Taking care of business
Tigers run for 450 yards, breeze past Sheldon, 42-20
Spencer started its home opener with its foot on the gas, putting up three first quarter touchdowns on the way to a 42-20 win over Sheldon in the final game before district play begins next week. The Tigers gained nearly the same amount of rushing yards, 452, as last year's game against Sheldon (454) as Spencer built a 28-0 halftime lead in front of the fans at Dale Norton Field in Spencer Friday night, Sept. 6.
QB Matt Finnern, held to just 13 yards in the opener last week, broke free for three long touchdown runs, his first from 22 yards out, followed by a 60-yarder and a 24-yard run to paydirt. All three were in the first quarter as Spencer gained all the momentum early with a 21-0 lead.
Sheldon wouldn't get anything going in the first half offensively and Spencer would add its fourth score with two minutes to play before the first half on a 14-yard Cody Mowery touchdown run.
Malik Rasch picked off two passes from Sheldon QB Matt Buenger to disrupt the Orab offense further in the first half, including one to end the second quarter.
"It's a win. It was kind of ugly at times, I wasn't too happy even in the first half with some of the pitches that were on the ground," head coach Jim Tighe said. "But we'll never apologize for a win. The kids know we can play better, and I told the kids after the game, I needed to make some adjustments quicker. We also wanted to get our No. 2 guys some reps. We've got some things to clean up but we still won handily and didn't play our best."
Spencer limited Sheldon to just 40 yards of rushing in the first half but as the second half wore on, the Orabs were able to gain some yardage and tack on three scores in the fourth quarter.
The game slowed in action as neither team scored in the third. Sheldon finally got on the board at the start of the fourth on a 35-yard run by Buenger. Spencer answered back on a 63-yard touchdown run by Hunter Cushman on an option pitch. Cushman scored on an 84-yarder last year against Sheldon.
Sheldon put together another scoring drive after avoiding near disaster on a punt deep in its own territory. After a bad snap on 4th down on the goal line, Sheldon was able to scramble to near the line of scrimmage and pick up the first down on a personal foul (late hit out of bounds) penalty on Spencer. Sheldon would punch in a 2-yard run by Buenger at the end of the drive.
Two more Spencer miscues allowed for Sheldon's third score, less than a minute after Buenger's second score. A fumbled kickoff return by Dylan Ellis, followed by an unsportsmanlike penalty on the Tigers, started Sheldon at the 11-yard line and Hunter McDonald scored on a 1-yard run to make the game 35-20.
Spencer wasn't done offensively as John Greer was able to get the sideline against Sheldon's defense and sprint 69 yards for the longest play of the game, and the final score.
Spencer lost two fumbles but still won the turnover battle with two interceptions and a fumble recovery. The Tigers will open district play next week at Storm Lake. The Tornadoes lost 42-0 to Spirit Lake Friday night and are 1-1 on the season.
RUSHING: Matt Finnern 16-161, 3 TD. Hunter Cushman 6-83, TD. John Greer 2-77, TD. Brady Illg 10-77. Cody Mowery 3-51, TD.
PASSING: Matt Finnern 3-5, 45 yards
RECEIVING: Hunter Cushman 1-21, Reagan Wilson 1-14, Tyson Hart 1-10.
RUSHING: Matt Buenger 18-91, 2 TD. Logan Otis 7-69. Hunter McDonald 13-63, TD. Tanner Whitsell 8-35.
PASSING: Matt Buenger 2-8, 23 yards
Spencer - 22-yd TD run by Matt Finnern, 8:43. (Malm kick)
Spencer - 60-yd TD run by Matt Finnern, 5:28. (Malm kick)
Spencer - 24-yd TD run by Matt Finnern, 0:50. (Malm kick)
Spencer - 14-yd TD run by Cody Mowery, 2:00. (Malm kick)
Sheldon - 35-yd TD run by Matt Buenger, 10:53. (kick failed)
Spencer - 63-yd TD run by Hunter Cushman, 8:49. (Geyer kick)
Sheldon - 2-yd TD run by Matt Buenger, 3:19. (conversion failed)
Sheldon - 1-yd TD run by Hunter McDonald, 2:20. (Buenger conversion good)
Spencer - 69-yd TD run by John Greer, 1:57. (Geyer kick)