Rockets move on to Level 2 at Amherst
By Steve Pilz
SPENCER — It is pretty safe to say that Hunter Luepke had some fresh legs as Spencer/Columbus Catholic when faced the Bonduel Bears in a WIAA Division 5 Level 1 football playoff game Friday night at Ted Fritsch Field.
Luepke, last season’s Offensive Player of the Year in the Cloverbelt Conference as a sophomore, sat out the last two games against Altoona and Rib Lake/Prentice with an injury he sustained against Eau Claire Regis almost three weeks ago.
If there was any rust at all, Luepke shook it off it in a big way, rambling for 176 yards on just 16 carries and scoring three touchdowns as the Rockets pummeled the Bears 28-0. The win sets up a rematch of last season’s Division 5 state championship game as the Rockets will travel to Amherst next Friday.
Luepke wasted little time, or Spencer/Columbus coach Jason Gorst wasted little time, as Luepke got the ball on four of the first five plays from scrimmage. On the fifth carry, Luepke scampered for 21 yards and a score, capping a 65-yard drive and giving the Rockets a quick lead.
Bonduel went on its longest drive of the night, covering 47 yards, but it culminated in a fumble that Spencer/Columbus’ Max Weber recovered. That was as close as the Bears would ever get to the end zone.
Bonduel opened the second quarter with a short drive and was forced to punt. A perfect kick put the ball on the Rockets’ 1-yard line.
Luepke would carry five times for 45 yards and Carson Hildebrandt once for 14 before Noah Zastrow cut across the field and outran everyone for a 31-yard TD. Luepke ran in the conversion, and the Rockets led 14-0.
After another Bonduel punt it was Luepke again from the 8, capping off a 67-yard, six-play drive. Luepke ran in the two-point attempt again, and the Rockets led 22-0 at the half.
“A lot of fun out there tonight,” Luepke said. “The line opened up some huge holes. We were really well prepared for this game both offensively and defensively. We were solid in all three phases of the game. That’s always good.”
After getting an unsportsmanlike penalty call for a low, late block in the back to end the first half, Bonduel apparently had a different plan as it came out for the second half.
The Bears committed 14 penalties in the third quarter alone for an unofficial 122 yards. Five of the penalties were personal fouls. Bonduel finished with 19 penalties for 176 yards.
“I’m proud of the character and composure of the guys,” Gorst said.” I don’t think I’ve ever been more proud of S/C football. It was just a great representation of what we’re all about. We talked to the guys about keeping our composure and maintaining class no matter what situation you’re put in. That’s a life skill. There’s times in your life when you want to react, and they were put to the test on that, and I’m absolutely proud of them.”
Luepke scored his third TD on a 13-yard run to end the scoring in the third quarter and reiterated his coach’s feeling. “Coach told us to keep calm,” Luepke said. “We didn’t want to get kicked out for next week.”
As for Amherst, Gorst concluded, “They’re a good team, and we’re excited to play them. We’re happy for the opportunity.”
(Hub City Times Sports Reporter Paul Lecker is also the publisher of MarshfieldAreaSports.com.)
Rockets 28, Bears 0
Bonduel 0 0 0 0 – 0
Spencer/Columbus Catholic 6 16 6 0 – 28
S/C- Hunter Luepke 21 run (run failed), 10:15.
S/C – Noah Zastrow 31 run (Luepke run), 4:53.
S/C – Luepke 8 run (Luepke run), 0:47.
S/C – Luepke 13 run (kick failed), 9:40.
First downs: Bonduel 7; S/C 14.
Rushing (att.-yards): Bonduel 31-122; S/C 44-332.
Passing (comp.-att.-yards-int.): Bonduel 6-19-2-58; S/C 3-8-0-34.
Punting (no.-avg.): Bonduel 4-37.7; S/C 3-28.
Penalties (no.-yards): Bonduel 19-167; S/C 3-25.
Fumbles (total-lost): Bonduel 1-1; S/C 1-0.
Rushing: B, Elijah Mastey 14-59, Jordan Boldt 8-32,Jacob Banker 6-25, Wyatt Erb 2-6.
S/C, Luepke 17-176, Carson Hildebrandt 11-85, Zastrow 5-62, Bubba Post 5-23, Jarred Mandel 2-6.
Passing: B, Parker Bohm 5-17-2-52, Boldt 1-2-0-6. S/C, Mandel 3-8-0-34.
Receiving: B,Mastey 2-4, Brandon Olsen 1-29, Boldt 1-13, Erb 1-10, Bohm 1-2. S/C Karak Bushman 2-30, Hildebrandt 1-4.
Fumble recoveries (defense): S/C Max Weber.
Interceptions (defense): S/C Hayden Bauman, Jacob Miller.
Records: Bonduel 7-3. S/C 8-2.