PREP FOOTBALL PREVIEW: SPENCER/COLUMBUS ROCKETS
By Paul Lecker
SPENCER – The Spencer/Columbus Catholic football team had a year of memories, both good and bad, in 2020.
The Rockets had the highs of a triple-overtime victory over Manawa and a one-point win at undefeated Amherst, but also suffered some lows, like being shut out by Stratford and a 42-8 defeat at the hands of Cumberland in the postseason.
Those returning for Spencer/Columbus this season are looking forward to making some more memories as the program begins its second season in the Central Wisconsin Conference Large Division.
The Rockets lost 17 seniors from last year’s squad that went 5-3 overall and 5-2 in conference play. They won three-straight games to end the shortened seven-game regular season before the loss at Cumberland.
“I think it’s really nice where we had one of those games against Amherst, where we fought the entire game, but you also get humbled when you play the No. 1 team in the state Cumberland like two weeks later,” senior safety/quarterback Cole Timmler said of last year’s experiences. “It’s nice to get both perspectives. Another game, against Manawa where we’re down two or three touchdowns and come back and win in triple overtime, so it’s really good for those returning players who have been in those types of situations.”
The Rockets will look to replace two-year starters Eden Jacobson at running back and Gage Stratman at quarterback.
Senior Will Gorst will play a bigger role running the ball, while Timmler, who was a first-team all-CWC Large selection at defensive back last year, and junior Isaac Mauritz are competing for the quarterback job.
“I think it comes down to leadership values,” Timmler said of his battle for the starting spot. “We’ve got two guys competing for it and it’s going to come down to who can lead the team better. We’re very similar athletically, who can call those audibles and stuff like that.
“Will and I got to play under Jared Mandel and Gage (Stratman) all the time. I’ve been starting for three years and I’ve been looking up to them. Those guys controlled the entire team.”
Jacobson ran for 1,214 yards and 18 touchdowns last year, and 1,072 yards and 15 TDs in 2019, leaving a huge opening for S/C to replace.
“I think everybody is really working hard and putting in a lot of effort,” said Will Gorst, who also plays defensive end. “We do have some guys that are very skilled and they can fill in very well.”
Head coach Jason Gorst said he sees the team splitting carries among a group of players, including Will Gorst, rather than just feeding one ball carrier with the majority of carries like they did with Jacobson.
“Overall, I like what we’re seeing up front,” Coach Gorst said. “We don’t have a ton of size, I think we only have one guy that will be over 200 pounds, but we have some really good athletes.
“We’re pretty young, we’re not extremely big, but we have some pretty good team speed. We’re looking to try to be as athletic as we possibly can, playing some guys in some positions they maybe aren’t accustomed to playing with the idea of getting more speed on the field.”
Spencer/Columbus hosts Glenwood City in a nonconference tilt at 7 p.m. Thursday to open its 2021 season. All Rockets games in 2021 will be broadcast live at zaleskisports.com.
Spencer/Columbus Catholic Football Schedule
Thur., Aug. 19 GLENWOOD CITY, 7 p.m.
Fri., Aug. 27 at Colby, 7 p.m.
Fri., Sept. 3 at Wittenberg-Birnamwood, 7 p.m.
Fri., Sept. 10 at Weyauwega-Fremont, 7 p.m.
Fri., Sept. 17 AMHERST, 7 p.m.
Fri., Sept. 24 NEKOOSA, 7 p.m.
Fri., Oct. 1 MANAWA, 7 p.m.
Fri., Oct. 8 at Stratford, 7 p.m.
Fri., Oct. 15 SHIOCTON, 7 p.m.
(Home games in CAPS, at Spencer High School)