Every day, as the Omro players walked to or near the school’s weight room, they had the chance to see the China Bull.
And to a player, the sight of the coveted trophy probably produced a similar thought.
“(I thought) just keeping it in that case would be so nice,” sophomore quarterback Spencer Potratz said. “It’s amazing. You never know if you are going to get to play another China Bull, so I just wanted to play it like it was my last.”
The China Bull game between Omro and Winneconne resumed Friday night in Omro after a one-year hiatus because of the shrunken schedules in WIAA football.
The Foxes had held the trophy since 2011 when they posted a 14-8 win over the Wolves to wrestle the award back from Winneconne.
Prior to that, the Wolves had won three straight games and still lead the overall series 36-28-1.
“It was awesome to play the game again,” said senior lineman Devin Wilson, who played in the 2011 game when Omro won the trophy back. “It feels great. Like Coach (Dave Wellhoefer) said, it makes or breaks your season.”
Potratz was playing in his first China Bull game and said it definitely had a different feel than last week’s season-opener.
“The intensity was really high,” Potratz said. “Both teams were really fired up.”
Potratz spearheaded Omro’s high-power option game, which racked up 263 yards on the ground and averaged more than six yards per carry.
Pretty impressive stuff considering that he, along with halfbacks Chris Hess and Matt Hess, are all just sophomores.
“They’re really good,” Wilson said. “They’re surprising how good they are already.
Chris Hess led the Foxes on Friday night with 160 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries and has nearly 350 yards in his first two varsity games.
Potratz also ran for a score in the win and said the chemistry between the trio helps make up for any lack of experience.
“We’ve been playing with each other since sixth grade and we’ve been gelling with the team,” Potratz said. “I think it’s going to happen more sooner than later for Matt, too. We just haven’t been able to get him any good runs.”
It doesn’t hurt either that the group is running behind a veteran and sizeable offensive line.
“Our offensive line got a good push every time so I could get good reads,” Potratz said. “That really helps.”
With the China Bull remaining in Omro now for at least a year or so, the Foxes turn their attention to the Flyway Conference slate, starting Friday at home against two-time defending state champion St. Mary’s Springs.
“This win helps a lot,” Wilson said. “This week in practice we’ll pick up the intensity now going into Springs.”
Plenty of points
Coming of its 63-point eruption on Friday night, Oshkosh North ranks among the highest scoring teams in the state through the first two games.
The Spartans have totaled 111 points in their first two games — Friday’s 63-8 win over Appleton West and the Week 1 48-7 victory over Appleton East — which ranks them third in the state behind Glenwood City (121) and Shiocton (112).
There are a total of 13 teams that have topped the 100-point plateau so far this season, including VFA North member Kimberly, which has scored 100.
In addition, the 63 points are tied with Edgar and Westfield as the sixth-highest one-game total so far this year behind Glenwood City (72), Delavan-Darien (70), Laconia (69), Muskego (68) and Living Word Lutheran (66).
Oshkosh West made a statement Friday night that it appears primed to make a run at returning to the WIAA Playoffs.
Although in the end, West bowed out to Appleton North, 27-16, it wasn’t until the final minute that the Lightning — VFA North champions last season and the fifth-ranked team in the first WIAA poll of the year — were able to secure the win.
The reason the Wildcats were able to hang with the Lightning is because of their defense.
In its opener against Fond du Lac, Appleton North gained 397 yards on the ground and scored 37 points en route to the win.
West held the Lightning to just 95 yards and a miniscule 2.8 yards per carry. Ethan Danz, who gained 221 yards against Fondy, was limited to just 59 yards on 17 carries.
No better start
Berlin is off to a 2-0 start on the season following the Indians’ 18-6 win over Ripon on Friday.
It’s the first time a Berlin football team has opened a season with back-to-back wins since 2004. That year, the Indians started 3-0 that year and finished 7-2 to make the WIAA playoffs.
They lost to West De Pere, 7-0, in the Level 1 game.