By Paul Lecker
SPENCER – It took the Spencer/Columbus Catholic football team only three plays to set the tone and show that it was going to be a long night for Waterloo.
Hunter Luepke ran 44 yards for a touchdown on the third offensive play of the game and the Rockets exploded for 30 points in the first quarter on their way to a 43-16 rout of Waterloo in a WIAA Division 5 Level 2 playoff game Friday night at Spencer High School.
The Rockets (11-0) will host a Level 3 game against former Marawood Conference rival Stratford (9-2). The game is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 6, at Spencer High School. The two teams last met in the 2013 playoffs, with Stratford earning a 33-15 win in a Division 5 Level 2 matchup.
Spencer/Columbus, moving on to Level 3 for the second year in a row, ran just 18 plays in the first quarter, scoring on four of them.
Following an interception by Austin Post, Spencer went 41 yards in just four plays, capped off by a Hunter Hildebrandt 3-yard touchdown run.
Luepke added a 29-yard TD run and after Post recovered a muffed kickoff following that score, the Rockets scored five plays later on a 2-yard run by Elijah Welsh to take a 30-0 lead in the opening quarter.
“We came (out) just on fire, making big plays, making quick stops, and putting up points in a hurry,” Spencer/Columbus coach Jason Gorst. “We came out and executed extremely well to start the game.
“They (Waterloo) are very physical up front and definitely had us out-sized, but I think we were more physical and quicker off the ball.”
Spencer/Columbus had to grind it out a little more in the second quarter, but the Rockets are capable of doing that too.
The Rockets drove 71 yards in 11 plays and scored on a 17-yard TD pass from Calvin Lenz to Jonny Tomke.
After a three-and-out, S/C ran 13 plays to drive 63 yards. Lenz ran in from the 12 with 13 seconds left in the half, putting the Rockets up 43-0.
In the first half, the Rockets piled up 350 yards and 14 first downs, with six different players carrying the ball.
“In a lot of ways, it’s tougher for defenses to key (on one player) and it also gives us some depth in that if someone gets dinged or has to come out for a little bit, we have some options and we don’t have to change much with our offense,” Gorst said.
Luepke finished with 109 yards on eight carries and Noah Zastrow added 88 yards rushing on just seven carries as the Rockets totaled 366 yards on the ground. Overall, S/C outgained the Pirates 422-231, with Waterloo gaining 159 of those against the Rockets reserves in the second half.
(Hub City Times Sports Reporter Paul Lecker is also the publisher of MarshfieldAreaSports.com.)
Rockets 43, Pirates 16
Waterloo 0 0 8 8 – 16
Spencer/Columbus 30 13 0 0 – 43
SC – Hunter Luepke 44 run (run failed), 11:05.
SC – Hunter Hildebrandt 3 run (Noah Zastrow run), 7:27.
SC – Luepke 29 run (Zastrow run), 3:48.
SC – Elijah Welsh 2 run (Jonny Tomke run), 3:03.
SC – Tomke 17 pass from Calvin Lenz (Luepke kick), 6:20.
SC – Lenz 12 run (kick missed), 0:13.
W – Daniel Mankowski 11 run (Joseph Fugate run), 4:38.
W – Dawson Cole 30 pass from Wyatt Gallitz (pass good), 10:28.
First downs: Waterloo 12; Spencer/Columbus 17.
Rushing (att-yards): Waterloo 29-177; Spencer/Columbus 41-366.
Passing (comp-att-yards-int): Waterloo 5-12-54-1; Spencer/Columbus 7-15-56-0.
Penalties (no.-yards): Waterloo 0-0; Spencer/Columbus 2-27.
Punting (no.-avg.): Waterloo 2-35.0; Spencer/Columbus 0-0.
Fumbles (total-lost): Waterloo 1-1; Spencer/Columbus 1-1.
Rushing: W, Daniel Mankowski 7-62, Joseph Skalitzky 10-57, Weston Swarztrauber 2-24, Joey Lauth 6-18, Wyatt Gallitz 3-11, Easton Ellis 1-5. SC, Hunter Luepke 8-109, Noah Zastrow 7-88, Hunter Hiildebrandt 6-71, Calvin Lenz 6-48, Jon Bauer 5-25, Jonny Tomke 2-19, Carson Hildebrandt 2-8, Bubba Post 3-3, Elijah Welsh 1-2, Collin Nieman 1-minus 7.
Passing: W, Gallitz 5-10-52-1, Swarztrauber 0-2-0-0. SC, Lenz 6-14-55-0, Zastrow 1-1-1-0.
Receiving: W, Zach Bennehoff 2-0, Dawson Cole 1-30, Jarred Sand 1-16, Lauth 1-6. SC, Tomke 2-37, H. Hildebrandt 2-9, Tim Bauer 1-6, Ryan Busse 1-3, Austin Post 1-1.
Punting: W, Joseph Fugate 2-35.0. SC, none.
Fumble recoveries (defense): W, No. 38 (no name provided). SC, A. Post.
Interceptions (defense): SC, A. Post.
Records: Waterloo 7-4; Spencer/Columbus Catholic 11-0.