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#4 Cubans roll over Bulldogs in Level 1 contest
CC FB Erschen catch
Cuba City wide receiver Mason Erschen (#4) hauls in a 43-yard reception during Fridays 36-0 playoff victory over Pardeeville. - photo by Thomas Gunnell

CUBA CITY – Fourth-ranked Cuba City rolled up over 400 yards and ran for five touchdowns on offense while allowing just 31 total yards and pitching a shutout on defense as the#2-seeded Cubans dominated the #7-seeded Pardeeville Bullodgs, 36-0, in a WIAA Division 6 Level 1 football playoff game played at O.A. Barth Athletic Field on Friday. Oct. 20.

“Coming off a loss like we had last week, our kids were hungry. I knew our kids would be ready to play tonight,” boasted Cuba City head coach Guy Kopp.

Junior quarterback Andy Clendenen directed the offensive onslaught for the Cubans (7-3 overall), rushing for 108 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries and completing 12-of-16 passes for 158 yards in the game.

Junior running back Mason Reuter also rushed for two TDs and gained 123 all-purpose yards for the Cubans, who finished the night with 426 total yards after rushing for 268 yards and adding 158 more through the air.

The Cubans’ defense set the tone early by forcing the Bulldogs (6-4) into a quick three-and-out. Taking over at their own 38-yard line, Coach Kopp’s crew marched 62 yards in eight plays– all runs– to open up a 6-0 lead. Clendenen capped the drive with a 1-yard sneak with 6:52 left to play in the first quarter to put the hosts ahead to stay.

“The players have told me that when we score right away we’re alright,” said Kopp. “It’s about building confidence, and these guys are getting along and having fun right now.”

The Cuba City D surrendered just two first downs the entire day– both coming on the same drive late in the first half– while the Cubans’ offense scored on five of their remaining nine possessions to pad their lead.

Reuter had a 4-yard TD run with 3:38 to go in the opening stanza to make it 13-0, while senior Ryan Hoppenjan tacked on a 2-yard TD run with 1:01 remaining in the first half to extend the advantage to 20-0.

Clendenen and Reuter sandwiched TD runs of seven and 14 yards, respectively, around a 30-yard field goal from senior Kalen Polzin to extend the lead to 36-0 with 7:25 left in the game.

Polzin also went 3-for-5 on his PAT attempts for the Cubans.

Reuter toted the ball 9 times for 95 yards and two scores, while adding three catches for 28 yards.

Hoppenjan ran it six times for 42 yards and a score, and hauled in a team-high six catches for 28 yards. Junior Brayden Holzemer had two catches for 59 yards, and senior Mason Erschen added one catch for 43 yards for the Cubans.

Taking care of business at the line of scrimmage were seniors Nick Schaal, Carlos Sosa and Mitchell Droeske along with juniors Jacob Neis and Logan Murphy.

Pardeeville was limited to just 28 rushing yards and 13 passing yards by the stingy Cubans’ D. In the second half, the Bullodgs managed just three yards of offense.

Senior Francisco Garcia and Reuter each were in on two quarterback sacks, while senior Braydon Barth, Droeske and Schaal each registered one sack for the Cubans.

“I thought our offensive coaches had an excellent game plan concerning what we were going to run in the first half compared to the second half and the guys performed it well. That was great to see,” Kopp commented. “Defensively, our coaches were on the ball again against their spread. We knew they liked to run with their quarterback and we took him away. I’m very happy with the way the team played tonight.

We need to get a little bit better in some aspects of the game, but overall we dominated (Pardeeville) for four quarters. Now, we need to forget about this one and move on. That’s what you have to do in the playoffs.”

The Cubans advanced to Level 2 where they will host SWAL rival Mineral Point (8-2) back at O.A. Barth Field on Friday, Oct. 27.

The Pointers, who shared the SWAL title with the Cubans this season, advanced to Level 2 after winning a shoot-out with Brookwood, 47-28, last Friday night. Coach Andy Palzkill’s squad will be looking to avenge a 36-7 loss to the Cubans from week seven of the regular season. The Pointers have won three games in a row since suffering that loss on Homecoming.

“We’re going to prepare for these guys just like we did last time. We’re not going to overlook them at all. We beat them last time, but that doesn’t matter. It’s the playoffs,” stated Kopp. “Our guys are hungry. They believe in themselves. If we play the way we played them last time, we should be okay. We have to step up and make plays.”
Friday’s kickoff is set for 7 p.m. 

Pardeeville…….   0  0    0  0 –   0
Cuba City……… 13  7  10  6 – 36
CC – Andy Clendenen, 1 run (kick failed)
CC – Mason Reuter, 4 run (Kaleb Polzin kick)
CC – Ryan Hoppenjan, 2 run (Polzin kick)
CC – Clendenen, 7 run (Polzin kick)
CC – FG, Polzin 30
CC – Reuter, 14 run (kick blocked)

Team Stats: First Downs– P 2, CC 22. Rushing– P 23-28; CC 52-268. Passing– P 2-9-0, 13; CC 12-16-1, 158. Fumbles-Lost– P 3-1; CC 2-1. Penalties- P 3-30; CC 1-5.
CC Individual Leaders: Rushing (Att-Yds-Td)– Andy Clendenen, 19-108-2; Mason Reuter, 19-95-2. Passing (Comp-Att-Int-Td-Yds)–  Clendenen, 12-16-1-0, 158. Receiving (Cat-Yds-Td)– Brayden Holzemer, 2-59-0; Ryan Hoppenjan, 6-28-0.