Football regular season comes to an end

By: 
Dustin Riese
Correspondent

The 2023 high school regular football season has wrapped up , and five teams will advance to the postseason.

Bonduel 40, Oconto 30

At one point, Bonduel was sitting at 1-4 and in danger of missing the playoffs. Four weeks later, the Bears closed out the season as one of the hottest teams in the Packerland Conference as they won their final four games to finish the season 5-4, including 5-2 in conference play to secure a playoff berth this season. That included a regular season finale victory over the Oconto Blue Devils 40-30 on Oct. 12.

The Bears were led by Noah Weier in the passing game as the QB continues to make the necessary throws to move the ball. Cade Johnson and Ryan Westrich have been his favorite targets all season, as they have combined for nearly 900 receiving yards between the two. On the ground, Owen Springborn and Colin Fischer have brought a balance to the passing game as the Bears offense has kicked it into gear late.

Bonduel will now begin the Division 6 playoffs as the No. 6 seed and will travel to take on the No. 3 seeded Mondovi.

Oneida Nation 46, Gillett 18

Gillett saw its 2023 season come to an end Oct. 12 as they fell to Oneida Nation 46-18 to finish the year 3-5. Jesse DeBach was the engine that made this team go all season as he completed 12-21 passes for 217 yards and finished the season with 1,665 yards. DeBauch also added 10 yards on the ground with one TD as Gillett rushed for 185 yards and three scores in the loss.

Jackson Pecha had the best day on the ground, coming just shy of 100 yards with 96 while also putting in a pair of TDs. Ben Matczak capped off what was a great receiving year for him with a team-high 120 yards.

Lena/Thomas Aquinas 24, Wausaukee 18

It didn’t come easy, but Lena capped off its unbeaten season and Peninsula Conference championship with a 24-18 win over Wausaukee on Oct. 12. All season long, it has been the ground attack of more than 2,500 yards that has gotten this offense rolling, and this game was no different as Lena picked up 244 yards on the ground. Of those yards, 108 came from Calvin Peters, who also scored a TD. Trailing 18-16 in the fourth, Peters got loose and raced for 46 yards to put Lena in front for good as that was the winning score.

Along with Peters was Ty Shallow, who added 86 yards and two scores on the ground. The first one came in the first quarter from seven yards out and the second from five yards out in the second quarter. After that, it was all Wausaukee for a bit as they ripped off 18 unanswered points to take the lead as Gavin Thomson finished with 250 yards rushing and three scores before the Peters TD sealed things for Lena.

Lena will now enter the 8-man playoff field as the No. 2 seed in their bracket and will host Three Lakes/Phelps for what could be their final home game of 2023.

Algoma 52, Suring 20

The 2023 season was a struggle for the Eagles of Suring and one that ended with a 52-20 defeat Oct. 12. All it took for the Wolves to take this one was a 22-point first quarter to grab the early lead before pushing across 16 more points in the third. Ironically, Suring grabbed the lead first in this one as Michael Pecanas hooked up with Hunter Luebeck for the 4-yard score to give the Eagles an early 8-0 lead.

Algoma responded with 22 unanswered points to end the first quarter. Suring did their best to keep things close in the second with Trent Thompson picking up a two-yard TD run to pull the Eagles within 22-14 before Algoma busted open the 52-14 lead late. Thompson added his second TD later in the game from one yard out to close out the scoring. Despite not making the postseason, Suring will be picking up an extra game as they will face Tigerton/Marion on Oct. 19 for a plus-one game.

Niagara 34, Menominee Indian 16

Like Suring, wins were hard to come by for Menominee Indian this season as they finished the season 0-8. One positive to take away from the year was how this team finished as the offense started to show signs of life the final few weeks including a season-high 16 points Oct. 13.

Seymour 36, Shawano 0

Needing a win to potentially put themselves in a position to make the playoffs, the Hawks had no answers for the Thunder as they dropped their season finale 36-0 on Oct. 13. With the win, Seymour made the playoffs. Most of the damage in this one came in the second quarter, when the Thunder scored 24 of their 36 points.

The duo of Xavier Salzman and Mason Bunnell had a phenomenal game. Salzman led the way for Seymour with 175 yards on 14 carries and three scores, while Bunnell picked up 130 yards and one score. That was all the Thunder would need, as they threw just one pass in the victory.

As expected, Jerzy Brocker played a big role in the offense, although they couldn’t get much of anything going most of the night.

Wittenberg-Birnamwood 50, Weyauwega-Fremont 6

In what was one of the best regular seasons in program history, the Chargers closed things out with a dominating 50-6 win over Weyauwega-Fremont to finish the season 8-1 and CWC-Large runner-ups Oct. 13. Anytime you score 42 points in a half, you are going to be tough to beat, which is what the Chargers did. They not only scored 20 points in the first quarter but also 22 in the second to build a 42-0 lead at the break.

It was the rushing game of W-B that set the tone as they tallied 330 yards as a team and six total touchdowns. Marshall Fraza touched the ball just four times but still managed to pick up 146 yards to lead the team while finding the end zone three times. Bryson Schmid added 86 yards on eight carries to go with two scores.

The Chargers will now enter the Division 5 playoff seed as the No. 1 overall seed in their bracket and will host through Level 3 if they make it that far. First up is a matchup against No. 8 seed Clintonville and one of the state’s best passers in Kade Rosenow.

Pulaski 42, Green Bay Preble 0

After clinching a playoff spot the week before, Pulaski had one more order of business to take care of as they looked to end the season on a positive note against Preble. They did so in dominating fashion Oct. 13 as they topped the Hornets 42-0 to finish the season 5-4, including a 5-2 showing in FRCC-North play.

An 85-yard TD run from Spencer Hakes late in the first got things going, but it was in the second quarter when Pulaski began to pull away. Pulaski scored three times during that second quarter, and all three scores came on the ground as Ethan Schmidt, Trevor Schussler and Logan Schultz all found the end zone to open up a 27-0 halftime lead. Pulaski would then finish things off in the third with Schultz adding another score, as Pulaski rushed for 247 yards and six scores in the win.

Hakes led the way for the Red Raiders rushing attack as he needed just four touches to reach the 100-yard mark with one score. Schultz added 63 yards on 11 carries with two scores, while Schussler and Schmidt combined for 87 yards and two additional scores.

Pulaski will have their work cut out for them in the Division 2 playoff field as they earned a No. 7 seed and will have to travel to take on the No. 2 seed Homestead.

Almond-Bancroft 50, Marion/Tigerton 6

Despite starting the season 2-1, Marion/Tigerton didn’t have much luck the rest of the way as they dropped their final five games of the season to finish 2-6. Losing to Almond-Bancroft 50-6 on Oct. 13 was the icing on the cake as Braxton Genskow picked up the lone score of the game for Marion with a 12-yard TD run in the first.

Genskow has been the biggest offensive weapon for Marion all season as he finished the game with 48 yards rushing and one score while also adding 43 yards passing. Jackson Krohn did his best to get things going on the ground as he led Marion with 79 yards, but needed 27 carries to get those yards. Parker Miller had 40 yards receiving in the loss for Marion.

Marion will have an opportunity to play one additional game this week as they have chosen to pick up the plus-one game and will host Suring on Oct. 19.