Panthers find way to win against Delavan-Darien

Leo Falletti runs towards the end zone for a Wilmot Union High School touchdown in an Oct. 17 Southern Lakes Conference meeting with visiting Delavan-Darien (Jason Arndt/The Report).

By Michael S. Hoey

The Wilmot Union High School football team overcame rust, mistakes, and turnovers to defeat Delavan-Darien 30-19 on Oct. 17.

The game was moved to 9:30 am on a Saturday morning because they had just played their first game of the season the previous Tuesday due to COVID-19 issues.

Coach Keiya Square acknowledged his team was still shaking off rust early in the game.

“We came on Tuesday (against Westosha Central) and played with a lot of heart and adrenaline,” said Square, whose team lost 37-31 to the Falcons.

“A lot of that was we were playing Central in our first game, then we had to come back three days later and play another game.”

The Panthers, meanwhile, were in danger of starting their season 0-2 after trailing 19-9 entering the fourth quarter.

But in the second half, Wilmot cleaned up some its mistakes, and scored 21 unanswered points to come away with the Southern Lakes Conference victory.

Square said he was proud of the way his team was able to overcome mistakes and turnovers in a first half.

Additionally, he credited the defense, which held the Comets to 12 first half points and carried 12-6 deficit into halftime.

“We played the whole first half on our side of the field and they had the ball inside the 20-yard line so many times and to only give up 12 points and be down six was extremely fortunate,” Square said.

Square said the defense was the reason. They tackled well, did not give up very many big plays, and were able to contain Delavan-Darien’s tight end, Erik Cesarz and produced five takeaways.

While the defense kept Wilmot in the contest, it wasn’t until the second quarter, where the Panthers received a boost from senior Leo Falletti.

Falletti, who scored a touchdown in the second quarter, finished with a team-leading 190 yards on 31 attempts.

The Comets, who recovered a botched Wilmot punt at the Panthers’ 1-yard line, punched in a score from Logan Mortlock to pull the contest 6-0 in favor of Delavan-Darien with 40 seconds left in the first quarter.

In the second quarter, Delavan-Darien took a 12-0 lead on Josh Mick 62-yard run before the Panthers responded on the next possession.

The Panthers, who had possession on the Comet 49-yard line, completed the scoring drive with an 8-yard run from Falletti to cut the Delavan-Darien advantage to 12-6.

Wilmot chipped away at the deficit in the second half with a Blake Weaver 28-yard field goal to pull the contest within three points at 12-9.

The Comets, however, needed one play on their possession to take a 19-9 lead on a 67-yard Mick touchdown run.

Mick, who finished with 149 yards rushing on nine attempts, was limited the rest of the game against the Wilmot defense.

The Panthers defense, meanwhile, forced a Comet punt from their end zone, and a bad snap caused a fumble, which Aaron Denko recovered for touchdown to cut the Delavan-Darien led to 19-16.

Weaver, also a punter, pinned the Comets (0-4) at their own 1-yard line with help from Hunter Warrenburg, who got down to keep the ball from rolling into the endzone.

The Comets fumbled the snap on the first play and Wilmot defender Brady Beagle recovered in the endzone to give the Panthers their first lead at 23-19 with 8:29 left in regulation.

Transfer quarterback Mike Bojesen later ran it in from seven yards out to cap the scoring.

Square inserted Bojeson for some time at quarterback in the third and fourth quarters to give his team a spark. He said Bojeson transferred in and just gained his eligibility.

“We’ve been getting him acclimated to the playbook,” Square said. “He is an athletic kid that throws the ball well.”
Wilmot (1-1) will travel to Lake Geneva Badger (1-2) on Friday. The Badgers’ game against Waterford was cancelled last week.