The Wausau East football team came into Friday needing a rebound game after suffering back-to-back blowout losses to the undefeated duo of Kimberly and Appleton North the past two weeks.
The Lumberjacks got that with a 39-0 rout of Kaukauna at Thom Field and improved to .500 overall on the year.
East travels to Appleton West next friday.
The Lumberjacks scored on five of their eight first-half possessions — including three touchdown runs by junior fullback Tony Marquardt — as East led 32-0 at the break.
“This was big for our guys,” East coach Steve Jung said. “I think those two games against Kimberly and Appleton North challenged our manhood. We questioned whether we were good football players. We questioned whether we were good football coaches. Those two games were hard on us.
“We went back to work and picked up the tempo in practice. We put the pressure on the kids saying, ‘We need to do come out play fast and play hard.'”
East had been outscored by a combined 100-6 the past two weeks, but the Lumberjacks’ defense held Kaukauna to 150 yards and forced three turnovers. Senior linebacker Cody Krentz had six solo tackles — including two for losses — and also picked up a fumble near midfield after a well-timed safety blitz by Adam Urmanski, and returned it to the Galloping Ghost 34 to set up an East score in the second quarter.
East sophomore Brennen Becker added five solo tackles as the Lumberjacks held Kaukauna to 44 rushing yards.
“We just were around the ball and were making plays. It was a team effort,” Krentz said. “This was a huge game for us and we just have to keep it rolling now.”
Added Jung: “We had a great plan in place and our kids bought into it. Our whole plan was to disrupt (Kaukauna’s) interior as best we could with speed and it paid off. Cody Krentz had a great night, he was everywhere.”
The Lumberjacks outgained the Galloping Ghosts 195-61 in the first half, and East marched 69 yards on its opening drive in five plays.
Marquardt capped the drive with a 25-yard run, and added a pair of 3-yard scoring runs in the half as the Lumberjacks rushed for 113 yards in the first half.
Urmanksi finished with a team-high 93 yards rushing and had a touchdown run in the fourth quarter for the Lumberjacks final score. Senior wideout Logan Taylor had 91 yards on four receptions, including a 39-yard grab in the fourth quarter.
“It was big, we knew from the start that we could score on them,” said East senior quarterback Cole Nelson, who had an 11-yard touchdown run and connected with Urmanski for a 20-yard scoring play in the first quarter.
“When we run the ball well, it sets up the pass. We were able to do that.”
WE-Tony Marquardt 25 run (Bryce Widmark kick)
WE-Adam Urmanski 20 pass from Cole Nelson (kick fail)
WE-Marquardt 3 run (kick fail)
WE-Marquardt 3 run (kick fail)
WE-Nelson 11 run (pass fail)
WE-Urmanski 2 run (Widmark kick)
RUSHING: Kaukauna – Nick Agen 3-14. Wausau East – Adam Urmanski 9-93, Tony Marquardt 11-69,
RECEIVING: Kaukauna – Jacob Schmidt 2-24, Kevin Verbeten 1-30; Wausau East – Logan Taylor 4-91
PASSING: Kaukauna- David Evers 5-9-0-86; Wausau East – Cole Nelson 5-10-1-82.
Records: Wausau East 2-2, 1-2 Valley Football Association North Divison; Kaukauna 0-4, 0-3 VFA North