The Bulldogs football team played well in the first quarter, but the wheels came off the wagon after that as the Spooner Rails thumped Chetek-Weyerhaeuser 42-0 on Friday, Oct. 8.

It was a game where the Bulldogs (0-8 overall, 0-6 in conference) had nine first downs compared to 13 by the hometown Rails (4-4, 3-3), but once again, big plays aided C-W’s opponent despite the ‘Dogs nearly taking a 7-0 lead early in the game.

“We got off to a great start and had about a 10 minute drive to open the game.  Our guys were getting off the ball and we were running downhill. After failing to capitalize on that first drive, it really felt like the air was let out of the balloon. From that point on, our effort was pretty inconsistent.,” C-W head coach Bill Knickerbocker Jr. said. “We need to do a better job of being resilient and moving forward when things don’t go as expected.”

The Bulldogs received the opening kickoff and began at their own 31-yard line. From there, they engineered a 17-play drive inside the Rails’ 10-yard line. Unfortunately the nearly 11-minute drive stalled and the Bulldogs walked away empty handed.

On the ensuing possession Spooner answered with a long drive of their own and capped the 12-play drive off with a 41-yard touchdown run by Isaac Hopke.

On its second possession, C-W lost three yards and was forced to punt.

Runs of 3, 12, 3 and 47 yards put the Rails in scoring position and Nauertz plunged into the end zone for a 5-yard score by Brandon Meister to put Spooner ahead 14-0.

C-W’s offense remained stagnant the rest of the half, turning the ball on downs on their third possession.

Three plays later Spooner’s Hopke fooled the Bulldog defense on a counter play and ran 23 yards untouched for his second touchdown of the game. Meister added another 4-yard score late in the first half to extend the Rails’ lead to 28-0 heading into halftime.

Spooner controlled the momentum for the remainder of the game, keeping the C-W offense in check in the final 24 minutes. The Rails tacked on 14 more points in the third quarter, scoring on a 58 yard pass and a 25-yard touchdown run.

It was a rough outing overall for the ‘Dogs besides their promising drive on the game’s opening possession.

“We did have one of the most touching moments that I have ever seen in sports occur late in the game.  One of the Spooner players, who was in a wheelchair, got a carry the ball in the fourth quarter. It was an amazing thing to see and our guys were very gracious and classy in supporting him. We are all better people for having been a part of it,” coach Knickerbocker said.

Spooner’s individual statistics were not available as of press time. However, the Rails finished with 322 total yards, including 264 rushing yards. Hopke and Meister each had two touchdowns.

C-W rushed for a season-high 113 as sophomore Wylee Huset led the Bulldogs with 58 yards on 12 carries. Senior Han Johnson added 29 yards on eight attempts while senior Ashton Kummet rushed for 12 yards on five carries.

Junior Cade Johnson completed 3-9 passes for 30 yards—Kummet had all three receptions.

“We end the season this Thursday against a very athletic football team.  If we can put it all together, it should be a fun game to watch,” Knickerbocker stated.

The Bulldogs will host the Barron Golden Bears (2-6, 1-5) in the final game of C-W’s 2021 on Thursday, Oct. 15.

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