Roehl, Popp lead Bluejays over Phantoms
By Murray Gleffe
DE PERE — Cole Popp passed for 142 yards and two touchdowns, and Tyler Roehl rushed for 182 yards and one touchdown as Menasha upset West De Pere, 24-14, in a WIAA Division 3, Level 3 playoff game Nov. 8.
“Give Menasha credit,” said Jack Batten, West De Pere head coach. “They have a shifty running back and brought balance to the game. The normal things that worked for us this season didn’t go right tonight.”
The lethal combination of Josh Blount and David Vanderlogt were held to 64 yards on 18 carries for West De Pere.
The Bluejays outgained the Phantoms in total yardage, 351-158.
West De Pere came into the game averaging more than 50 points a game but was stymied early by the Bluejays’ defense.
Consecutive three-and-out series by the Phantoms were signs the offense wasn’t going to run up and down the field like in the previous meeting, a 56-42 West De Pere win in the regular season.
On Menasha’s second series, the Bluejays started at their own 13 and needed four plays to take a 7-0 lead after Roehl came out of the backfield to haul in a 33-yard touchdown reception.
On the drive, Roehl accounted for all 87 yards.
After a third consecutive punt by the Phantoms, Menasha went 14 plays and 69 yards to go up 14-0 with 8:44 left until halftime after Roehl galloped in from three yards out.
Midway through the second quarter, West De Pere had run only nine offensive plays with no first downs.
On the Phantoms’ next possession, quarterback Josh Blount scored from 26 yards out after he went down the left sidelines and into the end zone to cut the lead to 14-7 going into halftime.
With one team advancing on, it was the Bluejays who took control of the game in the third quarter.
Facing a fourth and eight on the Phantoms’ 34-yard line, Menasha elected to go for it, and it paid off after Roehl took a screen pass from Popp and went 16 yards for a first down.
Three plays later, Luke Mauer made a diving 20-yard touchdown reception into the snowbank to give the visitors a 21-7 lead.
“We threw everything we had in our arsenal at them defensively,” added Batten. “They are a good football team, have huge offensive lineman that open up gaps for their skill positions and they made the right plays at the right time.”
The Bluejays added a field goal to go up 24-7 with 10:24 left.
West De Pere added a late touchdown by Blount to cut the margin to 10, but the ensuing onside kick fell into the waning hands of Roehl, and the Bluejays were able to run the clock out and advance to Level 4 next week versus Menominee.
“This group has done everything the right way,” Batten said. “They put their time in. They’ve been easy to coach – a great bunch of seniors.”
Menasha: 7, 7, 7, 3 — 24
West De Pere: 0, 7, 0, 7 — 14