By Paul Lecker
COLBY – Spencer/Columbus Catholic quarterback/defensive back Calvin Lenz said the Rockets have known they are a good team since the first day of practice.
On Friday, the Rockets proved to the rest of the Cloverbelt Conference that they are a force to be reckoned with.
Spencer/Columbus scored three second-quarter touchdowns and freshman Hunter Luepke added the punctuation mark with a 93-yard kickoff return for a score to lift the Rockets to a 26-13 victory over Colby at Colby High School.
The Rockets improve to 3-1 overall and in the Cloverbelt Conference, and stand two wins away from clinching a WIAA playoff berth. Colby is now 1-3 and 1-2 in the conference.
“We’ve known that we’re this good since the beginning of the year, it’s just no one gives us respect because of past years,” Lenz said. “We know as a program we’re going to go a long way. Everyone likes playing and is having fun and busting their butts. Everyone on our team already knew we were a good team.”
Spencer/Columbus has relied on pounding, plodding running game to fuel its offense. Against Colby, it was big plays that propelled the Rockets.
A 34-yard run by Hunter Hildebrandt brough the Rockets down to the Colby 15 and on the fourth-play of the second quarter, Lenz capped off the seven-play drive with a 2-yard touchdown run to put them up 6-0.
Noah Zastrow returned an interception 50 yards for a score on Colby’s third play after the ensuing kickoff, and after a three-and-out, Lenz connected with Mitch Susa for an 80-yard touchdown pass to put S/C up 20-0.
“There’s individuals that made those big plays, Mitch Susa was involved in a couple, but we stressed all week that we need to get that extra block downfield and get that second- and third-level effort that maybe we haven’t been getting so far,” Spencer/Columbus coach Jason Gorst. “I’m real proud of the guys for taking that to heart and making it happen on the field.”
Colby scored on the final play of the first half when Nolan Derrico hit Zack Meyer for a 21-yard scoring pass and the Rockets led 20-6 at the break.
The Hornets pulled to within a score on a 1-yard touchdown run by McCoy Soppa late in the third quarter, but Spencer/Columbus quickly regained a double-digit advantage on Luepke’s long kickoff return.
Neither team was able to punch it in in the fourth quarter.
Spencer/Columbus held Colby to 101 yards rushing on 41 carries.
“I think our defense is great,” Gorst said. “Our run defense was stout against them. It was a total team effort, special teams too.”
Spencer/Columbus plays hosts Cadott next Friday.
Rockets 26, Hornets 13
Spencer/Columbus 0 20 6 0 – 26
Colby 0 6 7 0 – 13
SC – Calvin Lenz 2 run (run failed), 9:54.
SC – Noah Zastrow 50 interception return (Matthias Goiin pass from Lenz), 8:27.
SC – Mitch Susa 80 pass from Lenz (run failed), 6:17.
C – Zack Meyer 21 pass from Nolan Derrico (kick failed), 0:00.
C – McCoy Soppa 1 run (Tanner Gaetz kick), 1:40.
SC – Hunter Luepke 94 kickoff return (pass failed), 1:25.
First downs: Spencer/Columbus 7; Colby 11.
Rushing (att-yards): Spencer/Columbus 31-175; Colby 41-101.
Passing (comp-att-yards-int): Spencer/Columbus 2-3-80-0; Colby 7-15-110-1.
Fumbles (total-lost): Spencer/Columbus 0-0; Colby 0-0.
Penalties (no.-yards): Spencer/Columbus 3-15; Colby 1-5.
Punting (no.-avg.): Spencer/Columbus 4-26.3; Colby 5-32.4.
Rushing: SC, Hunter Hildebrandt 11-61, Mitch Susa 3-58, Tyler Voda 10-38, Calvin Lenz 6-17, Elijah Welsh 1-1. C, McCoy Soppa 18-70, Sean Parker 4-24, Ty Raatz 1-9, Andy Hodgen 9-8, Tanner Gaetz 1-minus 3, Dylan Leffel 1-minus 3, Nolan Derrico 7-minus 4.
Passing: SC, Lenz 2-3-80. C, Derrico 7-14-110-1, Raatz 0-1-0-0.
Receiving: SC, Susa 1-80, Voda 1-0. C, Zack Meyer 3-41, Soppa 2-24, Gaetz 1-35, Raatz 1-10.
Interceptions (defense): SC, Noah Zastrow.
Punting: Ryan Busse 3-28.7, Lenz 1-19.0. C, Gaetz 5-32.4.
Records: Spencer/Columbus 3-1 overall and Cloverbelt Conference; Colby 1-3, 1-2 Cloverbelt Conference.
(Hub City Times Sports Reporter Paul Lecker is also the publisher of MarshfieldAreaSports.com).