Chargers only area team to advance in football playoffs

Dustin Riese

High school football playoffs got underway Oct. 20 as five area teams hit the gridiron with hopes of making it to Madison. Four of those five teams participate in the 11-man field, with Lena/St. Thomas Aquinas playing in the 8-man league.

Wittenberg-Birnamwood 46, Clintonville 8

The lone local team to come away with a win was the top-seeded Chargers of Wittenberg-Birnamwood as they took down the Truckers, 46-8.

Even with one of the state’s top passers in Kade Rosenow, Clintonville was no match for the Chargers as they continued to have their way with most of their opponents this season. Rosenow held his own, tossing for 221 yards and a TD, but it was the 343 yards on the ground for the Chargers that made the difference as they advance to Level 2.

It was all Witt-Birn in the first half as they opened up a 30-0 lead at the break. Nathan Waupekenay led the way with 107 yards rushing on eight carries, adding two scores. Marshall Fraaza nearly matched Waupekenay as he finished with 101 yards on nine carries while also picking up two TDs.

In total, Witt-Birn had six TDs on the ground with Jett Rogowski and Coye Brillowski adding two scores, while Bryson Schmid had an 82-yard punt return for a score.

Witt-Birn will now square off with CWC-Large rival Amherst on Oct. 27 as the Falcons picked up a 14-0 Level 1 win.

Homestead 27, Pulaski 13

A strong end to the season came to an abrupt halt as the Red Raiders fell to second-seeded Homestead 27-13.

As they have done all season long, the Red Raiders relied on their rushing attack that topped 140 yards and two scores, but with 225 yards of their own on the ground for Homestead, it was a long night for the Pulaski defense.

Trevor Schuessler led the way for Pulaski with 59 yards on five carries while also picking up both scores for the Red Raiders. That included his 28-yard TD run in the first quarter to put Pulaski on the board as they trailed 8-6 early. After Tommy O’Hagen completed his second of two TD passes to put Homestead on top 15-7 at the half, Pulaski was then faced with an 18-7 deficit midway through the third until Schuessler picked up his second score to make things a one-possession game.

That was as close as they would get as Homestead ended the game with nine unanswered points and ended the Red Raiders season with a 5-5 record. Logan Schultz closed out his season with 56 yards on 10 carries while also adding 21 yards through the air. Ethan Schmidt threw for 72 yards in the loss.

Mondovi 33, Bonduel 29

Momentum is real when it comes to sports, and Bonduel was riding a huge momentum wave after closing out the regular season with four straight wins to earn the No. 6 seed in the Division 6 playoffs.

Standing in their way was the third-seeded and D6 power Mondovi, which won 33-29.

Trailing 6-0, Bonduel first scored on a 13-yard TD pass from Noah Weier to Cade Johnson as the Bears led 8-6 after one quarter.

Owen Springborn scored on an 11-yard run in the second quarter to help Bonduel take a 14-6 lead. A Mondovi score left Bonduel on top 14-12, and they added to that on a 25-yard run by Weier to lead 21-12 at the half.

Touchdowns in the third quarter and again in the fourth quarter saw Mondovi take a 26-21 lead. The Bears went back on top 29-26 after a nine-yard pass from Weier to Johnson.

However, the last score went to Mondovi on a four-yard run.

Somerset 38, Oconto Falls 12

A historic season came to an abrupt end for the third-seeded Panthers as they let Somerset come into town and knock them out of the playoffs 38-12.

Losing non-conference games isn’t a surprise when you look at the Panthers’ overall results this season, but it was the way they lost that stands out the most as Somerset beat the Panthers at their own game to end their season.

Alex Haines continued to do his thing on the ground, but it didn’t come easy as the Somerset defense made it a point to contain the running game. That forced Emmerich Skarban to pass more than he would like, and although he did have some completions, it wasn’t enough to move the chains.

When it comes to the Somerset offense, they managed to beat the Panthers at their own game as Caymen Gabheim had a great game on the ground to help set the tone and pave the way for an upset.

Three Lakes/Phelps 28, Lena/St. Thomas Aquinas 6

Lena’s journey into the playoffs was short-lived.

After claiming a Peninsula Conference title and going unbeaten to earn the No. 2 overall seed, Lena welcomed in the third-seeded Three Lakes/Phelps co-op team as their season ended with their first and only loss of the season, 28-6.

Calvin Peters and the rushing attack opened the scoring with a second-quarter touchdown, as Lena held a narrow 6-0 lead at the half.

Three Lakes not only responded with a third-quarter TD to take the lead for good 7-6, but then erupted for 21 points in the fourth as they ended the game with 28 unanswered points.

Three Lakes also came away with a pair of interceptions on defense as they took away the running game from Lena and forced them into an uncomfortable situation leading to their lone loss.

Suring 36, Marion/Tigerton 24

Although neither Suring nor Marion/Tigerton qualified for the postseason, they did elect to pick up a plus one game and chose to play each other Oct. 19. The Eagles earned their second win of the season, 36-24.