Playoff run gives Comets a boost
Waupaca coming off 5-5 season
By Greg Seubert
A two-game run in the WIAA playoffs last year gave the Waupaca football team something to build on.
The Comets are coming off of a 5-5 season that included a 4-3 mark in the Bay Conference. Xavier won the league with a 5-2 record last year, but three other teams – Waupaca, Fox Valley Lutheran and Winneconne – were only a game back in the final standings.
The Bay only has six teams this season, as Fox Valley Lutheran is back in the North Eastern Conference.
Third-year coach Bennett Hansen expects Xavier to contend for its third straight conference title.
“They’re bringing their quarterback back and they have some first team all-conference defensive players that are returning,” he said.
Before the Comets see any Bay teams, however, they’ll face four North Eastern teams. Waupaca will open the season Friday, Aug. 19, against Luxemburg-Casco at Comet Field before playing Fox Valley Lutheran, Freedom and Wrightstown.
“We wouldn’t have it any other way,” Hansen said. “We want to play good teams. The way you get to ready to play a quality conference schedule is to play quality nonconference opponents.”
Having only five conference games in a nine-game schedule makes each conference matchup important, according to Hansen.
“I think it’s relatively competitive,” he said. “Last year, there wasn’t a clear pecking order of one, two, three, four. The nice thing about our league is we play teams that are our size. Most of the teams are in the Valley and have been quality programs for years. We’re excited to line up against them.”
Like all other teams, the Comets have some holes to fill this year. Gone from last year’s team are all-conference first-teamers Alex Pankratz (running back and defensive back) and Luke Schwenn (kicker); and second-teamers Evan Bogard (defensive lineman) and Kaleb Bannach (defensive end).
On the other hand, this year’s roster includes Carsten Gile, last year’s offensive lineman of the year, and second team all-conference players Parker Krcmar (wide receiver) and Trayse Hanson (defensive back).
“We have a lot of guys who are playing varsity for the first time,” Hansen said. “The effort’s there. The knowledge may not be quite there yet, but we’re getting there. They know how to work hard and they carried that over from last year. They built that work ethic up in the weight room and they’re starting to understand the positions they’re playing.”
Waupaca Football Schedules
Friday, Aug. 19 – vs. Luxemburg-Casco, 7 p.m.
Friday, Aug. 26 – at Fox Valley Lutheran, 7 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 2 – vs. Freedom, 7 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 9 – at Wrightstown, 7 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 16 – vs. Shawano, 7 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 23 – at Xavier, 7 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 30 – vs. New London, 7 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 7 – at Seymour, 7 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 14 – vs. Winneconne, 7 p.m.
Monday, Aug. 22 – at Luxemburg-Casco, 5 p.m.
Monday, Sept. 19 – at Menasha, 6:30 p.m.
Thursday, Aug. 18 – at Luxemburg-Casco, 5 p.m.
Thursday, Aug. 25 – vs. Fox Valley Lutheran, 5 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 1 – at Freedom, 5 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 8 – vs. Wrightstown, 5 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 15 – at Shawano, 5 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 22 – vs. Xavier, 5 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 29 – at New London, 5 p.m.
Thursday, Oct. 6 – vs. Seymour, 5 p.m.
Thursday, Oct. 13 – at Winneconne, 5 p.m.