LANCASTER – Last Friday night’s 56-34 non-conference victory over visiting Westby had historical significance for the Flying Arrow football program for two reasons.
The first involved longtime Lancaster coach John Hoch, who with Friday night’s victory, collected his 300th career win and into his 35th season with the Flying Arrows has a career record of 300-105.
Coach Hoch is currently seventh when it comes to career coaching victories in Wisconsin’s high school football history, and is fourth in career victories among active coaches.
“It’s a product of longevity, and that I’ve also had very good assistant coaches,” coach Hoch said of the accomplishment. “This is a community, who after a rough start, believed in me, and we’ve been fortunate to keep it going for many years and was able to produce more wins than losses.”
So how did he celebrate the coaching milestone? by studying film on Saturday of Lancaster’s next opponent, River Valley.
Senior fullback Evan Gates also made history last Friday night by rushing for seven touchdowns to tie a school record previously set by Ken Irish in 1951.
Gates scored Lancaster’s first seven touchdowns before leaving the game with 10:52 to play in the fourth quarter, scoring on runs of 1, 14, 18, 10, 2, 3 and 9 yards. When he left the game, Lancaster held a 49-20 lead.
The 6’2”, 190-pound running back finished the game with 271 yards on 37 carries, and in four games now has 824 yards and 13 touchdowns on 108 carries.
“He’s running harder with each passing week,” Hoch said of Gates. “I can look through the plays though, and I think there were five or six that I called where he was going to get the ball. The other 30 were all off the option.”
Senior quarterback Evan Straka had a couple of nice runs during the game, and finished with 72 yards rushing on five attempts. The team’s other 76 rushing yards came in mop-up duty, including a 59-yard run by back-up quarterback Morgan Seippel to set up a two-yard TD run by sophomore Dawson Bowen.
Through the air, Straka complete 4-of-9 passing attempts for 35 yards and was picked off once. Bowen had three receptions for 18 yards and Seippel one catch for 17 yards.
Still, with 454 yards of total offense and eight touchdowns, coach Hoch still sees room for improvement by his offense.
“We just weren’t very consistent in the first half offensively,” Hoch said. “You have to have an 11-cylindar machine, and it was running on 10 or nine cylinders at times. Everyone has an area that they can improve on.”
Defensively, the Flying Arrows held Westby to 168 yards rushing on 36 attempts, and allowed 10 pass completions for 181 yards, including an 81-yard TD strike late in the second quarter.
“Defensively we played well, but we let them get some big plays with the pass,” Hoch said. “I don’t think we played with the intensity that we need to play with defensively.”
Leading the Lancaster defense with seven tackles, one for a loss, was junior Damian Kauffman, while sophomore Caden Straka was in on 4.5 stops.
After four games, Kauffman leads the Lancaster defense with 22.5 total tackles and two interceptions, while senior Gabe Hudson has 17.5 tackles and Caden Straka 15. Dalton Gardner leads the team with two sacks.
With the non-conference portion of their schedule now completed, the Flying Arrows will concentrate on their opponents in the Southwest Wisconsin Conference for the next five weeks.
This Friday night, Lancaster travels to Spring Green to take on the 2-2 River Valley Blackhawks, who are coming off a 14-7 loss to G.E.T. River Valley also lost to Onalaska, 41-19, to open the season, and have beaten Nekoosa and Arcadia.
“They’re definitely a threat to move the ball, and they are very tough and strong defensively,” Hoch said of the Blackhawks. “I think we’re really going to have to work for our yards.”
River Valley averages 27.8 points per game, while giving up an average of 17.3 points to their opponents. In four games they have averaged 91.7 yards passing and 54 yards rushing, while giving up an average of 90 yards passing and 136 yards rushing.
Lancaster goes into Friday night’s game averaging 350.2 yards rushing per contest and 60 yards passing, while averaging 34.5 points per game and allowing an average of 13.
Lancaster 56, Westby 34
(from Friday, Sept. 8)
Westby 7 13 0 14 - 34
Lancaster 14 14 14 14 - 56
W - Ryan Daines, 1-yard run (Grant Dayton kick)
L - Evan Gates, 1-yard run (Tanner Oyen kick)
L - Evan Gates, 14-yard run (Tanner Oyen kick)
W - Ryan Daines, 16-yard run (Grant Dayton kick)
L - Evan Gates, 18-yard run (Tanner Oyen kick)
W - Davontae Spears, 81-yard pass from Alex Gluch (kick failed)
L - Evan Gates, 10-yard run (Tanner Oyen kick)
L - Evan Gates, 2-yard run (Tanner Oyen kick)
L - Evan Gates, 3-yard run (Tanner Oyen kick)
L - Evan Gates, 9-yard run (Tanner Oyen kick)
W - Alex Gluch, 71-yard run (kick failed)
L - Dawson Bowen, 2-yard run (Tanner Oyen kick)
W - Hunter Ward, 2-yard run (Ward run)
First downs - W 19, L 27. Rushing - W 36-168, L 53-419. Passing yards - W 181, L 35. Passes - W 10-17-0, L 4-9-1. Fumbles-lost - W 2-1, L 1-1. Penalties-yards - W 7-65, L 10-110.
Rushing leaders: W: Alex Gluch 8-85, Ryan Daines 13-49. L: Evan Gates 37-271, Evan Straka 5-72, Morgan Seippel 2-59.
Passing leaders: W: Alex Gluch 8-14-0, 165. L: Evan Straka 4-9-1, 35.
Receiving leaders: W: Davontae Spears 3-106, Ryan Daines 2-44, Dawson Marshall 2-16. L: Dawson Bowen 3-18, Morgan Seippel 1-17.