Witt-Birn, Oconto Falls football teams clinch playoff spots

Dustin Riese

Coming off a huge win against Amherst last week, everyone was waiting to see how the Wittenberg-Birnamwood Chargers would respond against the Manawa Wolves. The Chargers responded with a 50-7 win to remain unbeaten and clinch a spot in the Division 5 playoffs.

Once again, it was the balanced offensive attack that led the way for the Chargers as they are proving to be tough to stop right now.

Nathan Waupekenay continues to do his thing both through the air and on the ground as he has accumulated nearly 1,700 yards of total offense and more than 15 scores. He has played a huge role in the success of this team, but so have Braeden Groshek and Marshall Fraaza. While the offense may steal the headlines in most cases, don’t overlook the defense as they have made it tough for opponents to get anything going.

For the Chargers to continue their unbeaten run in a quest for the CWC-Large title, they will have to go through a pair of unbeaten teams as Stratford and Weyauwega-Fremont remain on the schedule down the stretch.

Oakfield 88, Menominee Indian 0

This has been a season to forget for the Menominee Indian 8-player team as they have struggled through five games and are still searching for their first win. Not only that, but the Eagles have scored just 12 points in five games, which hasn’t made things easy. Sparked by a 37-point first quarter and a 56-point first half, it was all Oaks in this one as they took down the Eagles 88-0.

Bailey Schepp completed six of eight passes for 134 yards and three scores, but it was the rushing attack of the Oaks that pushed across seven TDs in the win. Hunter Sabel led the way with 37 yards on three touches with two of those touches coming as scores. Mitchell Moser also brought in 107 yards receiving and two TDs in what was another rough game for the Eagles.

Winneconne 28, Shawano 6

The wins may not be coming at the rate the Hawks want, but at least they have been far more competitive the past three games. At 1-3 in conference and 1-5 overall, the Hawks must win out to secure a playoff berth or they will have to play the waiting game.

Pulaski 28, Ashwaubenon 3

Despite sitting at 2-4 and having wins come as a struggle right now, the season is far from over for the Pulaski Red Raiders as most of their challenging games are out of the way. To move to .500 in Fox River Classic Conference play and to better improve their playoff chances, the Red Raiders traveled to Ashwaubenon and took care of the Jaguars 28-3.

Leading 7-3 at the half after a first quarter Logan Schultz TD run, it was all Pulaski in the third as they pushed across 21 third quarter points. Spencer Hakes opened the scoring with a one-yard TD run to push the lead to 14-3 with Trevor Schuessler adding two more rushing TDs later in the quarter. In total, Pulaski scored four times on the ground and rushed for 235 yards as a team with Schultz leading the way with 94 yards on 13 carries.

Oconto Falls 36, Coleman 8

It has been a long time since you could say the Panthers made the playoffs in three-straight years. Following their win against Coleman on Friday, the Panthers are now 4-0 in Northwoods conference play and have clinched a spot in the 2023 playoffs.

Overall, the team is 6-2, but with a pair of replacement games due to forfeits you could make the case that they are 6-0. All it took for the Panthers to put this one away was a 22-point second quarter that took what was an 8-8 tie and made things 30-8 at the half.

Alex Haines was a huge reason for that massive quarter as he led the Panthers with 146 yards on the ground on 14 carries while adding three TDs. Two of those came in the second quarter alone with one from Cole Bozile as the Panthers rushed for 305 yards as a team. Emerich Skarban came through with a very efficient passing performance as he completed all four passes he threw for 86 yards and one score to Wyatt Laughrin in the fourth quarter for the games final score.

Bonduel 28, Marinette 7

It hasn’t been easy for the Bears across the first six weeks of the season, but at 2-4 overall including a 2-2 conference record, Bonduel is very much alive for the postseason as they need to win two of their final three games. With games against Mishicot and Peshtigo lingering on the docket, the task seems doable, which would be a huge success considering the start they got off to.

Noah Weier continues to lead the way in the passing game as he has not only been efficient but has found ways to make plays when he needs to. Cade Johnson and Ryan Westrich have been his two favorite targets as both of them have more than 200 yards receiving this season. You also have a ground attack that although far from perfect has been successful with Dylan Hillsberg leading the way.

Port Edwards 51, Marion/Tigerton 26

In what was a Central Conference matchup, the Marion/Tigerton co-op team fell to Port Edwards 51-26.

Braxton Genskow continued to be the leader offensively for Marion, as he made plays with his arm and his legs. He was backed by Parker Miller who has not only emerged as a serious threat in the passing game but is now starting to run the ball effectively.

The difference in this one was the passing game as Hayden Hewitt made more plays than Genskow did with his arm, which proved to be the difference. This was the first conference game for either team and now Marion/Tigerton must win its final three regular season games to guarantee a playoff spot.

Gibraltar 48, Gillett 19

Led by Braeden Kita and his 268 yards passing, the Vikings of Gibraltar were too much for Gillett as the Tigers fell 48-19.

After Brandon DuBauch scored from 47 yards out to give the Tigers the lead, he would add a second TD from 10 yards as part of his big day on the ground as the Tigers held a 13-7 lead through one. It was in the second quarter when the game got flipped on its head as the Tigers scored 27 points to open up a halftime lead and built off of that.

Kita connected for two TD passes during that quarter, with Braden Sitte adding a 33 yard TD run and fumble recovery to blow the game wide open. Sitte rushed for a score and caught seven passes for 211 yards and three TDs as he was a tough order for the Tigers defense. Jesse DeBauch led the Tigers, completing 10 of 16 passes for 137 yards and two scores, but both came with the game out of reach.

Lena/St. Thomas 48, Algoma 20

One of the more impressive 8-man teams this season has to be the Lena/St. Thomas Aquinas Academy team as they scored another massive victory. As expected, it was the running game that led the charge as Lena rushed for 462 yards in the victory and six of the seven TDS. Calvin Peters was a man on a mission for Lena, rushing for 254 yards on just 10 carries and scoring three times from 30, 75, and 42 yards out.

Peters wasn’t alone when it came to having a great day on the ground as Ty Shallow added 111 yards on just eight carries while also finding the endzone twice. The Wolves were led by Isaac Yunk and Grant Vandervest on the ground as the two of them combined for 255 of the teams 332 yards rushing. Ironically, Algoma not only held the lead once, but twice in this one before Lena ripped off 32 unanswered points to take a 14-8 deficit and turned it into a 40-14 lead. The most impressive state of the game was seeing Lena run just 10 offensive plays in the first half and coming away with 32 points off of them.

Oneida Nation/NEW Lutheran 35, Suring 14

It was another week and another loss for Suring as they fell to 0-5 on the season. Trailing 7-0 in the first and 14-0 early in the second, the Owls managed to come a way with their first of two scores midway through the second to pull within 14-8. That was as close as they would get as Oneida Nation held a 21-8 lead at the break before pulling away late.

Reid Nelson and the passing game gave the Suring defense issues all game as he completed 11 passes for 169 yards and one TD. Of those yards, 139 went to Grant Steffel on six catches while also grabbing the lone TD pass. As if stopping the pass wasn’t hard enough, Oneida Nation also rushed for 152 yards in the win as Bruce Liebzeit picked up 144 yards and one score.