Jacob Benzing hands off to running back Ryan Gengler during last Friday's 41-6 home loss to Waterford. Delavan was held to 96 total yards.

Jacob Benzing hands off to running back Ryan Gengler during last Friday’s 41-6 home loss to Waterford. Delavan was held to 96 total yards. (Rick Benavides photo)

D-DHS coach calls Wolverines ‘best team’ in conference ‘hands down’

By Kevin Cunningham

Correspondent

After a 5-2 start overall and a 4-1 start in Southern Lakes Conference play, the Delavan-Darien High School football team wrapped up a playoff spot. In order to make the postseason, a team that goes above .500 in conference play is automatically in.

Thanks to the four early wins, the worst the Comets could do is go 4-3 in SLC play heading into last week. On Oct. 7, the team played its final regular season game at home against Waterford with a road game coming this week.

For the Comets, the game remained close after just one quarter, trailing Waterford 7-6. After the opening quarter, however, Waterford pulled away. In the second and third quarters alone, the Wolverines outscored the Comets, 35-0.

Waterford would go on to win the game, 41-6. The 35-point deficit is the largest for the Comets since last season’s Waterford game, where the Wolverines won 55-0. Comets head coach Bret St. Arnauld mentioned Waterford in the past as being one of those teams this year that he thought could be the team’s toughest, and afterward, was reassured of how good the 7-1 Wolverines are.

“Their line is huge,” St. Arnauld said. “They’re just good. They’ve been steamrolling everybody, and I can see why now. I thought we had a good chance and schematically we were right there, but we just couldn’t make the tackle.

“Those are things we can fix and work on. On offense we got a couple first downs on the first drive but we just couldn’t get the ball rolling on that side of the ball either. That’s a credit to Waterford’s defense and Adam (Bakken) over there.

“It’s a good game for us to have played. It prepares us for the playoffs. I don’t think we’ll run into a team that’s quite as physical as Waterford is. Our kids were probably outsized by their lineman by 60, 70, 80 pounds at times and they would work their double teams well. You can do everything under the sun but a kid’s chances aren’t going to be very good, but at the end of the day, if we just made the tackles, it would have been a completely different ball game.”

St. Arnauld said people who attended the game could tell how many third and fourth downs Waterford converted to extend drives. The Comets were close and in the right position at times, but couldn’t close the deal and get their offense the ball.

The Wolverines ran it 57 times against the Comets for 243 yards, acquiring just more than four yards per carry. For Delavan-Darien, Ross Gengler totaled 22 yards on seven carries. Through the air, Jake Benzing completed nine of 23 passes for 56 yards and threw three interceptions.

“I think that they’re the best team in the Southern Lakes Conference, hands down,” St. Arnauld said. “I knew it was going to be a battle, but I didn’t know we would get as much of the short end of the stick as we did.”

The lone touchdown for the Comets came off a kickoff return by Ethan Cesarz, bringing the game to 7-6 in the opening quarter. The six points scored matched a season low, dating back to the season-opening loss to Lodi, 10-6.

With the loss, Delavan-Darien is out of contention for a share of the SLC title, as Badger possesses a 6-0 record in SLC play, while the Comets are now 4-2. Both Waterford and Wilmot Union have 5-1 records.

The next contest for the Comets will be its final of the regular season against Wilmot Union at 7 p.m. Friday at Wilmot Union High School. Last year’s matchup was a “probably the game of the century,” St. Arnauld said.

At one point early in the fourth quarter, the Comets trailed 34-6. Then, Delavan-Darien scored 34 unanswered points to take a 40-34 lead. Wilmot Union then scored a touchdown at the end of the game, but missed the extra point. The game went into double overtime where the Comets eventually scored and won the game, 47-40.

That game clinched a playoff spot for the team. This time around, the playoffs are a lock, but it’s all about seeding.

“If we win next week, it’ll help us with seeding,” St. Arnauld said. “It would be really big to get a win on Friday. I like our matchup. They run a spread version of Badger, and they have a good quarterback and are coached well. Wilmot’s consistently one of the best in conference as well. It’ll be interesting.”

 

 
 

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