AMHERST – In a battle of top 10 undefeated state-ranked teams, the Amherst Falcons made the necessary halftime adjustments to score three third-quarter touchdowns and survived with a 26-19 win over Wittenberg-Birnamwood on Friday night at Amherst High School.
Amherst, ranked No. 2 in this week’s Wissports.net Division 5 State Coaches Poll, remains unbeaten at 4-0 overall and 2-0 in the Central Wisconsin Conference, while Wittenberg-Birnamwood, ranked ninth in Division 6, suffered its first loss of the season and is now 3-1 overall and 1-1 in conference play.
Wittenberg-Birnamwood dominated much of the first half, racing out to a 13-0 lead in the first quarter. Jack Fraaza returned the opening kickoff 87 yards for a score and quarterback Braeden Groshek ran in from the 3 with 46 seconds to go in the quarter to give the Chargers the early advantage.
Amherst finally cracked the Witt-Birn defense just before halftime as quarterback Landon Moe threw a 28-yard touchdown pass to Jake Derezinski with 26 seconds to go and the Falcons cut their deficit to 13-6 going into intermission.
The Falcons came out firing on offense in the third, scoring on three-straight possessions. Running back Matthew Glodowski, who finished with 99 yards on the ground, had touchdown runs of 11 and 1 yards to give Amherst its first lead.
Moe later connected with Derezinski again on a 14-yard TD pass to push Amherst’s lead to 26-13.
Groshek added a 4-yard touchdown run for the Chargers with 3:48 to go to make it a one-possession game, but Amherst was able to finish off the win.
Groshek finished with 135 yards rushing and 92 passing, although he was just 5-for-22 through the air and threw two interceptions.
Moe added 52 yards rushing and 97 yards passing for Amherst, connecting with Derezinski eight times for 67 yards. Derezinski also had an interception and a fumble recovery on defense, and Glodowski picked off a pair of Witt-Birn passes in the victory.
Amherst travels to Spencer/Columbus and Wittenberg-Birnawmood will be at home against Manawa in Central Wisconsin Conference Large Division contests next Friday, Sept. 17. Amherst's game will be live at zaleskisports.com.
Falcons 26, Chargers 19
Wittenberg-Birnamwood 13 0 0 6 - 19
Amherst 0 6 20 0 - 26
WB – Jack Fraaza 87 kick return (John Stewart kick), 11:47.
WB – Braeden Groshek 3 run (kick missed), 0:46.
A – Jake Derezinski 28 pass from Landon Moe (pass failed), 0:26.
A – Matthew Glodowski 11 run (42 kick), 10:05.
A – Glodowski 1 run (42 kick), 6:11.
A – Derezinski 14 pass from Moe (kick blocked), 2:58.
WB – Groshek 4 run (pass failed), 3:48.
First downs: Wittenberg-Birnamwood 10; Amherst
Rushing (att-yards): WB 26-142; A 41-151.
Passing (comp-att-yards-int): WB 5-23-92-3; A 12-19-97-2.
Total yards: WB 234; A 248.
Penalties (no.-yards): WB 6-55; A 5-50.
Rushing: WB, Braeden Groshek 17-135, Jack Fraaza 4-12, Marshall Fraaza 2-minus 1, Kaden Schmidt 3-minus 4. A, Matthew Glodowski 27-99, Landon Moe 14-52.
Passing: WB, Groshek 5-22-92-2, Schmidt 0-1-0-1. A, Moe 12-18-97-1, Glodowski 0-1-0-1.
Receiving: WB, Carter Herb 1-49, Ben Flak 1-23, Luke Muscha 1-12, Schmidt 1-7, J. Fraaza 1-1. A, Jake Derezinski 8-67, Ian Hall 3-27, Glodowski 1-3.
Interceptions (defense): A, Glodowski 2, Derezinski.
Fumble recoveries (defense): A, Derezinski.
Records: Wittenberg-Birnamwood 3-1, 1-1 Central Wisconsin Conference Large Division; Amherst 4-0, 2-0 CWC Large.