CUBA CITY – Lancaster started off strong on Friday night, but Cuba City had a fast response to rally for a victory over their former rivals.
The defending Division 5 state champion Flying Arrows opened up the night with a 10-play scoring drive to grab an early 7-0 lead, however Cuba City senior Mitchell Splinter returned the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown to spark a 39-point run that sent the Cubans flying past the Arrows, 39-7, in a non-conference prep football game on a rain-drenched O.A. Barth Athletic Field on Friday, Aug. 28.
“It was a great team victory. I think the rain really fired our kids up. It’s not much fun watching the game in the rain, but it sure seemed like our players sure liked playing in the rain,” said Cuba City head coach Guy Kopp.
The Cubans (2-0 overall) came at their guests from all angles, scoring on offense (both on the ground and though the air), on defense and on special teams en route to their victory over the Arrows (1-1).
After sophomore Evan Gates put the guests ahead with his 18-yard touchdown run, Splinter grabbed the momentum right back when he ran the ensuing kick back 90 yards to even the score at seven all and it was all Cubans from there.
“Running the kick off back for a TD took a lot momentum away from Lancaster and gave our team the confidence we needed,” Kopp commented. “We were firing on all eight cylinders. It was awesome to see our team excel in all aspects of the game.”
The hosts finally got the offense on the field after forcing a quick punt on Lancaster’s next series, and Splinter went right to work, racing 80 for his second TD on the second play from scrimmage to put the Cubans ahead to stay at 13-7.
Senior quarterback Kyle Bass got into the scoring act, hooking up with sophomore Kordell Stillmunkes on a 41-yard touchdown strike, and then he added a score on defense by returning an interception 35 yards to extend the Cubans’ lead to 26-7 at the intermission.
Senior Chris Moor punched in a 2-yard TD run in the third quarter, and scored again from 3 yards out in the fourth quarter to seal the victory for the Cubans.
Splinter finished with 151 yards on 18 carries to lead the hosts ground attack, while Bass’ pass to Stillmunkes accounted for all the Cubans’ passing yards on this rainy night.
Gates ran for 133 yards on 26 carries to lead the Arrows, who outgained the Cubans on the night, 261-244, but lost four of their 12 fumbles to go along with Bass’ pick-six.
Cuba City opens up SWAL play by hosting rival Southwestern (0-2) on Friday, Sept. 4. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
“As coach (Steve) Graber always tells the kids, it’s a big game against Southwestern because it’s the next game. We need to keep our kids focused and continue to play football Cuba City style,” stated Kopp.
Lancaster..... 7 0 0 0 – 7
Cuba City..... 13 13 7 6 – 39
LA – Gates, 14 run (Schaffer kick)
CC – Mitchell Splinter, 90 kickoff return (Nate Timmerman kick)
CC – Splinter, 80 run (kick failed)
CC – Kordell Stillmunkes, 41 pass from Kyle Bass (Timmerman kick)
CC – Bass, 35 interception return (kick failed)
CC – Chris Moor, 2 run (Timmerman kick)
CC – Moor, 3 run (kick failed)
Team Stats: First Downs– L 14, CC 8. Rushing– L 54-246; CC 36-203. Passing– L 2-4-1, 15; CC 1-5-0, 41. Fumbles-Lost– L 12-4; CC 4-4. Penalties- L 3-35; CC 7-35.
CC Leaders: Rushing (Att-Yds-Td)– Mitchell Splinter, 18-151-1. Passing (Comp-Att-Int-Td-Yds)– Kyle Bass, 1-5-0-1, 41. Receiving (Cat-Yds-Td)– Kordell Stillmunkes, 1-41-1.