Comets come from 22 points behind to beat rival

By Kevin Cunningham

Correspondent

The Delavan-Darien High School football team had a season-opening nail biter against Lodi and recorded a blowout victory in its win over Mayville so far this season. The Comets’ most recent game, against Elkhorn on Friday, was another nail biter.

Elkhorn led 14-0 after the first quarter thanks to a fumble being returned for a touchdown for the first score of the game. In the second quarter, Delavan-Darien fought its way back with two scores of its own, but failed on a couple two-point conversions, making it 14-12.

The next three scores of the game went the Elks’ way, seemingly putting the Comets out of reach, facing a 34-12 deficit in the fourth quarter. That’s when the Comets took over.

From that point on, Comets head coach Bret St. Arnauld and his team willed their way back, scoring three straight touchdowns, tying the game at 34 with just a couple minutes left. Jaime Flores, the team’s kicker, had the game resting on his foot, and he came through.

Extra points in high school football aren’t necessarily a given, and in Delavan-Darien’s case, the team had been 0-for-1 in extra point attempts so far this season. The Comets have gone for two-point conversions after every other score.

“Honestly, it was just like, Jaime, it’s like every other time,” St. Arnauld said. “Just kick it through. Just kick it through. Don’t worry about anything else. Good snap, good hold, and, boom. It went through. I was like, alright, that’s pretty good for a sophomore to be clutch like that.”

The Elks wouldn’t score for the remainder of the game, giving the Comets the 35-34 victory. Quarterback Jacob Benzing had his second straight game of accounting for five touchdowns, as he threw for four and ran in the game-winning score in the fourth quarter against the Elks.

“Jake had ice in his veins in that fourth quarter,” St. Arnauld said. “He did what he needed to do. Jake did what Jake does. The offensive line was giving him time in the fourth quarter – they were really opening up some space and time for Jake to throw the ball. All around, the offensive performance in the fourth quarter, yes, it was orchestrated by Jake, but it was really a team effort, that’s for sure.”

The Comets have quality and depth and the wide receiver position. St. Arnauld knew that going into the year, and it became evident on Friday. In the 40-7 win against Mayville, Ethan Cesarz caught four touchdown passes, cementing his dominance as a pass catcher.

In the 35-34 win over Elkhorn, Cesarz recorded just one catch, but Mike Alder and Seth Kirsch provided the team with scoring ability on the outside. Alder caught nine passes for 134 yards, while Kirsch caught six for 55 yards and three touchdowns.

“We’ve got play-makers all over the place,” St. Arnauld said. “Our athletes are phenomenal. You get them the ball quickly, and they can do stuff with it that’s pretty special. Between Mike, who has the speed and sense of knowledge when he gets the ball and what to do with it, he’s dangerous; where, Seth is a great possession receiver. Seth doesn’t drop balls very often. He’s tough to cover. If Jake gets time to throw, I mean, that’s who we are. It’s a good problem to have.”

The third-year head coach said Ryan Genglar and Eric Gonzalez are part of a defense that only allowed 13 points through the first three quarters.

“Ryan’s a captain, he’s a leader,” St. Arnauld said. “He’s a tough kid, he’s a smart kid and he’s a great kid. I don’t know of anybody who works harder than he does. He works his tail off. He’s not afraid to get physical, and that’s what you need from a linebacker. As for Eric, he’s a sophomore who’s also a tough kid. He’s still learning right now, but I’m impressed with his play, being a sophomore.

“He’s been fantastic. He’s picking things up, and there are some growing pains, but that’s what you’d expect from a sophomore. He’s getting better and better.”

The Comets get Union Grove at 7 p.m. Friday at Union Grove High School next on its schedule. Union Grove hasn’t lost a game to this point and owns a 3-0 record, averaging more than 43 points per game.

St. Arnauld said the key to victory is stopping quarterback Matt Nelson. Nelson is the Southern Lake Conference’s first-team quarterback from a year ago. In Union Grove’s last game, against Westosha Central, Nelson threw for 187 yards and three scores through the air while rushing for 182 yards and scoring three times on the ground for the team’s 34-28 victory.

 

 
 

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