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Delavan-Darien grabs undisputed Lakes lead in a wild win

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Mike Johnson/Special to the Gazette
September 25, 2010
— There were enough twists, turns and unpredictable momentum shifts at Waterford High School on Friday night for a Russian novelist to start with a blank page and finish with several hundred full ones.

So you’ll just have to settle for the Cliff’s Notes, the most important one being that Delavan-Darien came up with a two-point conversion stop in overtime for a spellbinding 40-39 win over Waterford in a critical Southern Lakes Conference football game.


It left players either throwing helmets in exaltation or falling to the ground in despair, depending on which side of the drama you fell on.


“It was a great football game by both of us,” Delavan-Darien coach Steve Tenhagen said. “Unfortunately, somebody’s gotta lose, and somebody wins in these situations, and I’m just glad that we came out on the right end of it.”


The Comets remain perfect at 3-0 in the Southern Lakes and 5-0 overall, also as undisputed conference leaders, while the Wolverines—winners of three straight conference titles—dropped to 2-1 in the league and 3-2 for the season.


“For us to get a win tonight against a program like this, I think it kind of tells you what type of football team we are,” Tenhagen said.


Did it ever.


The teams traded blows for most of the night, with Delavan-Darien racing out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter before Waterford roared back to seize a 33-20 advantage after its first drive of the second half.


The Comets fought back, though, and seemed to be on the verge of winning in regulation after driving deep inside Waterford territory with the score tied 33-33 and about two minutes left.


But Delavan-Darien quarterback Austin Fritzinger, who ran for 117 yards and two touchdowns and threw for 128 yards and two more scores, had the ball ripped loose from him at the 5 at the end of a 6-yard run. The ball rolled into the end zone, where Waterford recovered for a touchback.


Delavan-Darien’s defense, which stiffened in the second half, forced overtime, where the Comets got the ball first and Fritzinger hit Jordan Hesebeck for a 13-yard touchdown. Justin Fowlkes’ extra point made it 40-33.


Things got crazier when the Wolverines took over as quarterback Zach Fisher (three passing TDs, one rushing TD) was wrestled to the ground by David Figueroa and suffered what appeared to be a significant leg injury.


That set up a third-and-goal from the 17 for the Wolverines, and back-up quarterback Grant Olson hit Keith Knurr for a 17-yard touchdown on his first pass of the game. Perhaps because he was without his top quarterback, Waterford coach R.J. Howard eschewed the extra point and went for the two-point conversion and the win.


“I wouldn’t second-guess that one bit,” Tenhagen said of Howard’s decision.


Waterford lined up in a full-house backfield and tried to pound it in with Greg Steffens, but Delavan-Darien ran a stunt, and the Comets’ line stacked up Steffens and drove him back outside the 1 to set off a raucous scene on the Comets’ sideline.


“I did,” Fritzinger said when asked if he even watched the final play. “Nervously, but I did.”


DELAVAN-DARIEN 40, WATERFORD 39 (OT)


Delavan-Darien 14 6 7 6 7—40


Waterford 0 25 8 0 6—39


Scoring summary: DD—Marcus McLin, 17 pass from Austin Fritzinger (Justin Fowlkes kick). D—McLin, 14 run (Fowlkes kick). W—J.J. Ahlers, 10 pass from Zach Fisher (kick failed). W—Fisher, 23 run (pass failed). DD—Fritzinger, 32 run (kick failed). W—Greg Steffens, 15 pass from Fisher (run failed). W—Keith Knurr, 34 pass from Fisher (Nick Wirsching kick). W—Steffens, 3 run (Steffens run). DD—Fritzinger, 1 run (Fowlkes kick). DD—Fowlkes 1 run (kick failed). DD—Jordan Hesebeck, 13 pass from Fritzinger (Fowlkes kick). W—Knurr, 17 pass from Grant Olson (run failed).


Statistics: First downs—DD 24, W 18. Rushing—DD 54-260, W 35-151. Yards passing—DD 128, W 235. Passes—DD 12-19-1, W 12-18-2. Fumbles—DD 2-2, W 2-0. Penalties—DD 4-30, W 5-62.







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