Jays down the Lumberjacks for first win of the season
By Jared Schmeltzer
On Friday night the Merrill football team traveled to Thom Field in Wausau to take on the Wausau East Lumberjacks in a non-conference match up. East was able to take an early lead going up by two touchdowns, however Merrill would fight back to get the 26-14 win.
In the first quarter East would strike quick, scoring a touchdown on a 46 yard pass to take a 7-0 lead. It wouldn’t be until the second quarter when the Lumberjacks added another touchdown to their lead, this time on a four yard run from their running back.
With East leading Merrill 14-0 the Jays would respond with a 32 yard touchdown run, courtesy of Dominic Leistikow. Merrill would miss the extra point and the score would remain 14-6. Late in the second quarter Leistikow broke lose for another big run, taking it 80 yards to the endzone for a Merrill touchdown. A missed two point conversion would put the score to 14-12 going into halftime.
After a scoreless third quarter Merrill broke out in the fourth with a four yard touchdown run from Quinn Steckbauer to give Merrill the 20-14 lead. The Jays would add one more touchdown to their total, this time coming on a 67 yard run from Hunter Hintze, making it a 26-14 game, and giving Merrill their first win of the season.
Offensive standouts for the game include Dominic Leistikow who ran for 165 yards and two touchdowns. Hunter Hintze ran for 133 yards on eight carries, with one touchdown. Quinn Steckbauer would get 86 rushing yards, a touchdown and a two point conversion. Rounding out Merrill’s offense was Holden Smith who gained 91 yards on eight carries. The Merrill offense totaled 475 rushing yards and zero passing yards for the game.
The Merrill defense did a great job, holding East to only 182 total yards of offense. The leading tacklers for Merrill include Kole Meyer who totaled eight tackles and recovered a fumble. Jackson Vande Velde would also total eight tackles. Piersen Pyan, Tyler Wolff and Zach Iribarren would all finish the game with five tackles a piece, rounding out the Jays’ defense.