Waupaca defeats New London
By Greg Seubert
In a matter of three hours, the race for a Central Wisconsin Conference-Large football championship became a lot more interesting.
The conference’s two unbeaten teams – Weyauwega-Fremont and Wittenberg-Birnamwood – hit the road Sept. 29 and returned home with losses to Amherst and Stratford, respectively. Amherst defeated Weyauwega-Fremont 57-36 and Stratford handed Wittenberg-Birnamwood a 34-21 loss.
Meanwhile, Manawa picked up a 22-21 win over Shiocton and Spencer/Columbus Catholic beat Nekoosa 29-22.
Amherst 57, Weyauwega-Fremont 36
Amherst headed into its annual matchup with the Warhawks with a pair of CWC-Large losses to Stratford and Wittenberg-Birnamwood, but stayed in the hunt for a championship after scoring touchdowns on its first eight drives.
The Falcons also faced a Warhawk team without missing for starters. Quarterback Kameron Zielke is out for the season after tearing an ACL Sept. 22 in a 20-14 win over Shiocton, while Vanden Hoffman, Brayden Arndt and Carter McDaniel were injured during the Amherst game and didn’t return.
“I’ll be honest with you, we had tons of guys go down,” coach Colton Zimmerman said. “We lost (Zielke), we lost an all-state lineman (Hoffman), we lost one of our captains (McDaniel), we had our all-state receiver blow a hamstring (Arndt) and our kids didn’t quit. What they showed tonight is we’re not a team of ebbs and flows. We’re a program, a culture that plays for each other.”
Weyauwega-Fremont almost matched the Falcons drive-for-drive in the first half. Amherst found the end zone on all five of its drives, while the Warhawks scored on three of its five drives.
Nasiah Holland capped the game’s opening drive with a 1-yard run for Amherst. The Warhawks answered on their first drive with Carter Birdyshaw’s 6-yard pass to Chris Gunst, but the Falcons kept the lead by blocking the extra-point try.
Spencer Cohen returned the kickoff 98 yards for Amherst’s second touchdown to give the home team a 15-6 lead heading into the second quarter.
The teams combined for five touchdowns in the second quarter. Michael Benjamin had a 37-yard pass to Cohen and scored on a 1-yard run and Holland added a 2-yard run.
The Warhawks’ touchdowns came on Arndt’s 40-yard run and Birdyshaw’s 30-yarder that cut the Falcons’ lead to 36-22 at halftime.
Arndt’s 58-yard run on the Warhawks’ opening drive of the second half made it 36-28, but Weyauwega-Fremont never got any closer, as Amherst added a 6-yard run from Benjamin and a 31-yard run from Holland later in the quarter.
Dawson Lind’s 1-yard run and Birdyshaw’s pass to Cashten Hoffman on the two-point conversion turned out to be the Warhawks’ final points before Holland scored his fourth rushing touchdown on a 49-yard run.
Birdyshaw, a freshman making his first varsity start, completed 14 of 20 passes for 201 yards. Arndt led the Warhawks in rushing with 100 yards on only three carries and caught four passes for 93 yards before leaving the game in the second half.
Holland led all rushers with 235 yards on 27 carries. Benjamin completed five of six passes for 105 yards and also rushed for 80 yards.
The Falcons came into the game with a 4-2 overall record and a 2-2 mark in conference games after falling to Stratford and Wittenberg-Birnamwood, the teams that Weyauwega-Fremont will host Oct. 6 and Oct. 13 to wrap up the regular season.
“We always look at the schedule and we said, ‘OK, the playoffs started tonight,’” Zimmerman said. “That’s how we saw it. We talk all the time about how tough this conference is. You’ll see who’s who in these last three games and that’s what’s great about our conference. All we’re doing is looking to improve and play together.
“I just want these kids to play for the guy next to them and they’re showing up every day,” he added. “You could look at this game and look at the score and say, ‘Oh man, they quit.’ They didn’t stop at all. They were ready to fight the entire game and for that I’m beyond proud.”
Manawa 22, Shiocton 21
Manawa picked up its first CWC-Large win of the season over the Chiefs.
Details from the game were not available.
Central Wisconsin Conference-Large results: Sept. 29: Amherst 57, Weyauwega-Fremont 36; Manawa 22, Shiocton 21; Spencer/Columbus Catholic 29, Nekoosa 22; Stratford 34, Wittenberg-Birnamwood 21. Oct. 6: Stratford at Weyauwega-Fremont; Spencer/Columbus Catholic at Manawa; Amherst at Nekoosa; Shiocton at Wittenberg-Birnamwood.
Waupaca 17, New London 14
A spot in the upcoming WIAA football playoffs is still a possibility for the Waupaca Comets.
The Comets moved one step closer to qualifying for the postseason for the third year in a row Sept. 28 with a 17-14 Bay Conference win over New London.
A pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns turned out to be the difference in the game.
Henry Mouw capped Waupaca’s first drive with a 40-yard field goal. The score remained 3-0 until Tyler Gerrits’ 24-yard touchdown pass to Hunter Beebe with 3:33 remaining in the first half.
Neither team scored in the third quarter and the score remained 6-3 until Benjamin Becker picked off a Gerrits pass and returned it 46 yards for a touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter.
The 10-6 lead didn’t last long, as Gerrits and Beebe hooked up for a 62-yard touchdown pass on the Bulldogs’ next drive.
New London turned the ball over twice in the fourth quarter on fumbles and the second set the Comets up at the New London 41-yard line. Austin Adamczak’s touchdown pass to Westen Lauritzen on the first play of the drive gave Waupaca a 17-14 lead with just under five minutes to go in the game.
New London turned the ball over on downs to end the Bulldogs’ next drive and the Comets were able to run out the clock.
Adamczak completed 14 of 25 passes for 170 yards and Andre Hendrix had 53 of the Comets’ 68 rushing yards. Lauritzen caught four passes for 53 yards and Mouw added five catches for 48 yards.
Tommy Fields had 101 of the Bulldogs’ 114 rushing yards on 27 carries. Beebe caught two of Gerrits’ passes for 86 yards, with both receptions going for touchdowns. Gerrits completed nine of 16 passes for 120 yards.
Waupaca improved to 2-5 overall and 2-3 in the Bay and can make the playoffs with a win Friday, Oct. 6, at home against Seymour or in the regular-season closer Friday, Oct. 13, at Winneconne. New London fell to 2-5 overall and 1-4 in conference play.
Bay Conference results: Sept. 28: Waupaca 17, New London 14; Winneconne 28, Seymour 14; Xavier 42, Shawano 14. Oct. 6 schedule: Seymour at Waupaca, 7 p.m. Winneconne at Xavier, 7 p.m. Oct. 7 schedule: New London at Shawano, 1 p.m.
Oconto Falls 78, Clintonville 42
Kade Rosenow’s 432 passing yards helped the Clintonville football team put up 42 points Sept. 29 in a Northwoods Conference matchup with Oconto Falls.
Unfortunately, the Truckers didn’t have an answer for Alex Haines, who ran for 429 yards and found the end zone five times in the Panthers’ 78-42 win.
Not only did the teams combine for 120 points and more than 1,000 yards of offense, they also scored 16 touchdowns, including 11 in the second and third quarters alone.
Oconto Falls took an 8-6 lead into the second quarter, Haines opened the scoring with a 5-yard run, but Rosenow connected with Samuel Wegener for a 65-yard touchdown pass.
The Panthers then outscored the Truckers 30-6 in the second quarter.
Wyatt Laughrin scored on runs of 5 and 21 yards for Oconto Falls before Rosenow scored on a 4-yard quarterback keeper. Haines gave the Panthers a 38-12 halftime lead with scoring runs of 5 and 8 yards.
The touchdowns continued in the third quarter. Rosenow scored on a 5-yard run and had touchdown passes of 6 and 67 yards to Wegener and 7 yards to Kaine Killips, but the Panthers answered with Haines’ 65-yard run and a 34-yarder from Isaac Bramer.
Rosenow’s pass to Killips cut the Panthers’ lead to 54-42 heading into the fourth quarter, but Oconto Falls sealed the win with three unanswered touchdowns and three two-point conversions over the final 12 minutes.
Haines scored on runs of 1 and 28 yards and Isaiah Radart wrapped up the scoring with a 6-yard run.
Oconto Falls outgained the Truckers 591-447. The Panthers held the Truckers to 15 rushing yards on 13 attempts and didn’t have any passing yards.
Rosenow completed 30 of 51 passes, including 14 to Wegener for 306 yards and four to Zachary Johnson for 85 yards.
Clintonville fell to 3-6 overall and 3-2 in conference play with the loss, while Oconto Falls improved to 7-2 overall and 5-0 in Northwoods play.
Northwoods Conference results: Sept. 28: Crandon 54, West Iron County (Michigan) 14 (NC). Sept. 29: Oconto Falls 78, Clintonville 42; Coleman 42, Tomahawk 14; McFarland 28, Crivitz 21 (NC). Oct. 6 schedule: Coleman at Clintonville, 7 p.m.; Oconto Falls at Crandon, 7 p.m.; Crivitz has open date; Tomahawk at Westfield, 7 p.m. (NC)
Iola-Scandinavia 42, Rosholt 0
The Iola-Scandinavia held on to first place in the Central Wisconsin Conference-Small football standings Sept. 29 with a convincing win over Rosholt.
The Thunderbirds led 28-0 at halftime after scoring two touchdowns in each of the first two quarters and went on to hand the Hornets a 42-0 loss.
Jensen Rice ran for a team-high 124 yards and had rushing touchdowns of 12 and 60 yards; and completed five of 10 passes for 86 yards, including a 16-yard scoring pass to Alex Robbins. Kyrylo Kopytsia added rushing touchdowns of 2 and 1 yards and finished with 76 yards on the ground. Burkley Myers also scored on a 14-yard run.
Rosholt managed only 31 yards of offense in the game, while the T-Birds finished with 330 on the ground and 86 through the air.
The T-Birds improved to 4-3 overall and 3-2 in the CWC-Small.
Central Wisconsin Conference-Small results: Sept. 29: Iola-Scandinavia 42, Rosholt 0; Loyal 42, Assumption 6. Sept. 30: Kingdom Prep Lutheran 28, Pacelli (NC). Oct. 6 schedule: Iola-Scandinavia at Pacelli; Loyal at Rosholt. Oct. 7: Aurora Central Catholic (Illinois) at Assumption (NC).
Hortonville 14, D.C. Everest 12
Two touchdowns were all the Hortonville football team needed to wrap up the Polar Bears’ first trip to the WIAA playoffs since 2020.
Broden Butzin threw touchdown passes to Winston Peters and Colin Wendt in a 14-12 Valley Football Association win over D.C. Everest.
The Polar Bears improved to 5-2 overall with their fourth straight conference win.
Blake Bengston gave the Evergreens a 6-0 lead in the first quarter with an 8-yard run, but Butzin threw a 4-yard scoring pass to Peters in the second quarter. Wendt’s extra point gave the Polar Bears a 7-6 halftime lead.
The Polar Bears added to their lead in the fourth quarter with a 27-yard pass to Wendt.
The Evergreen answered with Logan George to Pierson MacDonald, but the Polar Bears stopped the two-point conversion try that would have tied the game.
Valley Football Association results: Sept. 29: Hortonville 14, D.C. Everest 12; Stevens Point 42, Wausau East 7; Wausau West 57, Appleton West 6; Marshfield 6, Wisconsin Rapids 0. Oct. 6 schedule: Wausau West at Hortonville; D.C. Everest at Wausau East; Wisconsin Rapids at Appleton West; Stevens Point at Marshfield.