By Murray Gleffe, Correspondent
SHEBOYGAN- One more week! That’s what the Ashwaubenon Jaguar football team will receive after defeating the Sheboygan South Redwings by a final of 26-0. The WIAA announced its selection of 224 teams, and despite being at 4-5, the Jaguars had done enough to get into the field.
Alex Stanko ran for 159 yards on just 19 carries and one touchdown, Anthony Guarascio threw for 236 yards and one touchdown, and Will Adair hauled in eight catches for 138 yards and a touchdown.
Both teams had to endure a driving rainstorm to start the game. No matter. The Jaguars took the opening kickoff and went down the field with a mix of pass and run. The drive, however, stalled at the Redwings six-yard line, and the Jaguars had to settle for a Kole Kolinski 24-yard field goal to put them up 3-0.
The Jaguar defense proved to be strong against the veer, option attack that the Redwings ran. Kenny Brooks, Marcus Wagner, Katayen Gardner, and Javonn Smith limited the rushing total to just 29 yards in the first quarter. The Redwings gave the ball up on downs and a punt for their first two possessions, and added two more punts to begin the second stanza.
The Jaguars, meanwhile, took their fourth possession between quarters and made it count. It was a four-play drive that included two incompletions. The other two plays were the ones that counted. Alex Stanko had runs of 43 and 26 in which the latter was for a touchdown. It put the Jaguars up 9-0 (missed extra point) with 5:48 left till halftime.
It looked like the Jaguars would take a single-digit margin into intermission. Just before half, Redwings punter Jacob Case muffed the snap in the cold-damp conditions, and the Jaguars pounced on the ball with just 34 seconds left. The Jaguars took full advantage of the opportunity and tacked on a 19-yard field goal by Kolinski to end the half. The Jaguar lead of 12-0 was a bit precarious despite the fact they had outgained the Redwings by a margin of 217-62.
The Redwings received the ball to start the second half and they put together an impressive drive. Nine plays in, they were driving on the Jaguars to make the margin a tight one. Jaguar CB Diego Zastrow then made the game-changing play. Redwings QB Jacob Case had completed a 25-yard pass to WR Koryez Scales. As he turned to head towards the end-zone, Zastrow stripped the ball, and the Jaguars recovered.
The Jaguars used the turnover and marched down the field in large parts to Gurarascio’s arm. He connected five times on the drive with four different receivers, to set the Jaguars up in the red zone. RB Troy Lo then hit the gap from 10 yards out and scored for the Jaguars to put them up 19-0 with 2:55 left in the third quarter.
The Jaguars added a late score on a Guarascio to Adair connection from 27 yards out, and the Jaguar rout was on. Once the final horn sounded, the Jaguars had completed the shutout victory over the Redwings, and then found out that their 20-year playoff streak is still intact in 2017!
WIAA Division 2 State Football Playoffs:
Game Preview: Ashwaubenon Jaguars 4-5 at Green Bay Southwest Trojans 8-1
The Jaguars had to win their final two games just to qualify for the WIAA playoffs. They are led by QB Anthony Guarascio and RB Alex Stanko. Guarascio has passed for 2134 yards and 22 TD’s. Meanwhile, Stanko has rushed for 791 yards and nine touchdowns. Guarascio’s favorite target is Will Adair who has 626 receiving yards and six touchdowns. They will have to come up big against a stout Southwest defense that has allowed only 13.7 points per game during the regular season. CB Josh Yasha leads the conference with six interceptions. The Trojans, on the other side of the ball, counter with a lethal one, two-punch of QB Nick Howard and TB Josh Komis. Howard has passed for over 1400 yards and Komis has rushed for over 900 yards to carry the load. The Trojans won the season matchup back in Week 5 by a final of 38-26.