By Dan Truttschel

Sports Correspondent

The Wilmot football team entered Friday night’s Southern Lakes Conference finale focused on defeating a solid Delavan-Darien squad.

And that’s just what the Panthers did – but they also received an unexpected surprise at the same time.

Wilmot (8-1 overall) defeated the Comets 41-20 and then earned a piece of the SLC title when Waterford beat Badger 7-0 in double overtime. All three teams closed the year at 6-1 in conference play.

Having the chance to put a banner on the gymnasium wall only added to a solid 2011 season that now heads to WIAA tournament play, Wilmot coach Mike Greinke said.

“It definitely was unexpected,” he said. “Obviously, we had our chance against Badger, and when things go out of your hands, you don’t really think about (winning the title). You think about what you can do.

“Our main mission and focus was to go out and beat Delavan-Darien. We did that, and it just happened to be a nice little bonus at the end of the game there. A three-way tie for conference, we’ll take it.”

Both teams exchanged touchdowns to open the game. Wilmot’s Chris Nelson scored on a 1-yard run, followed by his quarterback counterpart, Danny Supernaw’s 5-yard run that tied the score.

From there, the Panthers took control.

Matt Christensen, who enters the postseason with 1,121 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns, scored his first of four on the night on a 47-yard pass from Nelson to give the Panthers the lead for good.

Delavan came out ready to play, and it took the Panthers a bit to get into a rhythm, Greinke said.

Nelson and Christensen hooked up again on a 56-yard pass in the second quarter, followed by a key last-second 23-yard scoring play from Nelson to Ryan Gartner.

That touchdown, which came with five seconds left in the first half, gave Wilmot a little extra momentum as it headed to the locker room, Greinke said.

“That was a good feeling,” he said. “Our defense worked hard to get the ball back over to the offense. That took a little pressure off going into halftime.”

Delavan scored a pair of second-half touchdowns before Christensen hauled in his fourth of the night on a 24-yard pass from Nelson in the fourth quarter.

For the game, the Panthers had 21 first downs, 266 yards rushing on 39 attempts and 246 yards passing. Delavan finished with 17 first downs, 131 yards rushing and 168 yards passing.

Bennett Kothe, who suffered a sprained ankle during the game, had 141 yards rushing on 12 carries to lead Wilmot. Nelson finished with 71 yards on 14 carries, while Zach Dodge had 40 yards on seven carries.

Christensen had eight receptions for 156 yards, followed by Gartner with eight catches for 74 yards.

Wilmot and the rest of the playoff qualifiers in all seven divisions entered Monday still waiting to learn their first-round opponents for this week’s WIAA playoffs because of pending litigation regarding Shorewood/Messmer’s squad.

Pairings could be delayed as late as Wednesday. Please check www.mykenoshacounty.com.

 
 

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