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Pulaski’s strong second half pushes past Ashwaubenon

PULASKI – It may have taken the Pulaski football team a while to get in gear, but once it did, it was a well-oiled machine.
Trailing 14-0 after the first quarter of play, the Red Raiders came alive in the second half to post a 34-27 Fox River Classic Conference victory over Ashwaubenon on Friday night.
The win by Pulaski (4-2 overall, 2-2 FRCC) snapped a two-game losing streak.
“We had a rough stretch offensively in the first half – no doubt about it,” Pulaski coach Jerad Marsh said. “Sometimes it takes a while to trust the man next to you and get back into it.”
After pulling to within 14-7 early in the second quarter, the Red Raiders scored a touchdown in the third quarter and three more in the fourth quarter.
“Once our offense got going (in the second half), that’s probably as good as we’ve looked all season,” Marsh said. “We’ve had some good series here and there, but we were able to stack them up tonight.”
The Jaguars (2-4, 2-2 FRCC) jumped ahead 14-0 in the first quarter on a 37-yard touchdown run from Jacob McVane two minutes into the game and another from McVane near the end of the quarter from 2 yards out.
“We had a great start,” Ashwaubenon coach Brian Ryczkowski said. “We know when we play Pulaski, it’s like going through a storm. It’s going to have all the elements – hail, lightning, and thunder. We tried to prepare the guys for that storm. I was impressed with how my guys came out, but in the end, Pulaski did what they do – pound the ball.”
The Jaguars were threatening to score again a few minutes into the second quarter, but Kiefer Besson’s 35-yard field goal sailed wide left to keep the score 14-0.
Two minutes later, Maverick Cole, Pulaski’s bruising running back, scampered 17 yards for a score.
Earlier in the drive, Jacob Doxtater had a 50-yard rush.
Ashwaubenon had a nice drive later in the second quarter, but Besson’s 54-yard field goal attempt also sailed wide left.
On the Red Raiders’ next drive, Cole’s 46-yard touchdown run was called back because of a penalty.
On the next play after the penalty, Ashwaubenon’s Lucas Popp picked off a Logan Schultz pass to end the drive.
On Pulaski’s first play of the second half, Cole had a 56-yard rush from his team’s 14-yard line to the Jaguars’ 30.
Two plays later, Cole had his second touchdown of the game called back because of another penalty.
On the next play, Schultz hit Brayden Kamps with an 19-yard touchdown pass to make it 14-13.
After a bad snap on the extra point attempt, Samuel Murphy’s kick hit the crossbar and caromed away.
The fourth quarter belonged to the Red Raiders.
Schultz had a pair of rushing touchdowns, while Cole added another.
The Jaguars scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns on a pair of Boone Kirst passes.
Marsh said his team’s tempo may have led to the Ashwaubenon defense tiring.
“We don’t run no-huddle or use cards to call plays, but we try to get the play in quickly,” he said. “The guys have worked on that tempo the last couple of weeks to get up to the line before the defense might have a chance to get set.”
The Red Raiders – who have dealt with injuries all season – had two more players go down against the Jaguars.
Early in the game, senior defensive back Mason Wells injured his ankle and didn’t return.
In the second half, junior defensive back Rylan Rodal went down with an apparent mid-section injury and was carted off the field.
“Some years you don’t have any injuries, and other years you have lots,” Marsh said. “Our fingers are crossed we get those guys back, can win a few more conference games and make a run in the playoffs.”

Cole had a whopping 203 yards rushing on 18 carries, while Doxtater added 99 yards on eight attempts.
Pulaski rushed 362 yards as a team – an 8.6 yards-per-carry average.
Kirst was 24-of-35 for 197 yards passing with two scores for Ashwaubenon, with Caden Van Duyse hauling in 12 passes for 149 yards with two touchdowns.
McVane and Gus Newel led the Jaguars on the ground with 78 and 75 yards, respectively.

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