Manawa scores four times in second quarter
By Mike Frazier
After coming up short in its first two nonconference games, the Manawa football team got into the win column Sept. 2 with a 44-6 victory over Port Edwards.
Not only was the win the first for coach Brad Johnson, it was also the Wolves’ first Central Wisconsin 10 Conference victory after Manawa joined the seven-team league this season.
Levi Stueber returned a pair of punts for touchdowns and added a two-point conversion. Meanwhile, Manawa’s defense shut down the Blackhawks’ running game, holding the home team to 23 yards.
Port Edwards took the opening possession and marched down the field behind the passing of Ian Gibbs and the receiving of Nate Williams. However, the defense rose to the occasion and the Blackhawks turned the ball over on downs at the Manawa 16-yard line.
Aided by a personal foul penalty and the running of Ethan Hass, the Wolves took their first lead of the season on Hass’ 31-yard run. A pass for the two-point conversion fell incomplete, but the Wolves had a 6-0 lead with 1:42 left in the first quarter.
The Blackhawks punted after going three and out and Steuber found the end zone for the first time with a 59-yard return 54 seconds into the second quarter. Hass added the two point conversion on the ground.
Port Edwards’ next possession almost resulted in touchdown for Manawa, as Steuber intercepted a Gibbs pass and returned it for a touchdown. However, the Wolves were flagged for holding on the play.
Penalties hurt the Wolves throughout the game, as Manawa had nine of them for 75 yards and had two other touchdowns called back.
Four plays later, Zach Kreklow weaved his way through the Blackhawk defense for a 35-yard touchdown run. Hass added the two-point conversion and the Wolves had a 22-0 lead with 5:25 remaining in the half.
Gibbs then drove the Blackhawks 67 yards in eight plays and completed four straight passes on the drive. He hit Peyton Kohlbeck with a 5-yard pass with 3:09 to go in the half to cut Manawa’s lead to 22-6.
Manawa wasn’t finished in the half, as Caden Lick found himself behind the Port Edwards secondary and Kreklow hit him in stride to complete a 59-yard touchdown reception with 2:02 on the clock. Steuber walked into the end zone for the final two points of the half as Manawa took a 30-6 lead at the break.
The Wolves would put the game out of reach to open the second half. Steuber’s 42-yard run to the Port Edwards 1-yard line on the second play set up Kreklow’s 2-yard scamper. Lick added the two-point conversion and the Wolves had a 38-6 led with 10 minutes left in the third quarter.
Steuber capped the scoring with another punt return, this time from 55 yards out, later in the third quarter before the coaching staff cleared the bench.
Hass and Kreklow led Manawa’s ground game with 73 and 71 yards, respectively, on six carries each.
The Wolves will say in the CWC-10 Friday, Sept. 9, as Manawa hosts Wild Rose at 7 p.m. The Wildcats are 3-0, but have yet to face a conference team.