WACO runs past New London
NEW LONDON — New London got on the board early but it was WACO that scored often and walked away with a win, 53-14, in Friday night’s district contest.
“We struggled with matching WACO intensity, and we just can’t catch a break,” New London Coach Brad Helmerson said. “But we’re still working hard.”
The Tigers drop to 2-6 overall and 1-5 in district play, while WACO ups its record to 4-4 overall and 4-2 in the district.
It was the Tigers who got on the board first in the game when Quincy Porter took the opening kickoff to the house.
The 86-yard touchdown gave New London a 6-0 lead just 17 seconds into the game.
“Our kick return scheme works well when our fakes are good and we block where we are supposed to,” Helmerson said.
But the Warriors didn’t let the quick score get to them.
“The way we responded after giving up the kickoff return for a touchdown (was key),” WACO Coach Chad Edeker said. “That could have set the mood for the whole night and it didn’t. We moved the ball right down the field after that and then played really good defense.”
WACO got into the end zone twice in the first quarter, on a 7-yard run by Bryce Achen and a 48-yard run by Cey Saeugling. Isaac Black’s PAT attempt was good for both.
But the Warriors really made their mark on the game in the second quarter.
Tucker Janecek started it off with a 4-yard touchdown run that capped a 37-yard drive.
New London went three-and-out, and WACO took over on its own 36 yard line. A seven-play drive ended with Achen’s 10-yard touchdown run, and then the defense forced another three-and-out for the Tigers.
Janecek added another score for WACO on a 12-yard run, capping a 41-yard drive, and then New London fumble gave WACO the ball back on the New London 45-yard line.
The Warriors’ final drive of the first half ended on a 7-yard touchdown run by Dylan Carlson, and WACO went into halftime with a 40-6 lead.
“Our defense gave our offense the ball in great field position, and our offense was more physical than New London,” Edeker said. “We did a nice job of controlling the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball.”
“WACO was more physical up front and totally controlled the line of scrimmage,” he said. “We’re looking to possibly move some guys around.”
For WACO, keeping control of the line is a big priority.
“Both of our lines did a great job of being physical,” Edeker said. “We talk about that a lot in practice and on the sideline. We want them to be more physical than the guy they are blocking. We try and get them to be as aggressive as we can.”
The WACO defensive line consists of Saeugling, Michael Stutzman, Jerome Farrier and Mason Barnhart. On the offensive line, the Warriors have Johnathan McArtor, Dylon Evans, Ben Herzinger, Duncan Pickard, Josh Shumaker and Black.
After halftime in Friday’s game, Porter added another New London score on the Tigers’ first possession of the second half, as he broke away on a 74-yard run.
Matayo Christianer ran for the two-point conversion, making it 40-14 WACO.
That was all the damage New London was able to do in the game.
The Warriors managed one more score in each quarter — Janecek made a 43-yard touchdown run with 7:44 left in the third and Achen rushed for a 36-yard touchdown with 8:47 left in the game.
On the night, Janecek led the Warriors with 188 rushing yards (10.4 per carry), and Achen picked up 143 yards on the ground (9.5 yards per carry).
“New London is a physical team and we knew we’d have to play tough,” Janecek said. “We knew it would be an emotional game, because we knew they had lost a student.”
New London freshman Emma Ritchey passed away after a car accident recently, and the Tigers honored her at halftime of Friday’s game. Family members and band members (Ritchey played in the band) released purple balloons after the crowd had a moment of silence.
“We thought it would be an emotional, physical game, and it was — they never let up,” Janecek said.
Sometimes, however, the Tigers were too aggressive — they lost their focus on the field, giving WACO the room they needed to run the ball up the middle.
“The plays up the middle were actually just taking advantage of the their defense being overly aggressive and flowing to the ball, and we are able to run our trap,” Edeker said.
On the night, Saeugling had 83 rushing yards for WACO and Carlson had 46.
Braden Blake was 5-for-13 passing for 81 yards. Saeugling had two catches for 30 yards and Black had two catches for 27 yards. Janecek made a 24-yard catch.
Defensively, the Warriors were led by Janecek with six tackles. Brett Hesseltine and Black had four each. Black and Saeugling had three tackles for loss each, and Saeugling had two sacks.
Black had an interception, while Farrier and Jackson Gerot each recovered a fumble.
For the Tigers, Porter picked up 86 yards rushing (10.8 per carry) to lead the team. Jayden Flowers gained 17 yards and Tyler Shinkle had 15.
Tristan Kadel was 5-for-8 passing and Flowers was 3-for-10.
Shinkle had a 19-yard reception. Tyler Stevenson had two catches for 13 receiving yards, and Porter made four catches for 11 yards in the air.
Matayo Christianer made 17 tackles for the Tigers. Kadel added nine and Stevenson had seven.
Austin McBeth and Kyle Oliver each recovered a fumble.
Each team will play its final regular-season game — and its respective senior night game — on Friday. WACO hosts Highland and New London hosts Winfield-Mt. Union.
“We need to work hard all week at practice and increase our intensity to be able to get our third win of the year and end year on the right note,” Helmerson said.
“Our goal is to win and get the home playoff game,” Edeker said. “It has been several years since we have had a home playoff game, and really want to play at our place.
“Plus, if we lose, we will most likely be out of the playoffs completely,” he added.
Kickoff for both games is scheduled for 7 p.m.