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Youthful Seymour falls to Waupaca

By Rich Palzewic
SEYMOUR – On a night the Seymour football team honored its seniors, coach Jason Bins said he’s excited about the future.
“We’re an extremely young team — we start three freshmen and eight sophomores,” he said. “The seniors have laid the groundwork for the future with their hard work and dedication — we grew as a program tonight.”
That Thunder youth came alive in spurts despite a 36-23 Bay Conference loss to Waupaca on Friday night at Seymour High School.
“We’ve got lots of growing to do, but we put some points on the board tonight and got some stops against a team that should make the playoffs,” Bins said.
Seymour (0-8 overall, 0-6 Bay Conference) spotted Waupaca (3-5, 3-3) a 15-0 lead halfway through the first quarter before it got going offensively.
The Thunder put together a 10-play, 68-yard drive that spanned about four minutes, which culminated in a Wyatt Bunnell 4-yard touchdown run.
Seymour converted a fourth-and-8 play earlier in the drive when freshman quarterback Cayden Staffeldt hit Riley Young on a 43-yard pass play.
After both teams exchanged punts, the Comets went back up by two scores on a 51-yard touchdown pass from backup quarterback Ethan Harms to Owen Smidt early in the second quarter.
“That was a key moment in the game,” Bins said. “Had we been able to score (after Waupaca punted), it might have been different. Waupaca is a good team and well-coached — they’ve got weight room guys and we have young guys. They’re good at what they do.”
The Comets went up 29-7 late in the second quarter on a Harms to Aaron Wolff 10-yard touchdown pass.
The Thunder got a 73-yard kickoff return from Keanu Chinana to start the second half.
Chinana caught the ball at his own 15-yard line, went right, broke a few tackles and dashed to the Waupaca 12.
Two plays later, Mason Bunnell rumbled in from 8 yards out — he also added the 2-point conversion to make cut the deficit to 29-15.
Another key sequence occurred after Connor Seitz recovered a Comets’ fumble on the ensuing possession.
Seymour was forced to punt after a holding call stalled the drive.
Waupaca’s Andre Hendrix sprinted 73 yards up the middle on his team’s first play after the punt to make it 36-15 after the extra point.
The Thunder put together another nice drive late in the game.
Mason Bunnell scored again — this time from four yards out — and added the 2-point conversion.
Coming into the game, Seymour had been outscored 319-34, so Bins was “really happy” with his team’s effort.
“Sometimes growth isn’t easy to see,” he said. “As a coach, it’s bothersome when you can’t see those grown moments. Sometimes the parents and kids can’t see them, either. Sometimes growth happens in practice.”
The Thunder have 14 seniors listed on the roster.
After the game, those seniors took one last walk down the field, arm in arm.
“I was hired in February and met the players in March,” Bins said. “The seniors have done everything we asked them to do. They went through COVID and now had a first-year coach — they’ve been through lots. We want to put another gold ball in the trophy case — 1985 was the last one. There have been some good teams in the past that have fallen short, and we want this team to be the one to change that.”
Seymour ends its season Thursday, Oct. 13, with a Bay Conference road game at Shawano.

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