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Spencer/Columbus running back Xane Adler looks for an opening during the Rockets' Level 1 playoff game against St. Croix Falls on Friday night at Spencer High School. Spencer/Columbus lost 35-14. (Photo by Steve Pilz/For Zaleski Sports)

By Steve Pilz

For Zaleski Sports

SPENCER - The Spencer/Columbus Catholic football team held the No. 3 seed in the WIAA Division 5 Level 1 playoffs and a winning season record, but that didn’t seem to matter to visiting St. Croix Falls as the Saints handed the Rockets their fifth loss of the season by a 35-14 score on Friday night at Ted Fritsch Field.

Sixth-seed St. Croix Falls will be back in the area next week for a Level 2 matchup at No. 2 seed Stratford, which was a 34-6 victor over Westby on Friday. The Rockets end their season with a 6-5 record.

St. Croix Falls amassed 363 yards total offense and were pretty well balanced, getting 145 of those through the air, but it was on the ground where they were most impressive, namely the 5-foor-8, 203-pound Dayo Oye.

When Oye wasn’t running around the Rockets, he was running over them to the tune of 23 rushes and 187 yards.

But it was teammate QB Brady Belisle who found paydirt first when he crashed in from the 10 at the 6:42 mark of the first quarter to give the Saints a 7-0 lead.

Two series later the Rockets tied it up when Brock Bennington blasted in from the 4.

Picking up 75 yards in the ground game in the first quarter, Oye was becoming a problem for the Rockets. After Bennington’s score Spencer/Columbus kicked off and Oye brought it back 70 yards to the 25.

The S/C defense stiffened, took over on downs, but the Rockets were forced to punt.

Four plays later the Saints dropped back to pass from their 34 and Belisle hit Bryn Gouker over the middle. Gouker lateralled it to Oye about the time he hit the ground and Oye deposited it in the end zone to complete the hook-and-lateral and give the Saints a 14-7 halftime lead.

The never-say-die Rockets executed an 11-play drive capped by Bennington’s 24-yard scamper to tie the game at 14-14 late in the third quarter, but the Saints answered back immediately and decisively.

After Oye was dropped for a rare 1-yard loss Belisle hit Glenna for 19 and then Gouker for 17 before Oye went 25 yards off the left end for his second score of the game.

Then the turnover bug bit Spencer/Columbus.

The Rockets fumbled on their next possession, although the Saints had to turn it over on downs. But then Belisle picked off the Rockets’ Cole Timmler for his second interception of the night.

Three plays later Oye scored from three yards out.

The Rockets ran eight more plays before giving it back and Oye was at it again four plays later. He started right, then reversed field, breaking several tackles and deposited the ball in the end zone 46 yards later.

To add insult to injury, Belisle picked off his third pass of the night on the Rockets first play of their final drive.

“We fought hard all night” Spencer/Columbus coach Jason Gorst said. “Hats off to St. Croix Falls for being a real good football team and they deserved to win tonight. Just real proud of our team and really thankful for all our seniors and their contributions to the program through the years.”

Saints 35, Rockets 14

St. Croix Falls 7 7 7 14 - 35

Spencer/Columbus Catholic 0 7 7 0 - 14

First Quarter

SCF - Brady Belisle 10 run (Travis Oestriech kick), 6:42.

Second Quarter

S/C - Brock Bennington 4 run (Bennington kick), 7:06.

SCF - Dayo Oye 34 pitch from Sam Glenna on pass from Belisle (Oestreich kick), 0:32.

Third Quarter

S/C - Bennington 25 run (Bennington kick), 4:38.

SCF - Oye 25 run (Oestreich kick), 3:16.

Fourth Quarter

SCF - Oye 3 run (Oestreich kick), 7:40.

SCF - Oye 46 run (Oestreich kick), 3:19.

Team Statistics

First downs: St. Croix Falls 15; Spencer/Columbus 12.

Rushing (att.-yards): SCF 34-235; S/C 30-180.

Passing (att.-comp.-int.-yards): SCF 8-12-0-145; S/C 1-7-3-26.

Fumbles (total-lost): SCF 0-0; S/C 1-1.

Penalties (no-yards): SCF 8-55; S/C 5-35.

Individual statistics

Rushing: SCF, Oye 23-187, Belisle 7-16, Glenna 3-15. S/C, Will Gorst 15-97, Bennington 11-59, Xane Adler 8-20, Cole Timmler 1-4.

Passing: SCF, Belisle 8-12-0-145. S/C, Timmler 1-7-3-26.

Receiving: SCF, Glenna 4-66, Bryn Gouker 3-51, Oestreich 1-11, Oye 0-17. S/C, Bennington 1-26.

Interceptions (defense): SCF, Belisle 3.

Records: St. Croix Falls 6-4; Spencer/Columbus 6-5.

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