Rockets pull off a one-point win
By City Times staff
SPENCER – The Spencer/Columbus Rockets have propelled themselves to a rematch with the Stratford Tigers on Nov. 9, with a trip to a state championship game on the line. The Rockets outlasted Westby Nov. 2 at Fritsch Field in Spencer, winning the WIAA Division 5 quarterfinal matchup 13-12. The win puts the Rockets in a semifinal showdown with Stratford Nov. 9 at Medford. S/C beat the Tigers 27-7 in week one of the high school football season on Aug. 17.
After a scoreless first quarter, Westby took a 6-0 lead with 6:34 remaining in the second period. A failed extra point attempt would prove to be costly. S/C answered and scored on a three-yard touchdown run by Hayden Bauman. Evan Dieringer’s PAT was good, and that gave the Rockets a 7-6 halftime lead.
Westby reclaimed the lead in the third quarter, converting an S/C turnover into a touchdown with 7:54 remaining in the period. A two-point conversion attempt failed. The Rockets responded on their next possession. Bauman ended the drive with a 19-yard run, but a two-point conversion try was stopped.
Neither team could score after that, between a series of punts and turnovers. S/C Head Coach Jason Gorst first credited his defense with the win.
“Overall I think that our defense was very good, and certainly limited Westby and came up with some real big stops in key, clutch moments. We weren’t very good on offense in the red zone, so it’s an area that we definitely need to improve in. But I’m really proud of the kids for the way they gutted it out, and we were able to come out with a win in a very close game that really came right down to the wire.”
The stats were as even as the score. Westby outgained Spencer/Columbus 254-247. Westby ran 56 plays, and S/C 51. Westby’s average gain per play was 4.5 yards. S/C’s was 4.8. The Rockets barely won the first down battle 16-13. S/C had three turnovers, and Westby had two. S/C held the ball for 25:09. Westby’s time of possession was 22:51.
S/C quarterback Jarred Mandel was 5-for-11 passing for just 38 yards and one interception. Bauman ran the ball 15 times for 83 yards and two touchdowns. Austin Bacon had 16 carries for 71 yards. Mandel had eight rushes for 55 yards.
Stratford dismantled Kewaunee 42-12 in a Division 5 quarterfinal showdown Nov. 2 at Kewaunee. The winner of the S/C-Stratford rematch will face either Lake Country Lutheran or St. Mary’s Springs of Fond du Lac in the state title game Nov. 15 at 4 p.m. at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison.