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Stratford quarterback Max Vanderhoof awaits the snap during a Tigers’ possession in their game against Spencer/Columbus Catholic on Friday night at Spencer High School. After a scoreless first half, the Tigers pulled away for a 28-0 victory. (Photo by Steve Pilz/For Zaleski Sports)

By Steve Pilz For Zaleski Sports

SPENCER – It was a battle for first place in the Central Wisconsin Conference Large Division on Friday night at Spencer’s Ted Fritsch Field when the Stratford Tigers visited.

After a scoreless first half, the Tigers prevailed 28-0 and will face-off against Amherst next Friday for another first- place battle between unbeaten teams.

Stratford is now 3-0 overall and in the CWC Large, while Spencer/Columbus drops to 2-1 overall and in conference play. The Rockets will play at Shiocton on Oct. 16.

The Rockets and Tigers have played each other often over the years, and even met in the playoffs the past two seasons. Now they share the same conference after a massive realignment statewide.

This was, as usual, smash-mouth football and neither team gained an advantage over the first half.

Stratford led statistically, outgaining SC 120-103 in the first half, but that was about it.

That changed in a hurry after intermission.

The Rockets went three-and-out for the first of three times in the third quarter, and the Tigers gained momentum. Although they shot themselves in the foot with three penalties on the scoring drive, (they had 15 for 105 yards in the game), the Tigers righted the ship when quarterback Max Vanderhoof found Beau Gross for a 14-yard scoring strike with 7:59 left in the third quarter.

The Rockets again went backward and Gross found pay-dirt yet again at the 2:31 mark.

Spencer/Columbus lost 16 yards in the quarter and the Tigers found their groove with 113 yards on the ground and 28 through the air.

Vanderhoof was at it again on the first play of the fourth quarter, finding Devin Ulrich from 23 yards out.

Colten Schillinger crashed in from the two to end the scoring on the night and provide the final score at 28-0.

When asked about his team after the game, Stratford coach Jason Tubbs responded, “Gritty. We got a different team this year and they’re gritty. They stuck together and that was our message before the game. Stopping them on the goal line and getting the ball and some field position, and coming back and putting up 28 points in the second half. We were real happy about how we made adjustments and figured out how to finish. We asked them at the half what was working. You listen to them because they’re in the heat of the game.”

S/C coach Jason Gorst gave credit to his opponent.

“I thought we played very well defensively for a half,” Gorst said, “but give credit to them because they came out with better adjustments in the second half. Gotta tip our cap to them and wish them the best of luck.”

Tigers 28, Rockets 0 Stratford 0 0 14 14 – 28 Spencer/Columbus Catholic 0 0 0 0 – 0 Third Quarter ST – Beau Gross 14 pass from Max Vanderhoof (kick failed), 7:59. ST – Gross 3 run (Elijah Lucio run), 2:31. Fourth Quarter ST – Devin Ulrich 23 pass form Vanderhoof (pass failed), 11:54. ST – Colten Schillinger 2 run (Rafie Smart run good), 7:23. Team Statistics First downs: Stratford 13; Spencer/Columbus 6. Rushing (att.-yards): ST 44-214; SC 33-96. Passing (comp.-att.-yards- int): ST- 5-6-103-0; SC 4-12-22-0. Total yards: ST 317; SC 118. Fumbles (total-lost): ST 1-1; SC 1-1. Penalties (no.-yards): ST 15-105; SC 6-57. Individual Statistics Rushing: ST, Beau Gross 25-130. Colten Schillinger 9-43. SC Dominic Post 4-35, Gage Stratman 14-25, Eden Jacobson 7-19. Passing: ST, Max Vanderhoof 5-6-103-0. SC Stratman 4-12-22-0. Receiving: ST, Smart 2-52, Ulrich 1-23, Gross 1-14, Lucio 1-14. SC, Jacobson 2-14, Will Schlafke 1-10, Post 1-minus 2. Records: Stratford 3-0 overall and Central Wisconsin-Large; Spencer/Columbus 2-1 overall and Central Wisconsin-Large.

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