Menasha needed help to win a share of the division title and that assistance never arrived.
Instead, the Bluejays will have to be content being a hot football team carrying a blast of momentum into the postseason.
The multi-weaponed Bluejays closed the regular season with their fifth straight win Friday night, pounding out a 35-17 Valley Football Association-South Division victory over Neenah.
The Bluejays would have gained a slice of the VFA South title had Marshfield beaten Oshkosh North, but North posted a 24-13 victory and the Bluejays had to settle for second place in the division.
“We can’t control what other teams do — all we can control is what we can do and that’s win football games,” said Menasha coach Jeramie Korth. “I like that we have some momentum going into the playoffs and the guys are having fun. This is what it’s all about. I’m really happy these guys will get an opportunity to be in the playoffs after all the hard work they put into it during the offseason.”
The Bluejays (6-1, 7-2) will be making their fifth consecutive playoff appearance.
“We didn’t get the help we needed from Marshfield, but we’re hoping we can keep rolling through the playoffs and go further than we’ve ever gone before,” said Menasha senior running back Dylan Szews. “We have a ton of momentum and it’s going to help us.”
The hard-running Szews rushed 119 yards and a touchdown, while athletic junior quarterback Tyler Johnson threw for 160 yards and ran for another 78. Johnson also scored on a 16-yard run and tossed a 69-yard touchdown pass to wideout Emanuel Jenkins.
“There’s a lot of weapons on this team,” said Szews. “We have a lot of good skill players. Tyler Johnson is an amazing quarterback and our receivers, Dakotah Riemer and Emanuel Jenkins, they’re nuts, too.”
In winning their sixth straight game over Neenah (2-5, 4-5) in the 96th football game between the two schools, Menasha scored on three of its first four possessions to build a 21-10 halftime lead.
Neenah stunned the Bluejays early, opening the scoring on Rob Schmidt’s 28-yard field goal after a 32-yard return of a fumble by linebacker Dan Boiten.
Menasha answered with a 72-yard touchdown drive, culminated by a 38-yard touchdown dash by Szews on a fourth-and-one play.
The Bluejays followed with touchdown drives of 66 and 60 yards to open a 21-3 lead before Neenah’s C.J. VanDyke broke loose on a slant pattern for a 69-yard scoring reception late in the half to keep the Rockets in the ballgame.
“Neenah has some tough kids,” said Korth. “They have some kids who are going to play college ball. Their staff is going to get that thing going. They’re headed in the right direction.”
Menasha, which piled up 242 rushing yards and 428 total yards, scored on its first two drives of the third quarter to open a commanding 35-10 lead and coasted in.
“Neenah is a tough team,” said Szews. “Their program has really improved since a couple years ago.”
The Bluejays’ aggressive defense limited the Rockets to just 25 yards rushing and had a handful of sacks.
N – Rob Schmidt 28 field goal
M – Dylan Szews 38 run (Chris Munoz kick)
M – Tyler Johnson 16 run (Munoz kick)
M – Jadin Sell 10 run (Munoz kick)
N – C.J. VanDyke 69 pass from Jake Resch (Schmidt kick)
M – Nick Siegel 3 run (Munoz kick)
M – Emanuel Jenkins 66 pass from Tyler Johnson (Munoz kick)
N – Resch 1 run (Schmidt kick)
|Total net yards||428||200|
Rushing — Menasha, Dylan Szews 17-119; Tyler Johnson 12-78. Neenah, Nathan Vandermause 11-10.
Passing — Menasha, Johnson 9-14-160-0; Cory Kuepper 2-8-26-1.
Receiving — Menasha, Dakotah Riemer 6-63; Emanuel Jenkins 3-92.