Falcons to host T-Birds Friday
By Greg Seubert
On paper, it looked like an outstanding matchup of two solid football programs: Amherst, last year’s Division 5 state runner-up, vs. St. Mary Springs, the defending Division 6 state champion.
It turned out to be not much of a matchup after all.
Amherst found the end zone at least once in each quarter and shut down the Ledgers’ running game to post a 39-14 nonconference win over Springs at Fond du Lac’s Fruth Memorial Field.
Brandon Piotrowski ran for a pair of scores, while Garrett Groshek added a pair of touchdowns on the ground as well as a TD through the air.
Groshek hooked up with Josh Cisewski for a 45-yard TD pass on the game’s opening drive, but Springs quarterback Blake Bauer tied the game with an 80-yard run early in the second quarter.
The Falcons quickly retook the lead, as Dustin Borgen scored from 2 yards out on Amherst’s next drive.
Amherst recovered a Springs fumble at the Ledgers’ 25-yard line, but didn’t score and took a 14-7 halftime lead.
Springs turned the ball over on downs on its first possession of the second half and the Falcons added to their lead on Piotrowski’s 12-yard run. Springs turned the ball over on downs again and Piotrowski capped the Falcons’ next drive with a 36-yard TD run that made it 26-7.
The Ledgers weren’t finished in the third quarter, however, as Fintan Floyd scored from 3 yards out to cut the Falcons’ lead to 26-14 heading into the final period.
Groshek capped the Falcons’ scoring with runs of 4 and 59 yards.
Amherst outgained the Ledgers 334-190 on the ground and 129-94 through the air. Piotrowski led the Falcons with 177 yards in 19 carries, while Groshek added 148 yards in 14 attempts.
Bauer led Springs with 101 rushing yards.
Groshek completed seven of 14 passes, while Bauer hit on 10 of 20 for 94 yards.
“He’s got a heck of an arm and they protected him pretty well,” coach Mark Lusic said. “We didn’t get much pressure on him, but we got the pressure when we needed it. They have a nice team and they’re going to be tough to beat in Division 6, I can tell you that right now.”
The game came down to shutting the Ledgers down on offense, according to Lusic.
“The defense clamped down in the second half and offensively, we found the gaps in their defense,” he said. “The whole line really played a tremendous game. They really gave us a push. The running game was shut down and they were pretty one-dimensional after that.
“Offensively, we were a little disappointed,” he added. “I think we left two touchdowns off the board. Down the stretch, we’re going to have to make those plays. We can’t leave touchdowns on the field. It irritates me, but we’ll fix those. It was not a perfect game, but we’re OK.”
The Falcons will open Central Wisconsin-8 Conference play at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 4, by hosting Iola-Scandinavia. Both teams go into the game with 2-0 records.
“I told the guys to enjoy it tonight,” Lusic said. “The one I really want is next week, not because it’s Iola, but it’s the first conference game. It’s nice to win a nonconference game, but there are no banners for going 2-0 in the nonconference schedule.”