By Steve Pilz
COLBY – There’s always a good amount of hype when a couple of undefeated teams hook-up in high school football this late in the season.
Friday night’s Spencer/Columbus- Colby match-up was no exception.
Unfortunately, especially for Colby, it was just that,hype, as the Rockets mauled the home team on their homecoming 41-0 at Colby High School.
Spencer/Columbus is now 6-0 overall and 5-0 in the Cloverbelt Conference, while dropping Colby to 5-1 and 4-1 in the Cloverbelt.
After the Hornets went three-and-out on their opening drive, S/C, taking advantage of a short field, and peeled of four consecutive runs. The Rockets’ fifth play seemed doomed, as a rusher hit quarterback Jarred Mandel just before he delivered a screen pass to Carson Hildebrandt. However, 30 yards later, Hildebrandt deposited the ball in the end zone for his first TD of the game.
The Hornets were forced to punt again after three downs and the Rockets took over on their own 40. Hildebrandt lugged it three more times, but the big play was a third-and-11 play that saw Mandel hit Hayden Bauman for 29 yards. The drive ended on the ninth play when Mandel hit Austin Bacon with a 17-yard scoring strike to make it 14-0.
“We were trying to take what the defense would give us,” said S/C coach Jason Gorst, “and they were very aggressive against the run, playing with their ears back, so we tried to loosen them up a little bit. It’s something we want to do, to be multi-faceted as we move forward, and we just need to improve ourselves as a team.”
While the Rockets were out trying to improve themselves, the Hornets were trying to scratch out a first down or two, and they finally did. The Hornets mounted a nine-play drive, picking up three first downs, but S/C’s Ethan Meece picked off Roman Schmitt on the second play of the second quarter and the Rockets had the ball back.
They promptly went on a pass-heavy 12-play drive that ended when Mandel’s 32-yard field goal attempt hit the left up-right.
The Hornets then lost 14 yards in three plays, 11 on third down when Bauman knifed into the Colby backfield to take down Schmitt.
Four plays later Mandel found Bauman to his right on a swing pass and seven yards later Bauman found pay-dirt to make it 21-0 with 4:16 left in the half.
The teams traded punts before Colby got the ball back. They rattled off six plays but Mandel picked off Schmitt with just over a minute to play.
Taking over at their own 21 with 1:18 to play in the half, the Rockets’ Mandel hit Eden Jacobson for 29 yards. After two incompletions, Mandel connected with Hildebrandt for 15 and with 19 seconds left he found Jacobson again for 35 and his fourth passing TD of the half and the rout was on at 27-0.
“I think we’re a good team,” continued Gorst, “but we’ve got a way to go to get to where we want to be. We need to keep working hard each practice and every week to get better.”
Hildebrandt rambled for a 12-yard TD at the 1:38 mark of the third quarter and Bacon provided a running clock when he took a hand-off and sliced off right tackle, to the corner, and wasn’t seen again, for a 53-yard dash providing the final score.
“We’ve got Columbus homecoming next Saturday,” concluded Gorst, “so we get a good, nice, long week of practice to work on a lot of the little things.”
Spencer/Columbus will host Cadott on Sept. 29 at 1 p.m. at Beell Stadium in Marshfield.
Rockets 41, Hornets 0
Spencer/Columbus 14 13 14 0 – 41
Colby 0 0 0 0 – 0
S/C – Carson Hildebrandt 30 pass from Jarred Mandel (Mandel kick good), 8:20.
S/C – Austin Bacon 17 pass from Mandel (Mandel kick), 3:40.
S/C – Hayden Bauman 7 pass from Mandel (Mandel kick), 4:16.
S/C – Eden Jacobson 35 pass from Mandel (Kick blocked), :38
S/C – Hildebrandt 12 run (Mandel kick), 1:38.
S/C – Bacon 53 run (Mandel kick), :19.
First Downs: S/C 16; Colby 8.
Rushing (att.-yards): S/C 29-179; Colby 27-66.
Passing: (comp.-att.-yards- int.): S/C 13-23-211-0; Colby 4-14-32-2.
Total yards: S/C 390; Colby 98.
Penalties (no.-yards): S/C 5-40; Colby 6-55.
Fumbles (total-lost): S/C 2-0; Colby none.
Rushing: S/C, Hildebrandt 11-69, Bacon 4-65, Bauman 4-30, Jacobson 1-7, Mandel 6-4. Colby, Kelnhoffer 11-74, Klement 12-11, Roman Schmitt 4- minus 26.
Passing: S/C, Mandel 11-23-211-0. Colby, Schmitt 3-13-22-2.
Receiving: S/C, Bauman 4-78, Bacon 4-20, Jacobson 2-64, Hildebrandt 2-45, Jacob Dick 1-4. Colby, Kelnhoffer 3-28, Klement 1-4.
Interceptions (defense): S/C, Ethan Meece, Mandel.
Records: S/C 6-0 overall, 5-0 Cloverbelt Conference; Colby 5-1 overall, 4-1 Cloverbelt.
Steve Pilz is a writer for MarshfieldAreaSports.com.