 teams in Menasha's half of the bracket, 14 won at least six regular season games, including West De Pere and Medford, which each were 9-0, respectively.
Reaching a state championship is not easy, but some team had to rise to the occasion and that was Menasha.
The Bluejays made it through its four playoff games, including a 36-35 come-from-behind win against Menomonie in Level 4 and will meet undefeated DeForest on Friday morning in the state title game (10 a.m.) at Camp Randall Stadium.
"When we initially saw our bracket I was wondering how we were going to get through that, but we have," coach Jeramie Korth said. "It's a testament to what the kids have done and we're hoping that's something we can put in our back pocket and say, 'Hey, we played against some really good football teams, now we just have to beat another really good football team."'
Menasha actually trailed in its Level4 playoff game 28-7, but rallied with a two-point conversion in the final moments to seal the win. Coming back and winning in that fashion only adds to Menasha's confidence which has been rising with each postseason win.
"It gives them the confidence they're never down and out and you don't always have to be at your best if you stay together," said Korth, who led Menasha to the 2014 Division 2 state title.
"We're a very confident team," said quarterback Cole Popp, who scored the winning 2-point conversion in Level 4. "We think we're fundamentally sound, we just keep working and we're just getting better day by day, fixing little things and I don't think we can get any ore confident."
As good as Menasha (12-1) has been all season -- its lone loss came at West De Pere -- (talk never really surfaced about playing for a gold ball.
"(We) just talked about the week we were going into and what we needed to be as a team," Popp said. "Coach was saying good teams go out in the first or second round, championship teams go to the championship game. That's what we were working for.
"Working to be a championship team, not just a good team."
One more win and the Bluejays will be a championship team.
- Menasha's opponents' combined record in the playoffs before it played each team was a combined 35-7.
- Menasha has held 11 of 13 teams to 21 points or less this season.
- Tyler Roehl has 1621 rushing yards with 17 TDs, while Popp has 552 yards and 13 TDs. Popp also has 13 TD passes and 1,292 passing yards.
Follow Doug Ritchay on Twitter @dougritchay