An undefeated Waupaca team will face a Great Northern Conference opponent in the first round of the state football playoffs for the second year in a row.
The 9-0 Comets will host Antigo at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 25, at Haberkorn Field. The Red Robins qualified for the playoffs with a 3-3 record in Great Northern play and are 3-5 overall.
Waupaca, on the other hand, comes into the game after winning the Eastern Valley Conference championship outright Oct. 18 with a 35-0 win over Fox Valley Lutheran in Appleton.
Nate Nelson accounted for four of the Comets’ five touchdowns, as he scored on runs of 9 yards in the first quarter; 59 and 5 yards in the second quarter; and 6 yards in the fourth quarter. Nate Jenson added a 29-yard TD pass to Zander Neuville in the first quarter.
Meanwhile, the Comet defense came up with its fifth shutout in the last six games.
It was the Comets’ first game since a 36-20 win over Appleton Xavier the previous week that gave Waupaca at least a share of the EVC championship.
“After a game like last Friday, you have to kind of fight hard because it’s emotionally draining,” coach John Koronkiewicz said. “On Wednesday of this past week, the guys were pretty tired, I was pretty tired. It takes so much out of you.”
The Foxes were unable to come up with an answer for Nelson, who led all rushers with 117 yards and caught three passes for 31 yards. Jenson added 84 yards on the ground and completed seven of 15 passes for 79 yards.
The Comets outgained the Foxes 213-60 on the ground and 79-56 through the air.
Waupaca also came up with four interceptions in the game from Alex Grall, Trysten Hazen, Bryce Neidert and Nick Jeske.
“We watch a lot of film and we also work hard on the defensive side of the ball, our pass defense,” Koronkiewicz said. “That’s been our philosophy for a long time.”
“We played a pretty solid football game, but I don’t think it was a great football game,” he added. “It was probably the worst conditions we’ve played in, but as the game wore on, it settled down and (the weather) wasn’t as big a factor.”
Koronkiewicz spent much of the next day waiting for the WIAA to announce the Level 1 pairings.
“I don’t know if it’s worth it, but you can’t help wondering,” he said. “I’ll be checking the clock and say, ‘Well, maybe I should go check to see if the pairings are out.’ Then, you have to figure out where you have to go. It’s a little hectic. When you get to the playoffs, it’s win or be done. This part of the season, we’re 9-0 and that’s the best we can do. Now, it’s the second season and we hope it goes just as well.”