Wausau West Outlasts Oshkosh West for Thrilling OT Win

Wausau West Outlasts Oshkosh West for Thrilling OT Win
Posted on 08/27/2018
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Sunday, August 26, 2018

DELAYED GRATIFICATION

Wausau West outlasts Oshkosh West for thrilling OT win

Scott A. Williams
Stevens Point Journal
USA TODAY NETWORK - WISCONSIN

Good thing the Wausau West football team has some night owls in its midst.

West and Oshkosh West played into the early-morning hours after inclement weather and a power failure resulted in a 2-1 ⁄ 2 hour delay Friday night.

When their Valley Football Association intradivisional game concluded in the wee hours Saturday morning, the wait was worth it for the Warriors, who pulled out a thrilling 29-23 overtime win to remain unbeaten early in the season.

Vue Thao, a 5-foot-5 senior wideout/defensive back, came up big for Wausau West in overtime. He caught a 13-yard touchdown pass to open overtime. Thao then ended the game with an interception on Oshkosh West’s possession two plays later. His interception finally brought an end to the 5 1 ⁄ 2- hour odyssey which concluded at 12:30 a.m. and left the Warriors 2-0.

"It’s incredible. I wouldn’t wish (the delay) on any football coach or team," Wausau West coach Jason Foster said. "I thought both teams handled it both really well."

The zaniness began when a bank of lights went out on the far end of the field, and then moments later, the other set went out. Power was restored after a 15-minute break.

Both teams had been sent to the locker rooms and the stands were cleared as well with the threat of some inclement weather on the radar.

The game resumed shortly after 11 p.m.

The teams spent the break getting physically and mentally refreshed.

"We ate a lot of bananas," Warriors quarterback Mitch Zahurones said. "We sat around as a team and watched film (from the first half)."

Zahurones threw for 267 yards and four touchdowns. Brennan Goralski helped out with three receptions for 182 yards and touchdowns of 58 and 82 yards.

BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD

Over the past six seasons, Amherst coach Mark Lusic has been able to reload. The result has been five Division 5 state championship game appearances and four gold trophies under his tutelage.

If Friday’s 34-0 setback at the hands of state small school powerhouse St. Mary’s Springs is any indication, Lusic may have a rebuild on his hands.

"The most frustrating part is they outhit us," Lusic said. "Now they’re big, they’re strong and very physical, too. But we didn’t match their intensity. We’ve got to fix it."

Losing to the Ledgers is hardly the end of the world for Amherst.

Springs handed them their only losses in each of the past two seasons. The Falcons went on to run off 12 straight wins in both campaigns and brought home state titles.

But this year is a little different. Amherst lost 20 starters from last year’s state championship team.

There are no returning all-Central Wisconsin Conference-Large players. Heck. Not even an honorable mention player came back.

Coming into the showdown with the Ledgers, the hope for Lusic is to see his players make progress from week to week. The goal is to be a much better team in Week 7 than now.

"You’re never as good as you think, and you’re never as bad as you think," the Amherst coach said. "We’re somewhere in between. You’ve got to make the plays and we’re not making the plays right now.

"There were some plays to be made out there. In Week 2 of 2018 we aren’t ready to make those plays yet."

EMERGING FROM THE SHADOWS

Selecting a name out of a hat might have been the best way to pick a favorite in the wide open VFA-West when the season began.

After two weeks, Marshfield and Wausau West appear to have emerged as the leading title contenders.

The Warriors own wins over Appleton East and Oshkosh West. Meanwhile, Marshfield has taken care of business with victories against Oshkosh West and Appleton West.

Brant Bohman sparked the Tigers with a pair of touchdowns runs in a 35-6 win over the Terrors. He also returned a punt 75 yards for a score.

There is still a lot of football to be played, but people may want to mark their calendars for Oct. 12 when the Tigers and West meet in the regular-season finale.

See FOOTBALL, Page 4D

Wausau West wide receiver Brennan Goralski hauls in a pass on the way to a 58-yard touchdown during the first quarter against Oshkosh West on Friday night at Thom Field. The Warriors won 29-23 in overtime. T’XER ZHON KHA/ USA TODAY NETWORK-WISCONSIN

Football

Continued from Page 1D

MAKING A NAME FOR THEMSELVES

For the second straight week Pittsville quarterback Sam Hardinger and running back Joe Aquilera of Abbotsford turned in fantastic individual performances. Aquliera, who has rushed for 371 yards in two games, finished with 217 yards on the ground and three touchdowns in the Falcons’ 30-6 win over Gilman.

Hardinger, who rallied the Panthers to a double overtime win in the season opener, backed that up with an 11-for-15 effort through the air for 134 yards and two TDs in a 21-12 triumph over Rib Lake/Prentice.

Jackson Beggs had a breakout game for Almond-Bancroft with 119 yards on 22 carries and four touchdowns. Noah Kollock helped out with five receptions for 113 yards and a TD.