Hawks spoil Comets’ party on new field
Shawano comes back strong in second half
By Greg Seubert
Waupaca and Shawano came into their Bay Conference football matchup after being shut out in their respective openers.
The scoring drought is over, as the teams combined for 69 points, 10 touchdowns and more than 800 yards of offense.
Instead of leaving the first football game played at Comet Field on a winning note, however, Waupaca came out on the short end of a 35-34 score.
Neither team scored in the first quarter, but Waupaca found the end zone three times in the second quarter to take a 21-7 halftime lead.
Brenden Canterbury connected with Justin Vaughn for a 20-yard touchdown pass 1:12 into the quarter to cap a 51-yard drive.
A low snap on a punt attempt set up the Comets’ second touchdown, as Waupaca tackled punter Jarrett Laatsch on his own 36-yard line. Canterbury later scored from a yard out with 3:53 remaining in the first half.
Laatsch scored the first of his five rushing touchdowns on Shawano’s next drive to cut the lead to 14-7 with 1:07 to play, but the Comets drove 70 yards and scored on Canterbury’s 32-yard pass to Jake Pankratz with 42 seconds to go.
Waupaca outgained the Hawks 236-103 in the first half, but the next two quarters turned out to be a different story.
The Hawks took the second-half kickoff and went 80 yards, with Laatsch scoring from a yard out midway through the third quarter.
Waupaca also scored on its first drive, as Jack Menzies gave Waupaca a 28-14 lead with a 12-yard run.
Laatsch answered on Shawano’s next drive with a 2-yard keeper and his 6-yard run on the Hawks’ third drive of the half tied the game at 28-28 with 9:29 to go in the contest.
Waupaca drove down the field on its next drive, but Cody Rasmussen missed a 34-yard field goal.
The Hawks took over at their own 17-yard line and Laatsch found the end zone for the fifth time from 5 yards out with 4:07 to go to gave Shawano its first lead.
It didn’t take long for the Comets to answer, as Waupaca needed only three plays to go 68 yards, with Menzies scoring from 44 yards out with 2:42 to go. Rasmussen’s extra-point attempt that would have tied the game sailed just right of the goalpost and the Hawks kept a one-point lead.
A personal foul penalty on Waupaca kept Shawano’s next drive alive and an offsides call on third-and-1 allowed the Hawks to run out the clock.
Waupaca outgained the Hawks 438-430, but Laatsch and teammate Roman Purll teamed up to carry the ball 60 times for 352 yards.
Shawano ran 40 offensive plays in the second half while holding the Comets to 17.
Waupaca fell to 0-2 in the Bay and 0-2 overall and will head to New London Friday, Sept. 1, to face the Bulldogs. Shawano improved to 1-1 in conference play and 1-1 overall and will host Green Bay East Sept. 1.