Colby High School took another step toward a second consecutive WIAA Division 5 state title with a dominating 51-6 win over Unity at home on Friday night.
Senior running back Brandon Wickersham led the way for the Hornets (8-2), rushing for 103 yards and two touchdowns, while also returning a punt for a 49-yard score.
“Great credit to him, he’s just a hard-working kid,” said Colby coach Jeff Rosemeyer. “It’s good to see him have that kind of success.”
The Colby defense was equally as good, allowing the Eagles (5-5) just four first downs in the game and only two trips into Colby territory. A pair of interceptions on consecutive Unity possessions in the second quarter certainly helped. The first came from Tanner Uhlig on an attempted halfback toss, and the second by Jacob Kriesbach.
The Hornets opened up the scoring on the game’s opening possession, when quarterback Tyler Robida connected with Nathaniel Underwood for a 25-yard touchdown. Underwood finished with 63 yards and that touchdown. That capped off a five-play, 70-yard drive.
After a Unity three-and-out, Colby faced a third-and-19 on its next possession. Rosemeyer called a screen pass where Robida located McCoy Soppa on the left side. The sophomore running back took the pass untouched 49 yards to give Colby a 14-0 lead less than four minutes into the game. Robida passed for 144 yards and two touchdowns, helped by Soppa’s 111 all-purpose yards and one score.
“We came out well-prepared mentally. We had a good focus to start the game,” Rosemeyer said.
In the second quarter, after forcing another Unity three-and-out, Wickersham fielded the punt at the 49-yard line and took off toward the right sideline. He was shoved out near the pylon, but not before he reached the ball across the corner of the pylon, giving Colby a 21-0 lead.
The Hornets struggled in one second quarter possession, as Unity forced a sack and two fumbles. The second fumble was Colby’s fourth of the game and gave the Eagles the ball on their own 46 yard line.
“We got a little bit sloppy with penalties and things like that to start the game,” said Rosemeyer, who saw his team commit five penalties for 45 yards on Friday night.
“This is the most penalites we’ve had all year, by far. So I think we have some things to clean up there.”
Unity took the short field for its only score, when quarterback Zac Johnson took a keeper 23 yards to cut the lead to 28-6 with 1 minute, 27 seconds left in the first half.
That was just the right amount of time the way the Hornets offense was rolling. Wickersham punched it in from a yard out as the clock expired in the second quarter. It’s the second time in as many playoff games that the senior found the endzone three times.
Andy Hogden and Sage Soppa also scored for the Hornets in the second half, as Colby will face the winner of today’s game between Elk Mound and Prescott in Level 3.
C-Tyler Robida 25 yard pass to Nathaniel Underwood (Tanner Gaetz kick)
C-Robida 49 yard pass to McCoy Soppa (T. Gaetz kick)
C-Brandon Wickersham 49 yard punt return (T. Gaetz kick)
C-B. Wickersham 23 yard run (T. Gaetz kick)
U-Zac Johnson 23 yard run (Failed 2 pt conversion)
C-B. Wickersham 1 yard run (T. Gaetz kick)
C-T. Gaetz 32 yard field goal
C-Andy Hogden 11 yard run (T. Gaetz kick)
C-Sage Soppa 7 yard run (T. Gaetz kick)
Rushing: Unity, Kyle Sorensen, 61 yards. Colby, Brandon Wickersham, 103 yards
Receiving: Unity, Mitchell Egge, 28 yards. Colby, Nathaniel Underwood, 63 yards
Passing: Unity, Kyle Sorensen, 7 yards. Colby, Tyler Robida 144 yards.