Special teams play lifts Spencer/Columbus football past Colby
Rockets return a kick and punt for TDs in road victory
By Paul Lecker
COLBY — Special teams is often a forgotten part of football, but that was not the case Friday night at Colby High School.
Hunter Luepke returned the opening kickoff 77 yards for a touchdown, and Noah Zastrow took a punt back 66 yards for another score in the Spencer/Columbus Catholic football team’s 28-13 victory over Colby in a Cloverbelt Conference game.
The Rockets are now 4-1 overall and in the Cloverbelt Conference, and Colby drops to 2-3 and 2-2 in the conference.
Luepke added a 1-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter and caught a 16-yard touchdown pass from Jarred Mandel to put Spencer/Columbus up 20-0.
Colby’s Jared Goodwin caught a 1-yard touchdown pass from Trevor Stuttgen with 14 seconds to go in the first half, and Stuttgen threw another TD pass to Dylan Leffel midway through the third to bring the Hornets to within 20-13.
Zastrow put the finishing touches on the win with the long punt return with seven seconds to go in the third, and the Rockets’ defense did the rest.
“I was real proud of our effort and resiliency tonight,” Spencer/Columbus coach Jason Gorst said. “Colby came in with a great game plan, and their guys played with a lot of heart. Special teams was the big difference tonight.”
The normally big-play offense for the Rockets was stymied for the most part, as Luepke was held to 70 yards and Zastrow to 29 on the ground. Carson Hildebrandt had a team-high 79 yards on just three carries, but overall, Spencer/Columbus was held to just 212 total yards of offense.
Stuttgen finished 10 of 29 for 151 yards passing for Colby.
Spencer/Columbus hosts Cadott (1-4 overall and Cloverbelt) next Friday at 7 p.m. at Spencer High School.
(Hub City Times Sports Reporter Paul Lecker is also the publisher of MarshfieldAreaSports.com.)
Rockets 28, Hornets 13
Spencer/Columbus 6 14 8 0 – 28
Colby 0 7 6 0 – 13
SC – Hunter Luepke 77 kickoff return (run failed), 11:45.
SC – Luepke 1 run (run failed), 10:41.
SC – Luepke 16 pass from Jarred Mandel (Ethan Meece pass from Mandel), 2:56.
C – Jared Goodwin 1 pass from Trevor Stuttgen (Mathew Karl kick), 0:14.
C – Dylan Leffel 23 pass from Stuttgen (kick failed), 7:56.
SC – Noah Zastrow 66 punt return (Zastrow run), 0:07.
First downs: SC 8; C 15.
Rushing (att-yards): SC 34-190; C 40-127.
Passing (comp-att-yards-int): SC 3-10-22-2; C 10-29-151-0.
Penalties (no.-yards): SC 3-25; C 1-5.
Punting (no.-avg.): SC 4-37.8; C 5-30.4.
Fumbles (total-lost): SC 1-1; C 1-1.
Rushing: SC, Carson Hildebrandt 3-79, Hunter Luepke 11-70, Noah Zastrow 16-29, Jacob Miller 3-14, Jarred Mandel 1-minus 2. C, Kane Strassburger 16-68, Dylan Leffel 12-42, Trevor Stuttgen 11-15, Mathew Karl 1-2.
Passing: SC, Mandel 1-6-16-2, Zastrow 2-4-6-0. C, Stuttgen 10-29-151-0.
Receiving: SC, Luepke 2-19, Hildebrandt 1-3. C, aaron Morrow 4-40, Leffel 2-56, Nate Meyer 2-5, Karl 1-49, Jared Goodwin 1-1.
Punting: SC, Luepke 2-45.0, Zastrow 2-30.5. C, Morrow 5-30.4.
Records: Spencer/Columbus 4-1 overall and Cloverbelt Conference; Colby 2-3, 2-2 Cloverbelt Conference.