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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Fast Start Keys Peshtigo Rout

Exploding for 47 points in the opening half, the Peshtigo Bulldogs had no trouble dispatching visiting Lena-STAA Thursday night 55-6.

This game was over early. Peshtigo lit up the scoreboard three times in the opening 9-plus minutes and put 47 points on their side of the ledger by halftime.

When the final gun sounded, Peshtigo improved to 2-0 overall and 1-0 in the M-O Conference while the Titans dropped their second straight outing.

“Our line continued to play well and dominated both sides of the line of scrimmage. That opened up some other areas, which we were able to take advantage of,” Peshtigo coach Sam Komp said. “The final score is not reflective of the level of the Titans have, but things started to snowball and went our way. We were able to score in a number of different ways...long runs, passes, blocked punts and fumbles.”

The stat sheet doesn’t reflect how dominant the Bulldogs were. Playing on a short field throughout, Peshtigo only totaled 283 yards and 5 first downs, but recovered two fumbles and picked off a pair of passes.

The stingy Peshtigo defense held the Titans to one first down in the first half and forced 4 punts.

Kicking off to open the game, Peshtigo registered the first of “three and outs” to take over at midfield. Four runs led to points as Derrik Maye scored on a 25 yard jaunt at the 8:18 mark. Jake Jagielski split the uprights on the first of 5 kicks for a 7-0 lead.

The Titans had the ball for 3 plays before a fourth down center snap sailed over the head of punter Blaik Fischer. Forced to run, Fischer saw a desperation pass fall incomplete with Peshtigo taking over at the Titan 32.

Six plays later the Bulldog lead grew to 14-0 as Maye shook free on a 13 yard scoring run (4:34).

Lena-STAA ran into more trouble on its next possession as three plays lost one yard, setting up another punt. Bad move as Bulldog rusher Trevor Igl stormed through to block the punt and recovered it in the end zone for a touchdown (2:36).

Leading 21-zip, Peshtigo tacked on 4 more scores in the second frame. Levi Sanborn raced 30 yards following the first of two interceptions by Marcus Behnke (10:33).

Punting problems continued to plague the Titans as Fischer fumbled a low snap with Igl recovering at the 24. On the very first play, quarterback Dakota Keller scampered 24 yards to the end zone and a 34-0 spread (7:59).

With the Bulldog defense giving up little ground, the Titans faced a fourth and three from their own 34 and went for it. They never made it with Peshtigo taking over the Titan 37.

Keller hooked up with Dakota Marino from 35 yards out three plays later for the touchdown and a 40-0 cushion (3:54).

The final Peshtigo score of the half came compliments of its defense as linebacker Zack Neumann swiped the pitch on an option play and rambled 25 yards to the end zone. Jagielski’s kick put the Bulldogs up 47-zip at the 2:19 mark.

With the “mercy clock” running to open the second half, the Titans finally got on the board. Alex Votava blocked a punt by Peshtigo’s Marcus Sharkey with John Palenick recovering at the 17. Kiefer Powers picked up 6 yards on first down before Dom Ramirez gained 4 on second and 7 more for the score. A conversion run by Powers came up short of the goal line for a 47-6 score with 6:42 remaining.

Getting plenty of playing time in this lopsided affair, the Bulldog reserves answered with a two play scoring drive. Steve Strojny returned the kickoff 31 yards to the Titan 49 before Mike Houska peeled off 3 yards on first down and Ben Kmecheck 46 on second for the touchdown (5:25). Strojny added the conversion run for that 55-6 final score.

“With the heat and humidity, we told our kids we were going to rotate early and often. The game gave us an opportunity to get a number of our reserves some extensive playing time and as coaches a chance to see them play in game conditions. We did what we had to do to win and are moving on without any injuries,” Komp added.


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