Colby ends losing streak to Rockets
By Hub City Times staff
SPENCER – The Colby Hornets did something on Sept. 27 they had not done since 2013; beat the Spencer/Columbus Rockets in high school football. The Hornets improved to 5-1 with a thrilling 28-22 overtime win over the Rockets at Ted Fritsch Field in Spencer.
“Thrilled for our players,” Colby Coach Jim Hagen said after the game. “They hung in there. Had their backs against the wall a couple times, but never gave up and never stopped competing, and that’s all we asked. They gave themselves a chance to win there at the end. A credit to our coaching staff, too, for a lot of film study this week, and never giving up on our players and putting them in good positions to pull out a hard-earned victory.”
The Hornets won in dramatic fashion, with goal-line stops at the end of regulation and in sudden-death overtime.
Both teams traded early touchdowns, scoring on the first three drives of the game. Colby scored on the fourth play of the opening drive when Tyler Klement ran in from 25 yards out, giving the Hornets a 7-0 lead. S/C came right back, going on an 11-play, 65-yard drive, capped off by a five-yard TD run by Eden Jacobson. Austin Bacon added a two-point conversion, giving the Rockets an 8-7 lead.
The Hornets answered on the next possession, scoring on an eight-play, 64-yard drive that ended with a 26-yard touchdown pass from Roman Schmitt to Isaac Karl. That gave the Hornets a 14-8 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The next six possessions would end with punts by both teams. The Rockets then reclaimed the lead with a 30-yard touchdown pass from Gage Stratman to Bacon with :52 left in the second quarter, giving S/C a 16-14 halftime lead.
Spencer/Columbus began the second half with the football, and went on a time-consuming 67-yard drive. With 5:12 remaining in the third quarter, the Rockets added to their lead, when Bacon scored from two yards out, giving S/C a 22-14 advantage.
Colby got the ball back at their own 47-yard line. Just when it looked as though the Hornets were going in for a score, they fumbled on the 10th play of the drive, and the Rockets recovered at their own one-yard line. At that point in the fourth quarter, it looked as though the Rockets would be able to run the clock out, but the drive stalled and Colby got the ball back midway through the fourth quarter.
With 4:40 remaining in regulation, Klement turned the game on one play. On first-and-10 from the S/C 48-yard line, the Colby senior ripped off a 48-yard touchdown run. The Hornets then converted on a two-point conversion attempt when Schmitt found Karl on a quick hitter over the middle to tie the game at 22.
The Rockets were driving late in regulation, and had a first-and-goal situation with just seconds remaining. Colby’s defense, however, stopped S/C on a fourth-and-goal play from the one-yard line as time expired in the fourth quarter, sending the game to overtime.
Colby won the coin toss, and elected to play defense first. The Hornets stopped the Rockets on a fourth-down play, but the Hornets were penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct, giving S/C a first-and-goal situation, with four plays to punch it in. Again, the Colby defense stood strong, and stopped the Rockets at the goal line.
Colby was then given the ball at the 25-yard line, and on the first play from scrimmage for the Hornets, Klement came up big again, running off the ride side untouched into the end zone for the game-winning touchdown, capping an incredible come-from-behind win, scoring the game’s final 14 points.
“When you go into overtime and you get a chance to win the game, you’re going to put the ball in your best player’s hands, and Tyler is a phenomenal running back,” Hagen added.
Klement carried the ball 18 times for 129 yards, including touchdown runs of 25, 48, and 25 yards—averaging 7.2 yards per carry. Colby quarterback Roman Schmitt had a big night as well, hitting on nine of 13 attempts for 163 yards and a TD.
Jacobson led the S/C attack, with 29 rushes for 122 yards and a score. Colby outgained the Rockets 287-231, even though S/C ran 60 plays versus 45 for the Hornets. Colby also had twice as many penalty yards as the Rockets. The Hornets were penalized eight times for 60 yards, versus five times for 30 yards for Spencer/Columbus. The Rockets also won the time-of-possession battle 29:20 to 18:39.
The win ended Colby’s five-game losing streak to Spencer/Columbus, as the Hornets improved to 5-0 in conference play. They will face undefeated conference leader Eau Claire Regis Oct. 4 in Colby. The Rockets play at Cadott Oct. 4.