St. Mary’s Springs’ quest to defend its WIAA Division 6 state championship began Friday in earnest at Fruth Field.
The Ledgers scored every time they had the ball in their playoff opener, crushing Algoma, 63-6.
“It’s a whole new game out there (in the playoffs),” said Springs senior captain Jacob Schneider. “We practiced the same we do for any other week. We want to come out hot and bury them before they even get started.”
That’s exactly what the Ledgers did, on the opening kickoff nonetheless. Matt Busse corralled a short kick and lateraled the ball back to return man Ike Floyd. The senior started up the middle then made a quick cut and raced 70 yards for the lead. It was the first of five touchdowns for Floyd, the other four coming in the ground game. He had runs of 4, 5, 9 and 15 yards and finished with just 52 yards rushing on nine carries.
Darin Ward ran for 9 yards on an option pitch for Springs’ second TD of the game and a 14-0 lead with 6 minutes, 14 seconds remaining in the first quarter. Ward was the game’s leading rusher with 117 yards on just seven carries.
Mitch Herron added a touchdown in the first half and Springs led 28-0 before Algoma put together a short drive for a touchdown about 5 minutes into the second quarter.
“Right before half we got the chance to use our no-huddle and moved down the field in 2 minutes to get a touchdown,” said Springs coach Bob Hyland said. “We had some nice passes, a couple of slants. There were a lot of things we got to use in the game today that we’d been working on. That was really good for us.”
Springs led 42-6 at the half, which started the 35-point running clock for the second half. It was the eighth time in nine games that Springs put the mercy rule in play.
Floyd scored on Springs’ only possession of the third quarter, but then the second-team offense continued to move the ball well against the Wolves.
Jacob Frey ran for 52 yards and scored on a 29-yard touchdown, and quarterback Brennen Ottery got in from a yard away for the final score.
“We felt we had to play our (first-team) kids into the third quarter just to get them in shape because somewhere along the line we’re going to have to play a full game,” Hyland said.
Springs held Algoma to just 127 total yards while the Ledgers piled up 412. The Ledger players know that it will only get tougher, and their mental intensity has to continue.
“We had no turnovers today, that’s a plus and a huge thing for us,” Schneider said. “Our defense, we played good, but there’s things we can always improve on. We played well and got the win, so you can’t be mad about that.”
Springs will have another home game on either Friday or Saturday next weekend. No. 4 seed Manawa beat Ozaukee, 28-7, on Friday to earn a chance to play No. 1 Ledgers.