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Spencer/Columbus running back Xane Adler breaks a tackle on his way to a 3-yard touchdown run during the first quarter of the Rockets’ 51-28 win over Glenwood City on Thursday at Spencer High School. (Photo by Paul Lecker/Zaleski Sports)

By Paul Lecker

Zaleski Sports

SPENCER – The Spencer/Columbus Catholic football team used a couple of big plays on defense to set up touchdowns early, then used its speed on offense to score time and again as it rolled to a 51-28 win over Glenwood City in its 2021 season opener Thursday night at Spencer High School.

Glenwood City scored on the opening offensive play, an 86-yard touchdown pass from Bryce Wickman to Brady McCarthy before the Rockets made some big plays of their own to build a comfortable lead.

Sullivan Melander intercepted a Wickman pass and ran it back 56 yards to the 6, setting up a 3-yard touchdown run by Xane Adler as Spencer/Columbus tied the score at 7-7.

Later in the first quarter, Brock Bennington sacked Wickman to force a fumble that was recovered by Cole Hanson. Two plays later, Bennington ran in from the 8 to give the Rockets a 13-7 lead and they would remain in front the rest of the way.

Will Gorst raced 32 yards for a touchdown on the first play of the second quarter to extend SC’s lead to 19-7.

Spencer/Columbus’ Brock Bennington sacks Glenwood City quarterback Bryce Wickman and forces a fumble that the Rockets recovered to set up a touchdown in the first quarter of SC’s 51-28 win on Thursday at Spencer High School. (Photo by Paul Lecker/Zaleski Sports)

Glenwood City responded with a 51-yard drive that ended in a touchdown pass from Wickman to Drew Olson, but the Rockets got another big play from Bennington, who ran 67 yards for a TD.

Spencer/Columbus took a 25-13 lead into halftime as it stopped Glenwood City inside the 5 as time expired.

Spencer/Columbus shut down Glenwood City’s short passing game in the second half. After the Hilltoppers totaled 202 yards in the first half, SC held them to 2-for-14 passing for zero yards in the second.

“We made adjustments and nobody flinched,” Spencer/Columbus coach Jason Gorst said. “I was really proud of them for that.”

Cole Timmler had touchdown runs of 9 and 63 yards in the third quarter, and Nathan Rucker ran an interception back 58 yards for a touchdown and Bennington had a 65-yard score in the fourth as the Rockets remained in control.

Glenwood City backup quarterback Gabe Knops ran for 170 yards on nine carries and scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter, mostly against the Rockets’ reserves.

Bennington finished with 216 yards rushing on 11 carries, Gorst had 80 yards and Timmler added 77 as the Rockets racked up on 316 yards on the ground.

“I thought we ran the ball pretty effectively,” Jason Gorst said. “We had a slow start, but the communicated up front and made some blocking adjustments. The guys up front did a good job opening up some pretty wide open holes, and the athleticism of our running backs took over from there.”

Spencer/Columbus will travel to Colby for a nonconference game next Friday, Aug. 27, at 7 p.m. The game will be live at

Rockets 51, Hilltoppers 28

Glenwood City 7 6 0 15 - 28

Spencer/Columbus 13 12 13 13 - 51

First Quarter

GC – Brady McCarthy 86 pass from Bryce Wickman (Marcus DeSmith kick), 11:36.

SC – Xane Adler 3 run (Brock Bennington kick), 7:14.

SC – Bennington 8 run (PAT failed), 1:08.

Second Quarter

SC – Will Gorst 32 run (PAT failed), 11:52.

GC – Drew Olson 15 pass from Wickman (kick missed), 7:49.

SC – Bennington 67 run (run failed), 3:53.

Third Quarter

SC – Cole Timmler 9 run (Bennington kick), 5:23.