Run, run and run again.
That, in a nutshell, was Clintonville’s offensive plan against Waupaca. It didn’t work, however, as the Comets held the Truckers to 110 yards of offense – all on the ground – Friday, Sept. 9, in a 17-0 win over the Truckers at Haberkorn Field.
Waupaca improved to 3-0 in the Eastern Valley Conference and 3-1 overall, while Clintonville fell to 2-2 in league play and 2-2 overall.
“With that kind of offense, the intent is to kind of wear on you, get you to take a false step and hopefully break one,” coach John Koronkiewicz said. “I thought our guys played very disciplined and physical football. It was a hard-hitting game. (The defense) are the ones that kind of kept us in the ballgame.
“The key was being fundamentally sound, reading our keys and being in the right position,” he added. “For the most part, our guys did a great job. Every yard they got was hard fought. When they went back to throw, we had great pressure on their quarterback and had a couple of big sacks and a turnover or two that helped us.”
Neither team was able to get anything going on offense, especially in the first half. Bjorn Asher kicked a 42-yard field goal late in the first half to give Waupaca a 3-0 advantage at the break.
“We moved the ball, but we’d stall out on some drives,” Koronkiewicz said. “We got stop right before the half, called a time out and picked up a couple of first downs. All we were really doing was give ourselves a chance to maybe attempt a field goal. That was a lift going in at halftime.”
The Comets sealed the win with a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns, as Sam Menzies scored from a yard out and threw a 30-yard scoring pass to Asher.
The win came a week after the Comets needed overtime to defeat Berlin.
“We made some mistakes against Berlin as far as running a wing-T offense,” Koronkiewicz said. “We saw the same kind of plays today and did a much better job. Our interior tackles and defensive ends played better and smarter and our linebackers were a lot tougher. They didn’t throw the ball much, but when they did throw it, we had pretty good coverage. We didn’t have any missed assignments back there and that’s what you have to do, not give up the big play. Anytime you can pitch a shutout and hold a team to 100 yards in total offense, that’s a great defensive effort.”
Koronkiewicz expects competitive games each time the Comets take on an EVC team.
“Every game has been a pretty highly competitive game,” he said. “There are obviously some skilled football players in the league. You have to work hard, continue to get better and show up ready to play on Friday evening. Everybody in the league seems to be very, very big on the defensively side of the ball, except maybe us. Our guys really had to play with great heart and great will. We had a very physical week of practice. I was hoping it would pay off and evidently, it did. That’s the kind of effort you’re going to have to have week in and week out if you’re going to become a better football team. I think we took a step in the right direction this evening.”
The Comets had a 10-5 advantage in first downs and outgained the Truckers 261-110. Beau Ash and Menzies led the Comets’ ground game with 90 and 83 yards, respectively, while A.J. Russell led Clintonville with 70 yards.
The Comets will travel to Little Chute to take on the Mustangs at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 16.
“Little Chute always plays great defense and they usually have some skilled athletes and size that you have to contend with,” Koronkiewicz said. “They have a tradition of playing strong football. The challenge to our football team is we have to go back on the road and play well, which we haven’t been able to do thus far. I think that’s a major objective, to stay focused and try to perform at a high level.”