Late first-half blunders ruin Raiders in Coulee football
The Arcadia football team was right where they wanted to be with two minutes remaining in the first half under the lights at West Salem High School on Friday.
Arcadia, down 13-6 at the time, forced a fumble out of the Panthers at midfield just before halftime and were in position to possibly tie the game with a strong drive.
West Salem linebacker Brennon Steinmetz had other ideas — Steinmetz jumped in front of an Arcadia screen pass two plays later and took the ball 55 yards for a touchdown to flip momentum back in favor of the hosts.
The Panthers also intercepted Arcadia quarterback Kaiden Rotering on the ensuing series, adding a field goal as time expired on the first half to turn their one-score lead into a 23-6 advantage. It was a swing that helped West Salem earn its first Coulee win of the year, a 50-6 handling of Arcadia.
Arcadia will hope to rebound this week against the top team in the Coulee, hosting undefeated Westby (4-0 overall, 2-0 Coulee).
West Salem utilized a strong mix of run plays and passes on a night that quarterback Luke Baginski threw for 176 yards and two scores, also running for two more scores to go with 79 yards on the ground.
The Panthers ran for 260 yards as a team and three different players hit the 70-yard mark in Baginski, Drew McConkey and Trevor Arentz. West Salem is recovering from losing its top three rushers and top three receivers from last year’s team that made it to the Division Three state championship game.
Arcadia was in the game for much of the first half after West Salem claimed an early two-score lead.
West Salem took a 13-0 lead five minutes into the second quarter on a 23-yard run from Baginski, but Arcadia had a quick response.
Junior Ted Teske took an outside handoff and bursted 62 yards down the sideline for Arcadia’s lone score just a minute after the Panthers took the two touchdown lead.
West Salem added three running touchdowns and a 46-yard touchdown pass in the second half to carry them to the win.
Rotering and Arcadia attempted to stay in the game and had a productive day running the football themselves, but West Salem kept the visitors from finding much success throwing the football — Rotering was restricted to 74 yards passing and the Panthers intercepted the junior four times.
Teske led Arcadia with his lone rush of 62 yards, and Arcadia also saw a 61-yard day from Max Blascko and a 52-yard day from senior Devon Baier.
Max Sobotta (12 tackles) and Teske (11) had the most effective days for Arcadia on defense, which also got five tackles and a forced fumble from Jordan Rotering.
Rushing (att./yds.)—Teske 1/62, Blascko 14/61, Baier 9/52, Sobotta 4/7, K. Rotering 1/-2.
Receiving (rec./yds.)—Sobotta 3/14, Teske 2/9, Drazkowski 1/26, Scow 1/10, Baier 1/9, J. Rotering 1/6.
Passing (comp./att./yds.)—K. Rotering 10/21/74.
Tackles (solo/total)—Sobotta 9/12, Teske 9/11, Blascko 4/7, Lyga 4/6, J. Rotering 4/5, P. Scow 2/4, Ruiz 2/3, Wozney 1/3, Pronschinske 0/3, Breska 1/2, Baier 0/2, Gomez 1/1, L. Scow 1/1, Olmos 0/1, Conrad 0/1.