Waupaca rushes for 294 yards, passes for 158
By Scott Bellile
A promising first touchdown for the New London Bulldogs couldn’t keep the scoreboard on their side as the Waupaca Comets blazed to a 57-21 victory over the Bulldogs at New London Friday, Sept. 4.
New London linebacker Jonah Backus scored the first TD 50 seconds after he yanked possession of the ball from Waupaca through a 32-yard fumble return. With 7:53 to go he ran a 13-yard TD and an extra point kick by quarterback Jack Noffke was good.
With four minutes left in the first quarter, Waupaca’s Justin Harstvedt recovered a dropped ball. Waupaca quarterback Walker Smith scored a one-yard TD with 2:20 left and quarterback Hayden Neidert kicked the extra point, ending the quarter 7-7. Smith threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Waupaca wide receiver Johnny Popham, and Smith’s successful pass to running back Nate Meihak sealed the conversion. Smith later ran 14 yards for another Waupaca TD.
With 27 seconds to go in the second quarter, New London’s Hunter Zaddack caught a 25-yard pass from Noffke, but a conversion failed, ending the first half with Waupaca leading 22-13.
The chance of a Bulldogs comeback dwindled in the third quarter. Waupaca nabbed three TDs: Popham caught a 10-yard pass from Smith for one, running back Christian Overman dashed 30 yards for the second and Smith squeezed into the end zone off a four-yard run for the third. All three extra-point kicks by Neidert were good.
Going into the fourth quarter with Waupaca winning 42-13, New London obtained one last TD when split end Parker Fermanich caught a two-yard pass from Noffke. The pair successfully executed a conversion.
Waupaca’s Alexander Gotto then had a 26-yard interception return, followed by teammate Doug Byers running four yards for the Comets’ eighth and final TD. Neidert made both extra-point kicks in the fourth quarter.
Waupaca rushed for 294 yards and passed for 158. New London rushed for 50 and passed for 80.