LITTLE CHUTE – First, it was Freedom. Then it was Winneconne. Friday, it was Little Chute’s turn.
For the third time in a row, the Waupaca Comet football team has knocked off an undefeated squad.
Harley Anderson scored on a pair of 1-yard quarterback sneaks, the second with just over a minute remaining, and the Comets improved to 3-1 with a 14-7 win over the Mustangs.
Little Chute came into the game averaging nearly 50 points a game, but the Mustangs’ only score against the Comets came on Dan Verhagen’s 1-yard run in the first quarter.
“What a great contest tonight, hard-hitting on both sides of the ball,” coach John Koronkiewicz said. “Both teams were very well prepared for what the opponent was going to do. You have to give credit to Little Chute, I thought they were excellent. I give a lot of credit to our guys for hanging in there, finding a way and kind of willing it to happen in the second half.”
Anderson put Waupaca on the board 48 seconds into the fourth quarter to cap a 43-yard drive.
Zach Nellis set up the winning score by picking off a Jarred Zak pass. Anderson’s second score came with 1:14 remaining in the game.
“We were just trying to score,” Koronkiewicz said. “We didn’t want to do anything except get in the end zone. We didn’t care if we scored with two minutes left or a minute and 14 seconds. We wanted to get it in the end zone and allow our defense to get back on the field.
“You have to take them when you get them,” he added. “You can’t get too fancy out there.”
The Comet defense held and Waupaca returned home with its third straight win.
“We were 6 inches better than they were on two touchdown plays,” Koronkiewicz said. “That’s how close a contest can be.”
The Mustangs held Waupaca to 34 rushing yards in the first half, while Little Chute mustered only 33.
“Defensively, I thought we played superb, particularly in the first half,” Koronkiewicz said. “We turned the ball over four times. It could have been ugly. We were virtually on our end of the field for the entire half and felt really quite fortunate to be down only 7-0 at halftime.”
The Comets outgained the Mustangs 182-148. Anderson led Waupaca’s rushing game with 59 yards in 20 carries.
“Our guys did just enough,” Koronkiewicz said. “They stuck their nose in there and played with a lot of heart. I saw great passion on the part of our football team. The kids care about what’s happening on the field to lay it on the line. As a coach, that’s what you like to see.
“This is the kind of game that shows a lot about the people on your football team,” he said. “I told them afterward that we’re going to enjoy this one tonight and not think about anything else.”
Waupaca will have an opportunity to face another unbeaten team this Friday, as Ripon comes to Waupaca for a 7 p.m. game at Haberkorn Field.
“It doesn’t get any easier,” Koronkiewicz said. “Our league is obviously very, very tough. We’re happy to be in a position to play for something. They have a great football team, great tradition and a great program. We have to prepare hard, work hard and be ready.”