Amherst hands Warhawks first loss
By Greg Seubert
AMHERST – In a matter of three hours, the race for a Central Wisconsin Conference-Large football championship became a lot more interesting.
The conference’s two unbeaten teams – Weyauwega-Fremont and Wittenberg-Birnamwood – hit the road Sept. 29 and returned home with losses to Amherst and Stratford, respectively. Amherst defeated Weyauwega-Fremont 57-36, and Stratford handed Wittenberg-Birnamwood a 34-21 loss.
Amherst headed into its annual matchup with the Warhawks with a pair of CWC-Large losses to Stratford and Wittenberg-Birnamwood but stayed in the hunt for a championship after scoring touchdowns on its first eight drives.
The Warhawks came into the game with a 6-0 overall record and a 4-0 mark in the CWC-Large.
Weyauwega-Fremont almost matched the Falcons drive-for-drive in the first half.
Amherst found the end zone on all five of its drives, while the Warhawks scored on three of its five drives.
Nasiah Holland capped the game’s opening drive with a 1-yard run for Amherst.
The Warhawks answered on their first drive with Carter Birdyshaw’s 6-yard pass to Chris Gunst, but the Falcons kept the lead by blocking the extra-point try.
Spencer Cohen returned the kickoff 98 yards for Amherst’s second touchdown to give the home team a 15-6 lead heading into the second quarter.
The teams combined for five touchdowns in the second quarter.
Michael Benjamin had a 37-yard pass to Cohen and scored on a 1-yard run, and Holland added a 2-yard run.
The Warhawks’ touchdowns came on Brayden Arndt’s 40-yard run and Birdyshaw’s 30-yarder that cut the Falcons’ lead to 36-22 at halftime.
Arndt’s 58-yard run on the Warhawks’ opening drive of the second half made it 36-28, but Weyauwega-Fremont never got any closer, as Amherst added a 6-yard run from Benjamin and a 31-yard run from Holland later in the quarter.
Dawson Lind’s 1-yard run and Birdyshaw’s pass to Cashten Hoffman on the two-point conversion turned out to be the Warhawks’ final points before Holland scored his fourth touchdown on a 49-yard run.
Birdyshaw, a freshman making his first varsity start after the Warhawks lost Kameron Zielke for the season with a torn ACL, completed 14 of 20 passes for 201 yards.
Arndt led the Warhawks in rushing with 100 yards on only three carries and caught four passes for 93 yards before leaving the game in the second half with a hamstring injury.
Holland led all rushers with 235 yards on 27 carries.
Benjamin completed five of six passes for 105 yards and also rushed for 80 yards.