WINNECONNE – The China Bull trophy is staying in Omro, or like people on Twitter will say “#thebullstayshome.”
The Omro football team used a great effort defensively as it was able to hold off Winneconne, 14-6, in the China Bull game played in Winneconne Friday night.
“I’m happy to keep the bull home,” Omro coach Dave Welhoefer said. “It was a typical Omro, Winneconne China Bull game. It was close and there were plays made on both sides.”
It wasn’t the prettiest – playing in rain throughout the entire game – as both teams turned the ball over multiple times and it was hard to get anything going offensively because it was wet.
So the team that took advantage of turnovers and played better defense was going to be the team to claim the trophy. And that was Omro.
Accumulating only 58 yards of total offense in the first half, as it trailed 6-0 at the half, Omro took advantage of two early second half turnovers, turning them into quick points.
Winneconne fumbled on the second play of the second half and then the Foxes drove the ball 44 yards to take a 7-6 lead, thanks to a Chris Hess 10-yard scamper. Then on the ensuing kickoff, the Wolves coughed it up again, giving it right back to the Foxes.
Omro would score four plays later on a Drew Johnson 10-yard run.
“It’s pound the rock, that’s what that is,” Omro quarterback Spencer Potratz said. “We broke them, that first half all we did was pound it, pound it and pound it. The second half it opened up. I saw them getting tired so that’s all we had to do.”
The story of the game, however, was Winneconne’s struggles on fourth-and-short plays. But give credit to Omro for stopping them.
The Foxes stuffed the Wolves on fourth down four times in the second half, not allowing the Wolves to keep driving. It was huge because Omro turned the ball over twice in the second half itself.
“We controlled the line of scrimmage for the majority of the game and we shot ourselves in the foot with the turnovers and we didn’t make it easy,” Welhoefer said. “But our defense held. Our kids battled.”
Omro (1-1) held Winneconne (1-1) to just 191 yards of total offense and two of Winneconne’s three fumbles came in that second half.
“That’s why they call us the doomsday defense,” Omro’s Justin Kasuboski said. “We just kept plowing. That’s all we had to do. We got down 6-0 and we didn’t lose our heads and just had 48 minutes of football so we kept playing.”
That was the biggest thing for Omro – competing for 48 minutes, unlike last week when it was blown out at Amherst.
“The difference between this week and last week at Amherst was we came out and competed for 48 minutes,” Welhoefer said. “There we made a lot of mistakes and we worked on those in practice this week and the kids buckled down, we have a great group of seniors and leaders and they just willed this one to the win.”
Winneconne first got on the board at the 5:49 mark of the second quarter when Tyler Swanlund turned an Omro fumble into six points after a 3-yard TD run. Omro had four fumbles lost.
The Wolves had more chances to score, but couldn’t convert in the redzone or on fourth down. Two possessions before their first score in the second quarter, Winneconne had a 2nd-and-1 on the 1-yard line, but a penalty backed them up and it couldn’t convert on a 4th-and-4 from the four.
Another blown opportunity came late in the game, when the Wolves trailed 14-6 with 4 minutes left. Running back Mitchell Markert had a nice 53-yard run to bring them down to the 36, but Winneconne threw two straight incompletions on third and fourth down to turn the ball over.
Omro then fumbled on its own 28-yard line with just a few minutes left, but Winneconne was unable to convert once again.
Chris Hess led Omro with 59 yards on 13 carries and also had an interception on defense. Erik Schwandt added 34 yards while Potratz had 30. For Winneconne, Markert had 95 yards on 13 carries.
Winneconne still leads the all-time China Bull series — which dates back to 1948 — with 36 wins compared to Omro’s 28 wins.
Omro…0 0 14 0 — 14
Winneconne…0 6 0 0 — 6
Winneconne — Tyler Swanlund 3 run (kick failed), 5:49.
Omro — Chris Hess 10 run (Max Potratz kick), 9:57.
Omro— Drew Johnson, 10 run (Potratz kick), 7:46.
First downs…9 6
Total yards…222 191
Passes (C-A-I)…4-11-0 6-17-1
Passing yards…66 46
Rushing: Omro— Chris Hess 13-59, Erik Schwandt 5-34, Potratz 12-30. Winneconne— Swanlund 16-35, Mitchell Markert 13-95.
Passing: Omro— Spencer Potratz 4-11-66. Winneconne— Tyler Swanlund 6-17-46.
Receiving: Omro— C. Hess 1-21, Drew Johnson 2-34. Winneconne— Zach Henderson 3-38, Wright 1-16.
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