Varsity football weekly update
By Paul Lecker
All three local football teams that qualified for the WIAA playoffs moved on with convincing victories last Friday in Level 1 games.
Spencer/Columbus Catholic won at Columbus, beating the Cardinals 22-17 in a Division 4 matchup.
Auburndale and Stratford both posted resounding victories in Division 5, with the Apaches shutting out Westby 20-0 and the Tigers pounding Mishicot 35-12.
All three teams will be back on the field Friday night in Level 2 games.
SPENCER/COLUMBUS CATHOLIC ROCKETS AT WAUTOMA HORNETS
Game time: 7 p.m. Friday
Site: Wautoma High School
Records: Spencer/Columbus 7-3; Wautoma 9-1
Radio: WOSQ-FM 92.3 and wdlbwosq.com
Last week: Spencer/Columbus Catholic scored three touchdowns in a span of five minutes in the second quarter and held on from there to beat Columbus 22-17 in a WIAA Division 4 Level 1 game last Friday night at Columbus High School.
Columbus blocked a punt and recovered it at the 2-yard line early in the second quarter, but Spencer/Columbus held and forced a field goal.
The Rockets got their offense going on their next possession.
Calvin Lenz scored on a 2-yard touchdown run and then tossed a 70-yard touchdown pass to Mitch Susa the next time the Rockets had the ball.
Noah Zastrow capped the scoring with an interception return for a touchdown, which put the Rockets up 22-3.
Columbus scored with less than one minute left in the third quarter and again in the final two minutes of the fourth quarter to make it close, but the Rockets held onto the victory.
The fifth-seeded Rockets allowed 183 total yards to Columbus.
Wautoma, the top seed in Group A, defeated Campbellsport 35-14.
This week’s matchup: For the sixth time this season, the Rockets held an opponent to under 225 total yards, and their defense will again have to step up against a high-powered Wautoma offense.
Wautoma, the champions of the South Central Conference, have won eight consecutive games and have scored 35 points or more six times during that stretch.
Running back Nathaniel Loging has racked up 1,640 yards and scored 23 touchdowns for the Hornets. Quarterback Jack Eagen has added 1,110 yards passing and eight touchdowns as well as rushing for 366 yards and seven scores.
Hunter Hildebrandt and Tyler Voda combined for 100 yards rushing last week as the Rockets continue a committee approach to their running game. Those two and Susa have each rushed for between 439 and 486 yards this season.
AUBURNDALE APACHES AT ARCADIA RAIDERS
Game time: 7 p.m. Friday
Site: Arcadia High School
Records: Auburndale 7-2; Arcadia 10-0
Last week: Auburndale’s defense stepped up in a big way, earning its second-straight shutout, beating Westby 20-0 in a Level 1 matchup at Viroqua High School.
A week after blanking Marathon 10-0, the Apaches defense was up to the challenge again.
Arcadia continued its undefeated season with a 59-7 victory over Pardeeville last week.
This week’s matchup: Auburndale will have to be strong on the defensive side for a third-straight game as Arcadia boasts one of the top offenses in Division 5, scoring 45 points per game. Lee Pronshinske has rushed for 1,325 yards and 21 touchdowns, averaging 8.1 yards per rush. Quarterback Rob Hoesley has also been efficient throwing the ball, completing 63 percent of his passes for 1,261 yards and 17 touchdowns while throwing just two interceptions. The Raiders are excellent on defense as well, shutting out their opponents five times and allowing more than 10 points only twice.
Auburndale has reached Level 2 of the playoffs for the first time since 2002. Arcadia is in the playoffs for the sixth year in a row and has lost in Level 2 in the each of the past two seasons.
STRATFORD TIGERS AT AMHERST FALCONS
Game time: 7 p.m. Friday
Site: Amherst High School
Records: Stratford 7-3; Amherst 10-0
Radio: WDLB-AM 1450 and wdlbwosq.com
Last week: Stratford senior Jake Reif returned a punt 52 yards for a touchdown, had an interception, and caught touchdown passes of 49 and 40 yards—all in the second quarter—to push the Tigers to a 35-12 victory over Mishicot in a WIAA Division 5 Level 1 game last Friday night at Tiger Stadium.
Kam Bornbach had a 46-yard touchdown run, and Jesse Dickman added a 37-yard touchdown run for Stratford.
The Tigers outgained Mishicot 355-163, with Bornbach totaling 77 yards on the ground and Taylor Krall adding 73 yards rushing. Reif had four catches for 106 yards and the two touchdowns from quarterback Michael Bargender.
Amherst, the No. 1-ranked team in the final WisSports.net Division 5 State Coaches Poll, crushed Niagara/Goodman/Pembine 49-0 last Friday.
This week’s matchup: Stratford and Amherst are quite familiar with each other, having played in Level 3 of the Division 5 playoffs in each of the past two seasons. The Falcons won 21-7 last year and 21-14 in 2012. Amherst won the state championship two seasons ago.
Connor Zblewski leads the Falcons’ rushing attack with 854 yards and 14 touchdowns. Quarterback Garrett Groshek has thrown for 1,355 yards, 12 touchdowns, and just one interception while also rushing for 685 yards and 13 touchdowns.
After losing two games in a row, Stratford has won four straight, putting up 35 points or more in three of the games.
The Tigers will continue to rely on the three-headed attack of Bornbach, Krall, and Reif at running back. The three have combined for nearly 1,200 yards this season.
(Hub City Times Sports Reporter Paul Lecker is also the publisher of MarshfieldAreaSports.com).