Menasha suffers heartbreak with 8-7 loss in WIAA D3 championship
Menasha’s WIAA Division 3 State Title game on Friday morning ended in heartbreak. With 38 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, Menasha led Deforest 7-0.
Deforest scored on a 13-yard touchdown pass to pull the Norskies close, 7-6. Then Deforest Mike Minick rolled the dice in his final season as the team’s head coach.
Deforest senior quarterback Trey Schroeder threw a jump pass to sophomore receiver Nolan Hawk for the 2-point conversion and the 8-7 lead.
Menasha’s season ends with a 12-2 record and the Division 3 runner-up.
“We won a state championship well before today whether or not the scoreboard said it or not. I’m just proud of these guys and the forest is a good football team and we had an opportunity to put them away and we didn’t,” Jeramie Korth, Menasha Head Coach said.
Menasha’s road to State came in familiar fashion to the way it ended. In Level 4 of the playoffs, the Bluejays scored late against Menomonie and senior quarterback Cole Popp converted a 2-point conversion to give Menasha the 36-35 edge.
“Playing with these guys from little on made my life and being a better person and the coaches made me a better person. Made everyone a better person. That’s our main goal in this program is to be a good person and that’s what we did. Throughout the season we have a motto called ‘fear regret not failure’ and we left it all on the field today. We don’t regret anything. We put in the time in hours and came out here and performs like we did and no one should have their heads down with how we played,” Popp said.
Menasha's lead for nearly the entire game before the Norskies took the lead with 32 seconds left.
The Bluejays' lone touchdown was on the opening drive of the game. Menasha sophomore running back Davontre Smith took the wildcat direct snap for the nine-yard touchdown.
The game saw eight turnovers, all of which did not lead to any points.
Menasha's final drive ended as time expired with Popp throwing an interception to Deforest senior Adam Szepieniec.
Korth told his players after the game keep your head up, "If that’s the worst thing that happens in your life, you’re going to be just fine."