By Paul Lecker
COLBY – The Colby football train is rolling and the Hornets now stand two wins away from its first state finals appearance in decade.
Colby touched the ball eight times on offense, and scored touchdowns on seven of those possessions as it dominated Abbotsford 48-8 in a WIAA Division 6 Level 2 playoff game Friday night at Colby High School.
Colby (13-1), the top seed in its bracket, moves on to a Level 3 matchup with Marawood Conference foe Auburndale (10-3) next Friday, Nov. 5, at home. The two teams met in the final week of the regular season on Oct. 15, with Colby cruising to a 54-7 victory to wrap up an undefeated conference championship. Auburndale, the No. 6 seed, won at No. 2 seed Markesan 19-9 on Friday night.
The Hornets needed just five plays to score two touchdowns in the opening quarter.
Quarterback Brent Jeske went around left end for a 60-yard score on the Hornets’ second offensive play, and after a punt by Abbotsford, running back Caden Healy raced 58 yards, again around left end, for another score and the Hornets were off and running, leading 14-0 less than five minutes into the game.
“We’ve had a good running game all year,” Colby coach Jim Hagen said. “We thought we could hurt them on the edge. We have some good blockers up front, some good team speed and that’s what we emphasized this week was getting to the edge.”
Colby’s next drive was its longest as it went 71 yards in 14 plays and chewed up six minutes on the clock, but it was also the only one the Hornets didn’t score on. Three penalties and a fumbled snap helped the drive stall at the 14.
The lack of momentum was temporary, however, as a 15-yard punt gave the Hornets the ball on the Abbotsford’s 29 and Mateo Lopez scored on the second play from the 13.
Lopez then blocked a punt to give Colby the ball on the Abby 13 and three plays after that Jeske powered in from the 5.
Colby added another touchdown in the final seconds of the half as Jeske scrambled, bought time, and found Brody Decker in the end zone for an 18-yard touchdown pass with 8 seconds to go, making it 35-0 and setting off a running-clock situation in the second half.
“We talked about it last November at our end of the year party that I think we had a chance to be a really, really good football team,” Hagen said. “You’ve got to put in the work, you’ve got to put in the time in the weight room, you’ve got to have good grades to be eligible. All those things have come to fruition. We continue to play well week in and week out. They love coming to practice every day, they love each other and they work so hard.”
Mason Voss scored on a 5-yard run to push it to 42-0 for Colby late in the third quarter.
Abbotsford finally found paydirt early in the fourth with mostly reserves playing. Jacob Hirsch pounded in a 5-yard touchdown run and the Falcons converted a two-point conversion.
Colby finished off the scoring as Gavin Voss scored on a 4-yard run with 3:16 remaining.
Hagen said Auburndale, despite what the final scored ended up, gave the Hornets one of their toughest games of the season and he is expecting a tough battle next week.
“That was a hard-hitting game,” Hagen said. “That’s going to be a tough game. They’re going to come here and play hard again. I’m sure it will be a good atmosphere and it will be two good teams battling in a Level 3 playoff game.”
Hornets 48, Falcons 8
Abbotsford 0 0 0 8 - 8
Colby 14 21 7 6 - 48
C – Brent Jeske 60 run (Tucker Brost kick), 11:06.
C – Caden Healy 58 run (Brost kick), 7:21.
C – Mateo Lopez 13 run (Brost kick), 6:56.
C – B. Jeske 5 run (Brost kick), 4:53.
C – Brody Decker 18 pass from B. Jeske (Brost kick), 0:08.
C – Mason Voss 5 run (Brost kick), 3:22.
A – Jacob Hirsch 5 run (Ty Falteisek pass from JV Castillo), 8:30.
C – Gavin Voss 4 run (pass failed), 3:16.
First downs: Abbotsford 10; Colby 13.
Rushing (att-yards): A 49-193; C 35-346.
Passing (comp-att-yards-int): A 0-3-0-0; C 2-5-32-0.
Total yards: A 193; C 378.
Fumbles (total-lost): A 0-0; C 1-0.
Penalties (no.-yards): A 3-15; C 5-41.
Punting (no.-avg.): A 3-17.3; C 0-0.
Rushing: A, Ty Falteisek 24-108, JV Castillo 11-28, Jacob Hirsch 4-23, Emilo Escalera 1-14, Daniel Davila 2-7, Evan Schunk 1-4, Evan Reis 1-4, Fernando Perez 3-4, Grayson Totzke 1-1. C, Brent Jeske 14-150, Caden Healy 3-62, Mason Voss 5-39, Eddie Ortega 1-24, Mateo Lopez 2-23, Tanner Halopka 1-16, Andrew Jeske 3-12, Tucker Meyer 1-11, Ivan Haemer 2-10, Gavin Voss 2-4, Tevin Lue 1-3.
Passing: A, Castillo 0-3-0-0. C, B. Jeske 2-5-32-0.
Receiving: C, Brody Decker 2-32.
Records: Abbotsford 8-5; Colby 13-1.