There was no way the Wausau West football team was going to let its 2012 meeting with Appleton West be a repeat of 2011.
It was a year ago when the Warriors saw a 24-point halftime lead slip away in a loss, but Friday Wausau West took advantage of a solid running game and a penalty-prone host in a 42-16 Valley Football Association North Division victory.
The win improves West to 1-0 in VFA play and 1-1 overall. Appleton West is 0-1 and 0-2. Last season, Appleton West scored 27 straight second-half points while holding West scoreless to leave the Warriors stunned at Thom Field.
Cole Radloff scored a pair of touchdowns on the ground in the first half sandwiched around a score by Jake Whalen. Radloff scored on runs of eight and four yards, respectively, while Whalen scored on an 11-yard run.
Wausau West’s final score came on a 21-yard pass from Jordan Huehnerfuss to Kyle Nickel.
Early in the second half, it appeared Appleton West might make a run at the Warriors when the Terrors took the kickoff and drove down the field, but Drew Pearson picked off a pass in the end zone to end the threat. The interception was Pearson’s second of the season as he returned an interception 67 yards for a touchdown against SPASH.
Wausau West featured a balanced attack offensively as four different players scored rushing touchdowns including Radloff, Whalen, Decker and Huehnerfuss. Huehnerfuss had the TD pass to Nickel and the pair also hooked up on a two-point conversion. Much of the credit for West’s success on the ground goes to the offensive line, which dominated in the trenches from the opening kickoff.
The Warriors played a solid game defensively, too, but helping were Appleton West’s penalties.
The margin of victory was Wausau West’s largest since a 49-7 victory over Wausau East in the 2010 Log Game.
The game might also represent a change of fortunes for the Warriors, who struggled to put together a solid four quarters of play last season. Since a tough first half in the opener vs. SPASH, Wausau West has now played six straight quarters of solid ball.
Appleton West scored a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns on TD passes by Matt Reader. Reader hit Peter Ketter with a 28-yard scoring strike and then hit Austin Berlick in the final seconds for the final score.
After two road games to open the season, Wausau West opens its home season next week with a 7 p.m. game at Thom Field against Appleton East.
WW-Cole Radloff 8 run (Drew Pearson kick)
WW-Jake Whalen 11 run (kick failed)
WW-Cole Radloff 4 run (Kyle Nickel pass from Jordan Huehnerfuss)
WW-Nickel 21 pass from Huehnerfuss (Pearson kick)
AW-Safety, Dalton Decker tackled in end zone
WW-Decker 27 run (Pearson kick)
WW-Huehnerfuss 1 run (Pearson kick)
AW-Peter Ketter 28 pass from Matt Reader (kick good)
AW-Austin Berlick 22 pass from Reader (kick good)
Records: Wausau West 1-0 VFCN, 1-1 overall; Appleton West 0-1 VFCN, 0-2.