The Hilight Zone Week 6: SPASH wrangles huge Valley win, Mosinee continues to roll

Published: Sep. 22, 2023 at 11:04 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - The high school football season rolled on to week six Friday, featuring conference clashes with major implications for conference titles in just a matter of weeks.

Starting in the Great Northern Conference, two one-loss teams met as Mosinee hosted Rhinelander. Mosinee left no doubt in this one. Riding another stellar performance from Keagan Jirschele that included a punt return for a touchdown, Mosinee blanked the Hodags 42-0 to pick up their fifth win in a row. Elsewhere in the Great Northern, Medford proved their newly-minted number ten ranking in D3 by thrashing Hayward 36-7.

In our game of the week, Wausau West put their perfect record to the test, welcoming in conference rival SPASH up from Stevens Point. The Panthers took the challenge and were up to it. A low-scoring start to the game was eventually broken up by Grant Chandonais and the Panthers’ offense. Chandonais would open the scoring with a rushing touchdown before later finding Ethan Ehlinger on a screen to make it 14-0. After a Jaden Durr touchdown run for the Warriors, Braylon Smola would snatch back all the momentum for the road side. A touchdown of fourth and three would quiet Thom Field as the Panthers went on to win 27-7. After the game, their head coach spoke about the importance of the win.

“Wausau West is a heck of a team, I think we hurt ourselves a lot in that first half,” said SPASH head coach Ryan Eisenberger. “We had way too many penalties tonight, we gotta play a little more disciplined in the season to close this thing out. But we’re really proud of the way we battled tonight.”

The Panther remain perfect in the Valley with the win and improve to 5-1 overall, clinching a playoff berth. Chandonais said it was just business as usual, winning their fifth straight.

“Going game plan all week was strong, going in feeling like we could beat them,” said Chandonais. “It’s tough that they had their star player go down, never want to see that. But we pulled through, kept it going, proud of the guys. Now we got another week, Wausau East.”

Wausau West running back Ray Reineck left the game with an injury. The Warriors fall to 5-1 and will face Appleton West next week.

In other Valley action, D.C. Everest looked to get back on track with a road game at Wisconsin Rapids. A back-and-forth contest came down to the final possession. With the game tied at 14, Evergreens’ quarterback Logan George found Blake Bangston just in front of the end zone before Bangston ran it in to take the lead with less than 20 seconds to go in the game. Everest would win by a final score of 21-14.

The Marawood was busy Friday, beginning with two teams that lost last week as Colby traveled to Pittsville. The Hornets came out stinging after their loss to Edgar. Gavin Voss toted the rock a healthy amount for the Hornets as Colby roared to a 43-16 win. In Marathon, the Red Raiders rolled out the red carpet for seventh-ranked Auburndale. A high-scoring affair, the Eagles were able to eventually put Marathon to bed winning 44-29. As for Edgar, the Wildcats were searching for their fourth-straight shutout win. They’d get as they topped Abbotsford 43-0, to improve to 5-1.

A top-ten showdown took center stage in eight-man, as seventh-ranked Owen-Withee traveled to top-ranked Gilman. The Pirates’ defense was stingy all night, despite an early touchdown from Owen-Wtihee’s Tim Stock. Gilman stayed perfect with a 28-6 win.

In the CWC-Large, Amherst aimed to get back to .500, facing Spencer/Columbus on the road. The Falcons got to business quickly, thanks to two first-quarter touchdown runs from Nasiah Holland. Amherst would roll to a 49-14. Speaking of roll, Wittenberg-Birnamwood kept their perfect record intact, thumping Manawa 50-7. Nathan Waupekenay threw the ball all over the yard for the Chargers as the fourth-ranked team in D5 improved to 6-0.

Finally, in a terrific Cloverbelt showdown, Neillsville/Granton took their number ten ranking up against Stanley-Boyd in Neillsville. The Orioles had a surprise for the home team. Carter Isenberger threw two first-half touchdowns as Stanley-Boyd won big on the road 33-14.