Safety helps Waupaca stay undefeated
By Greg Seubert
Football fans expecting a shootout probably left Rocky Bleier Field a little disappointed.
After all, Waupaca and Xavier have played plenty of high-scoring games over the years with plenty of big plays.
The latest matchup of the Bay Conference teams on Xavier’s home field Sept. 9 didn’t have many big plays, but it did have a big comeback, as Waupaca erased a 14-0 deficit heading into the fourth quarter and returned home with a 15-14 win.
Neither team scored in the first half, but Xavier’s Tyler Farr missed a 39-yard field goal as time expired.
The Hawks did find the end zone twice in the third quarter. Quarterback Hunter Plamann capped an 11-play, 75-yard drive with a 4-yard run with 5:36 remaining in the quarter. Xavier also scored on its next drive on Adam Drees’ 45-yard run with 3:30 to go. That run was part of a four-play, 94-yard drive.
Waupaca answered with a 14-play, 94-yard drive of its own, as quarterback Hayden Neidert scored from 29 yards out. His extra point cut the Hawks’ lead in half.
Neither team scored again until Waupaca’s Dylan Shaw sacked Plamann in the end zone for a safety with 2:58 to go in the game.
The Comets took over on their own 47-yard line and soon faced a fourth-and-4 from the Xavier 10-yard line with 59 seconds on the clock. Neidert carried the ball to the 2-yard line for a first down before taking it in on the next play. His pass to Stephen Johnson for the two-point conversion fell incomplete, but Waupaca had its first lead of the game – 15-14 – with 43 seconds remaining.
A 26-yard completion from Plamann to Aiden Maguire gave the Hawks a first down at the Waupaca 39-yard line with 19 seconds left. An illegal procedure penalty backed the Hawks 5 yards and Waupaca’s Brenden Canterbury sealed the win by picking off Plamann’s pass.
It was Canterbury’s second interception in as many weeks, as his pick Sept. 2 in overtime gave the Comets’ a 27-20 win over New London.
Waupaca improved to 4-0 on the season and 4-0 in conference play, while Xavier dropped its second game in a row and fell to 2-2 overall and 2-2 in the Bay.
Waupaca will host Wrightstown at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 16 for the Comets’ nonconference game, while Xavier will travel to West De Pere to take on the unbeaten Phantoms.