Touchdowns on the first four possessions and playing an undermanned team added up to a season-opening win for the Waupaca Comet football team.
Sam Menzies threw four touchdowns and ran for another score in his varsity debut Friday, Aug. 19, in the Comets’ 46-0 win over Winneconne.
The junior quarterback had TD passes of 5 and 18 yards to Nate Jenson and Bjorn Asher in the first quarter and also scored from a yard out. He also connected with Kevin Moe for an 8-yard strike in the second quarter and tossed a 20-yarder to Asher in the third quarter. Jordan Johnson and Sawyer Olson capped the scoring with 39- and 45-yard interception returns in the third and fourth quarters, respectively.
Menzies completed 11 of 17 passes for 153 yards.
“I thought Sam threw the ball extremely well, particularly early,” coach John Koronkiewicz said. “For the most part, I thought he threw it pretty well all night. As the game progresses, you get so sweaty that balls go right through. We probably could’ve had a couple more completions had it been a little dryer out there.”
All three of the Comets’ starting receivers – Nelson, Moe and Asher – had at least one score.
“Over the course of the football game, you saw a little bit of everything,” Koronkiewicz said. “You saw pretty good offense, you saw guys running hard, our offensive line did some nice things. I want to give our offensive line some credit because they’ve improved over the course of the preseason. We were pretty clean for the most part the entire game. There was one stretch where it got a little ugly for us, but sometimes that happens, especially in a first game.”
The teams matched up at Haberkorn Field on an unusually muggy night, according to Koronkiewicz.
“The humidity was high, the temperature was high,” he said. “We told our guys to drink as much water as they can and try to get their pads off at halftime. We didn’t even wear our pads or helmets to warm up before the game. The heat really does have an impact. The good thing for us is we had more depth, more players and more players that were able to rest.”
Waupaca outgained the Wolves 296-133 and held Winneconne to no passing yards. Beau Ash led the Comet ground game with 103 yards in 16 carries, while Asher caught a team-high five passes for 90 yards.
“We really couldn’t ask for a better way to start the season,” Koronkiewicz said. “We got a lot of guys in after a tough three weeks. It’s definitely a reward for all of that hard work. One of the things we always talk about is to play hard when you get a chance and relish every moment because it goes by in a hurry. Even though this is our first game, the regular season is over in eight short weeks. You have to live in the moment and play every down.”
The Comets will play their only nonconference game at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 26, as Waupaca travels to West DePere to take on the Phantoms, the defending Division 3 state champion. The Phantoms shut out Denmark 61-0 in their opener.
“It’ll get tougher when we go on the road to West DePere,” Koronkiewicz said. “There’s no better way to go into a game with a team like West DePere than having a little confidence coming off a win. We know how good West DePere is. They’re the defending state champs and have a lot of people back.”