Scott ‘ Coach’ Stankowski
Inset photo by Mark Vrieze
Featured photo by Kylie Bridenhagen
September 21, 2018
Stevens Point–-The SPASH Panther football team found victory, which is the salve that heals all wounds. As the team walked off the field having beaten Wausau West by a score of 21-0 it was nice to see the optimism in the air.
Head coach Pete McAdams was extremely happy not for himself or the win, but for the young men he coaches.
SPASH offensive scoring highlights
Posted by Scott Stankowski on Friday, September 21, 2018
“Our guys are resilient and battling, we keep telling them to stay the course and to trust the process,” McAdams said.
As the team has their backs against the wall, the Panthers are ready to claw their way through the rest of the season.
Evan Thomas started things off right by taking the initial kick off from his own 17 yard line down to Wests 9 yard line. SPASH would pound the line on three consecutive plays and Jack Kelly would follow his line into the end zone from one yard out. Kenny Schultz hit the PAT to put the score at 7-0 at 10:35 in the first.
The Warriors would have offensive woes all night long, never really finding a rhythm.
McAdams commented that it seemed as though his defense was in the backfield on every other play making tackles.
“The combination of having Kevin Deates and John Miech coaching our defense has been great,” McAdams said.
Spencer Wierzba came up big getting a sack on third down forcing a Warrior punt and foreshadowing the rest of the night for West on third downs. SPASH would take the ball and start another drive before stalling on a fourth and two as Kelly struggled to identify where the holes were being made by his offensive line.
West would take over having again to punt the ball deep from within their own territory. SPASH again struggled on offense and set up West for a short field. West would get nowhere though, starting from SPASH’s 35 yard line.
The Panthers got the ball back off of downs themselves and start to march down the field. A sweep run by Kelly would set up a Brett Ehr to Mason King three-yard touchdown pass. Schultz would miss the PAT as the Panthers went up 13-0 with 3:51 to go in the half.
West struggled on the next drive as a high snap went over the head of the quarterback Mitchel Zahurones and start an epic night for end Elliot Eron who would pounce on the ball. Both teams would again exchange punts heading into the half.
The second half would start with the Warriors owning the ball. Eron would apply pressure from the outside nearly gaining another sack but causing Zahurones to throw an errant pass. Eron’s stepbrother Travis Johnson would be the recipient of the wrapped gift and catch the ball at the 30. From there Johnson would evade the West offense for a pick six.
“I just want a chance to hit people and help the team,” Johnson said as was evident by the way he pounded it into the end zone.
Eron added, “We are both busting our tails out there and it is nice to see Travis get the big play for the team.”
SPASH would set up for the kick but Ehr would hit Owen Ahrens for the wide open two point fake conversion to set the score at 21-0 at 10:27 in the third.
Schultz would hit his second touchback in less than two minutes which has to be some kind of a SPASH record.
The defense stepped it up again for SPASH and force another punt. On SPASH’s next drive they would again sputter and turn the ball over on downs. West had their opportunities but Eron would have none of it with another sack. Luke Babl would follow suit with his own sack forcing yet another punt.
The Panthers would go nowhere and Klish would struggle yet again with the foot setting up West on the SPASH 39 yard line but Eron would put the icing on his night with yet another fumble recovery.
“I have been trying to help out and playing on the scout team, it feels really nice to finally be able to help the team,” Eron said.
In the fourth quarter, West would recover a fumble and Eron would put the cherry on top with a third down sack. West muffed the snap on the punt and Austin Stankowski knifed through the line to force a fumble with a hard hit. The ball bounced around on the ground and about 8 feet into the air as West would recover and give the ball over on downs.
SPASH would not move the ball and neither would West the rest of the way as Babl would get another big sack and Klish would put the game away with a late interception.
The win puts the Panthers at 1-5 as they prepare for D.C. Everest at Stiehm stadium next Friday night.