Stephanie Pitzen contributed
CUBA CITY - Rivals at best, the Cuba City and Southwestern football team met up last Friday night in what seemed more like a hot summer July night, instead of Friday night football weather. The Cubans defense held the Wildcats scoreless in their first SWAL win.
The Wildcats fumbled the ball away on their first three possessions, which led to three Cuba City touchdowns, and their fourth possession ended with a blocked punt, setting up yet another score for the Cubans.
To say that the Southwestern varsity football team got off to a bad start last Friday night against visiting Cuba City might just be the understatement of the year.
Before the Wildcats knew what had happened, they trailed the Cubans, 26-0, and were unable to crawl out of such a deep hole.
Cuba City notched it's third straight shut out this season with a 47-0 victory over the host Wildcats, improving to 3-0, while Southwestern dropped to 1-2 overall and 0-1 in Southwest Wisconsin Activities League action.
Cuba City took their early lead on touchdown runs of 10 and 11 yards by junior Grant Kunkel, along with a one-yard TD run by Alex Murphy and a five-yard TD plunge by Brandon Slaats.
Murphy and Slaats each went on to score one more touchdown each in the second quarter, while Kyle Frederick added a one-yard score in the third.
By halftime, Cuba City had amassed a lead of 40-0, which proved too much of a deficit for Southwestern to come back from, especially against the stingy Cuban defense.
"We can not turn the ball over four times in a row and expect to win," said Southwestern coach David Wills. "We need to take care of the ball."
The Wildcats were held to just 75 yards on the ground on 23 attempts.
Cuba City head coach, Guy Kopp said this was a total team win. "To say an individual carried us Friday night would be a mistake," Kopp said. "This was a complete team victory where we were hitting on all three aspects of the game."
Cuba City was led on the defensive side by senior Chad Lange. Lange again set the tempo by causing turnovers on Southwestern's first three drives. Brandon Slaats recovered two of the fumbles and Jarod Donar haulted a Southwestern drive deep in our territory with a third down interception. Trent Denlinger and Alex Murphy each recorded a sack.
The Cuban offense capitalized on each turnover with a touchdown, and did not punt the whole game. "It was nice to see our young quarterback feel comfortable as both a passer and runner," Kopp said. "This was by far Kyle Frederick's best game."
As a team, the Cubans rushed for 438 yards and seven touchdowns. Senior wide out Cody Hoppenjan showed his great athleticism on a great 67-yard catch.
Leading the Southwestern ground attack was senior running back Connor Kuhl, who gained 32 yards on just six attempts.
Through the air, Southwestern senior quarterback Keaton Kephart completed 6-of-10 passing attempts for 95 yards and no interceptions.
His top target was senior wide out Brady Wilkerson, who hauled in two receptions for 50 yards.
This Friday night the Wildcats will host Boscobel (0-1, 0-3) who is coming off a 41-0 loss to Iowa-Grant and the Cubans host Fennimore (0-1, 0-3).