Comets’ playoff hopes on hold
By Greg Seubert
Ethan Manthe turned out to be one-man wrecking crew for the Winneconne football team.
The sophomore had touchdown runs of 85 and 6 yards and caught a 41-yard pass for another score Oct. 8 in the Wolves’ 35-14 Bay Conference win over Waupaca.
The win kept Winneconne in the hunt for a conference championship, while Waupaca, which would have clinched a spot in the WIAA playoffs with a victory in its Homecoming game, will have to win its regular-season finale at Seymour to make the postseason.
Waupaca had a short field to work with on its first drive, as Trayse Hanson intercepted Tyler Youngbauer’s pass to set the Comets up at the Winneconne 24-yard line. Alex Pankratz capped the drive with a 10-yard touchdown run.
Winneconne’s second drive ended with a punt that backed the Comets up to their own 1-yard line. Winneconne tied the game at 7-7 after Gavin Sawall forced a fumble and Ayden Hart recovered the ball in the end zone.
The Wolves took the lead for good in the second quarter on Youngbauer’s 27-yard pass to Dawson Vanhandel.
Manthe’s 85-yard touchdown run with 3:19 remaining in the third quarter gave the Wolves a 21-7 lead and his 6-yard run on the Wolves’ next drive added to the lead.
Youngbauer hit Manthe for a 41-yard scoring pass for the Wolves’ final score in the fourth quarter.
Waupaca’s final points came on Luke Schwenn’s 18-yard pass to Parker Krcmar in the game’s final minute.
Manthe’s 179 rushing yards helped the Wolves outgain the Comets 367-100. Pankratz led Waupaca with 50 rushing yards.
Waupaca fell to 3-3 in Bay Conference play and 3-4 with the loss. The Comets can earn a spot in the playoffs Friday, Oct. 15, with a road win over Seymour. The Thunder are 1-7 overall and 1-5 in the Bay.