Stratford football routs Mishicot in WIAA Division 5 Level 1 game
By Paul Lecker
STRATFORD – Stratford’s Jake Reif touched the ball four times during the second quarter and changed the course of the game.
Reif returned a punt 52 yards for a touchdown, had an interception and caught TD passes of 49 and 40 yards to push Stratford to a 35-12 victory over Mishicot in a WIAA Division 5 Level 1 football game Friday night at Tiger Stadium.
The Tigers (7-3) will play No. 1 seed and the state’s top-ranked Division 5 team Amherst (10-0) in a Level 2 matchup next Friday or Saturday at Amherst. A date and time will be announced this weekend.
Amherst knocked Stratford out of the playoffs in each of the past two years. The Falcons won 21-7 last year and 21-14 in 2012, both coming in Level 3.
Kam Bornbach got the ball rolling for the Tigers, running 46 yards for a touchdown midway through the first quarter to put Stratford on top 7-0.
Reif broke the game open in the second quarter.
The senior running back/defensive back returned a punt for a score on the third play of the quarter, and after Mishicot responded with a score on a 31-yard pass play from Kyle Curry to Tanner Kunesh, Reif ran a perfect route down the left sideline and hauled in a well-thrown pass from Michael Bargender for a 49-yard touchdown.
On Stratford’s next possession following an interception by Reif, the Tigers went to the same play and Reif caught a 40-yard TD pass from Bargender to make it 28-6 just before halftime.
“Sometimes it just goes that way,” Reif said. “(The pass play) worked for us earlier in the year, and they obviously hadn’t seen it, so it worked out good for us.
“(On the punt return) it bounced pretty short and had a really good roll, so I picked it up and ran. We weren’t really expecting to set up a return on that.”
Reif finished with four catches for 106 yards receiving, 15 yards rushing and the interceptions.
“He’s been a big-play guy for us all year,” Stratford coach Jason Tubbs said. “Coming into the game we figured we could get a matchup with him on the outside backer passing the ball. We have to give credit to our line for giving him time and to Michael, who did a great job getting the ball to him.”
Stratford dominated the line of scrimmage, especially defensively. The Tigers sacked Curry five times and Taylor Krall added an interception. Overall, Mishicot (7-3) was held to 163 total yards, and just 76 rushing yards on 38 carries.
“I thought we could be physical with them and the guys stepped up,” Tubbs said. “I thought our guys played great on both sides of the ball. Kyle Wells, Dylan Petrson, Ethan Fabry, Tanner (Weinfurtner), Kyle Martin – they were in there the whole night, that’s what we want.”
Now it is on to Amherst.
“Third time’s the charm maybe,” Tubbs said. “They’re loaded, they’re the best team in the state, but we like to think we have a chance. We’re one of 16 teams that are left and we’ll take our best shot.”
Tigers 35, Indians 12
Mishicot 0 6 0 6 – 12
Stratford 7 21 0 7 – 35
S – Kam Bornbach 46 run (Jake Zuelke kick), 6:08.
S – Jake Reif 52 punt return (Zuelke kick), 11:38.
M – Tanner Kunesh 31 pass from Kyle Curry (kick failed), 5:47.
S – Reif 49 pass from Michael Bargender (Bornbach pass from Bargender), 5:01.
S – Reif 40 pass from Bargender (kick failed), 1:36.
S – Jesse Dickmann 37 run (Zuelke kick), 8:44.
M – Weston Cracraft 7 run (kick missed), 0:15.
First downs: Mishicot 8; Stratford 9.
Rushing (att-yards): Mishicot 38-76; Stratford 36-221.
Passing (comp-att-yards-int): Mishicot 9-21-87-2; Stratford 8-15-134-2.
Penalties (no.-yards): Mishicot 2-10; Stratford 4-35.
Fumbles (total-lost): Mishicot 3-1; Stratford 2-2.
Rushing: M, Weston Cracraft 16-71, Boone Young 7-18, Jack Ribley 3-7, Tanner Kunesh 1-5, Paul Skwor 1-5, Tanner Orth 1-2, Carson Payette 1-0, Kyle Curry 8-minus 32. S, Kam Bornbach 10-77, Taylor Krall 14-73, Jesse Dickman 1-37, Michael Bargender 1-18, Jake Reif 5-15, Cole Hoffmann 3-5, Jake Zuelke 1-minus 2, Mark Handrick 1-minus 2.
Passing: M, Curry 9-21-87-2. S, Bargender 8-15-134-1, Hoffmann 0-1-0-1, Reif 0-1-0-0.
Receiving: M, Kunesh 4-53, Cracraft 2-16, Orth 2-13, Young 1-5. S, Reif 4-106, Krall 2-16, Hunter Kauffman 1-7, Jeremiah Hubing 1-5.
Interceptions (defense): M, Ribley, Cracraft. S, Reif, Krall.
Punting: M, Payette 7-33.0. S, Reif 2-36.5.
Records: Mishicot 7-3; Stratford 7-3.
(Hub City Times Sports Reporter Paul Lecker is also the publisher of MarshfieldAreaSports.com).