Menasha controls first half to topple Shawano

Hawks turn in strong second half
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By Morgan Rode sports@newmedia-wi.com


Leader photo by Morgan Rode Brayden Dickelman (23) runs with the ball during the first half of Friday’s game against Menasha.

The Shawano football team knew it would have to bring its best game to the table in order to hang with Bay Conference foe Menasha.

Some tough luck dug the Hawks into a hole it could not work its way out of, with the visiting Bluejays pulling out to a 37-0 halftime lead.

After a stern halftime message, Shawano showed plenty of grit and fight in the second half, outscoring Menasha 22-15 the rest of the way. Despite suffering a 52-22 loss, Shawano coach Alan Tomow was pleased with how the team responded.

“We really challenged them (the players) at halftime,” Tomow said. “The defensive coaches did a good job of talking through assignments and just making sure that we were playing a little faster. Our message was to play faster, come out and play harder and to stop not being confident in what you’re doing and to stop worrying about making mistakes.”

The Hawks received the second half kickoff and put together an impressive 66-yard drive. Junior running back Brayden Dickelman did the heavy lifting on the ground while sophomore quarterback Gage Timm connected with freshman wide receiver Elliott Lowney, who made a sensational grab despite being dragged to the ground by a defender.

Dickelman broke free on a checkdown pass from Timm and lunged into the end zone for the Hawks’ first score of the contest.

“It felt great,” said Dickelman on the offense finding some momentum in the second half. “We just wanted to keep playing hard (after halftime) and give Menasha our best and I think we did that. We still had plenty of energy and I’m proud of that.”

Shawano’s offense was able to put together a nearly identical touchdown drive when it got the ball back. The Hawks again drove 66 yards for the score, leaning on some tough running from Dickelman.

Timm broke loose for a 12-yard run to put the hosts at the 1-yard line before Dickelman charged into the end zone late in the third quarter.

On Menasha’s next drive, the visitors worked the ball down the field before junior cornerback Andrew Christian jumped in front of a fourth down pass attempt to pick off his second pass of the game. Christian’s first interception came late in the first quarter, when he ripped the ball away from a Menasha receiver.

“In the first half, they ran a lot of the same plays and we had miscommunications,” Christian said. “During the second half, we went over it, talked about it and then we made adjustments, fixed it up and did well in the second half.”

About midway through the fourth quarter, Shawano forced its third turnover of the game, with senior defensive back Steven Hoffmann jumping in front of a quick pass and taking the pick back 45 yards for the team’s final score. The 22 points were the most allowed by Menasha so far this season.

After forcing three turnovers, coach Tomow is hoping the defensive unit can build off the effort.

“For us to force some turnovers, hopefully our kids see that excitement and get a little more urgency on that side of the ball to force more turnovers and start giving us some shorter fields and create better opportunities for our offense,” Tomow said.

Tomow also said the team had yet to put forth a complete game effort and still was making too many little mistakes.

Shawano had a 62-yard rushing touchdown late in the fourth quarter wiped off the scoreboard because of a holding penalty. Later in the drive, the Hawks took a few shots into the end zone but were not able to finish the plays.

In the first half, Shawano had a number of drives stall in enemy territory. After scoring on its opening possession, Menasha took advantage of a deflected pass and returned the interception for a quick 12-0 lead.

“It was really us shooting ourselves in the foot,” Dickelman said. “They are a good team and stopped us a couple of times but there were some plays where they broke through our line. We stopped ourselves basically.”

Despite falling to 0-4 overall and in conference play, Shawano now hopes to carry some of the positive momentum from the second half into a tough week five matchup with Seymour.

“I thought our defense played well and that second half gave us a really good push that should help us for the next game,” Christian said. “We’ll be focused and ready to go against Seymour.”

Menasha 18 19 7 8

Shawano 0 0 16 6

First quarter

M: Cole Popp 1-yard run (kick failed), 10:03

M: Issac Stanchik 50-yard interception return (kick failed), 8:12

M: Brady Jurgella 14-yard pass from Popp (kick failed), 4:53

Second quarter

M: Riley Zirpel 26-yard pass from Popp (kick failed), 9:23

M: Tyler Roehl 10-yard run (Roehl kick), 4:56

M: Popp 11-yard run (kick failed), 2:03

Third quarter

S: Brayden Dickelman 9-yard pass from Gage Timm (Timm run), 6:05

M: Ben Romnek 44-yard pass from Popp (Roehl kick), 4:20

S: Dickelman 1-yard run (Timm run), 0:21

Fourth quarter

S: Steven Hoffmann 45-yard interception return (run failed), 5:21

M: Trey King 20-yard run (Josh Zwerg pass from Luke Shaw), 2:14