That football rematch with Appleton Xavier will have to wait until next year.
Waupaca handed Sheboygan Falls a 44-0 shutout Friday, Oct. 21, in a Division 3 Level 1 playoff game, but won’t face Xavier in the second round. That’s because the Hawks fell to Marinette 27-21 in another Division 3 first-round matchup. The second-seeded Comets will now head to Marinette to take on the unseeded Marines at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 28.
The Comets took control of the game with a 24-point second quarter and held the Falcons to 32 yards of offense.
Sam Menzies capped the game’s opening drive with a 3-yard run. Bjorn Asher added a 26-yard field goal in the second quarter and added a 28-yard TD reception from Menzies. Aaron Gooch and Beau Ash added 11- and 1-yard touchdown runs, respectively, to give the Comets a 31-0 halftime lead.
“We had a great week of practice and that helped,” coach John Koronkiewicz said. “Our kids really focused and worked hard. That does pay off for us.”
The rout continued in the second half, as Ajay Johnson scored from 6 yards out in the third quarter and Gooch wrapped up the scoring with a 2-yard run in the fourth quarter.
Waupaca outgained the Falcons 294-26 on the ground and 102-6 through the air and had an 18-2 advantage in first downs. The Falcons also never moved the ball into Comet territory.
Beau Ash ran for 138 yards to lead Waupaca’s rushers, while Asher caught two passes for 69 yards.
“It’s a great way to start this tournament and I thought we executed pretty well in all phases of the game,” Koronkiewicz said. “Our offensive line did a nice job, much better than they did a week ago. Our backs ran extremely hard, we were able to throw the ball and our receivers caught everything they could get their hands on. I don’t think we gave up a first down in the first half. Even when our reserves went out there, there were some nice plays made by guys who don’t always get a chance to play.”
The offensive line helped Ash and Menzies to rush for more than 200 yards.
“You have to have good people up front if you’re going to have any success,” Koronkiewicz said. “Tonight, they deserve the credit. As a result of their play, we were able to have a great offensive night.”
Meanwhile, the Comet defense held the Falcons’ Bobby Musil held to 19 yards in 13 carries.
“He was the key to their offense,” Koronkiewicz said. “He was going to get a touch on the ball three out of four times, so you had to know where he was. You saw how elusive he is. We were holding our breath each time he touched the ball.”
The Comets also shut him down on punt and kick returns.
“He’s very dangerous on kick returns,” Koronkiewicz said. “He’s the perfect guy to have back there because he has great speed and good vision and can hit a hole. We didn’t want to kick it to him, but he still got his hands on it a couple of times. We got him down before he got too far.”
Comet fans were looking forward to a rematch with Xavier, who shared the Eastern Valley Conference championship with Waupaca and fell to the Comets 37-31 during the regular season.
They’ll have to settle for Marinette, who forced eight Xavier turnovers in their Level 1 game and are in the playoffs for the first time since 2001.
The 6-4 Marines will face a Comet offense that showed plenty of different looks against Sheboygan Falls.
“We executed a lot of different plays from our inside option to our outside pitch to throwing the ball to a little power game,” Koronkiewicz said. “Hopefully, that’s something we’ll continue to be able to do because it’s a lot more fun to watch from the sidelines. It’s when we’re at our best.”