Spartans to test Waupaca
The Waupaca Comet football team won’t have to wait until the upcoming playoffs to see a quality opponent.
The Comets will wrap up the regular season at 7 tonight (Thursday) at home against Luxemburg-Casco, a team that will finish no worse than second in the Bay Conference.
“They have an excellent program,” coach John Koronkiewicz said after watching his team improve to 7-1 on the season and 7-1 in the Eastern Valley Conference with Friday’s 28-6 road win over Fox Valley Lutheran. “We exchanged some film because it makes it a lot easier for preparation.”
Although the Foxes came into Friday’s game with only one win under their belt, FVL gave Waupaca all it could handle, especially in the first half.
Quarterback Harley Anderson put the Comets on the board with a 2-yard run in the first quarter and threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Nate Jenson in the second quarter.
Tommy Welch returned the ensuing kickoff 83 yards for the Foxes’ only points of the game.
Waupaca pulled away with a pair of touchdowns in the second half, a 20-yard run by Casey Nicewander in the third quarter and Ajay Johnson’s 66-yard run in the fourth.
The Foxes ran 23 plays compared to four for Waupaca in the third quarter. The Foxes were able to get a first down at the Comet 2-yard line early in the fourth quarter, but ended up turning the ball over on downs. Waupaca then drove the length of the field and scored its final touchdown.
“I thought FVL played very good defense the entire game,” Koronkiewicz said. “Like most teams have done, the loaded up on the inside and made it a lot more difficult to run the ball between the tackles. What we did at the end was go to a different formation with two tight ends, kind of a more balanced look so we could go either way. The big play obviously was the option (to Johnson).”
Zach Nellis returned to the Waupaca lineup after missing two games with an ankle injury. He responded with a team-high 18 tackles, an interception and a forced fumble.
“Once he got back on the field, he wasn’t going to come off the field,” Koronkiewicz said. “Is he 100 percent? No, but he’s a great football player and makes our defense better.”
Waupaca outgained the Foxes 304-44 on the ground, but FVL had a 104-102 advantage through the air. Nicewander had his most productive game of the season with 125 yards in 19 carries, while Beau Ash added 78 yards in 15 carries. Jenson caught three passes for 57 yards to lead Waupaca’s receivers.
Level 1 playoff games are scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 26. First-round pairings will be announced Friday.