It may be a bit cavalier, but the best teams usually feel, as the old adage goes, they can beat “anyone, anytime, anywhere.”
The Mauston prep football team has essentially been forced into that situation the majority of its games this fall. The Golden Eagles had their Week 2 game against Sparta moved to Monday, Aug. 30 due to thunderstorms, while their clash against rival Adams-Friendship in Week 4 was pushed back a day due to the state-wide officials shortage.
And now facing Montello/Princeton/Green Lake this week, Mauston postponed their clash with the Phoenix again to the following Monday due to COVID-19 issues within the MPGL team. While the Golden Eagles have been inconvenienced, the end results have looked familiar.
Aside from a lopsided loss to the Spartans, Mauston once again flexed its muscles on Monday, scoring 20 first-quarter points en route to a 44-0 rout over the Phoenix in a South Central Conference game at Olson Middle School. Senior Spenser Lehman tossed four touchdown passes and sophomore Brock Massey added a 60-yard punt return score for good measure as the Golden Eagles rattled off a third straight win to remain unbeaten in SCC play.
“We’re just happy to get games in at this point, again things are starting to get crazy. So when we heard they were going to postpone on Friday, we were at least thankful we had Monday as a possibility, and even right up until the last minute we weren’t going to get it in with the weather coming,” Mauston coach Roland Lehman said. “There were all kinds of factors so it was just really nice to be able to play tonight.”
“We’ve had that mentality; we’ve played three games not played on a Friday night. But Saturday, Monday, we don’t care. We’re going to come out and play hard,” added Spenser Lehman, who threw for 188 yards on 8-of-9 passing.
The really didn’t seem in the cards early on as Roland Lehman admitted the team didn’t have a ton of energy in the locker room before warmups. However, after shaking out the kinks, no one could really tell the difference.
Mauston (4-1 overall) scored on each of its first three possessions on just seven total plays, with all of them ending with touchdown passes from Spenser Lehman to junior Carver Goodman, and the Golden Eagles soared out to a 20-0 lead after the first 12 minutes.
The pair wasted little time connecting as they scored on just Mauston’s second offensive play. After the Eagles’ defense forced a turnover on downs deep in Phoenix territory, Lehman found Goodman on a 30-yard fade down the left sideline for a 6-0 lead with 8:39 left to play in the quarter.
Mauston forced another turnover on downs on the next MPGL possession and again quickly turned the stop into points. The Golden Eagles needed just two plays again before Lehman hit Goodman on a 60-yard corner with 3:14 to go for a 14-0 lead following a Brady Baldwin two-point run.
Following a Phoenix three-and-out, Mauston needed three plays to find pay dirt once more on a 18-yard pitch-and-catch from Lehman to Goodman with 2.7 seconds left in the quarter for a 20-0 lead and capping off Goodman’s night as he had three catches for 108 yards.
The quick start was nothing new to Spenser Lehman.
“It’s really good. I think we go hard right away, and (other) teams usually don’t start fast, but we start fast and right when it starts ticking down, we go fast right away,” he said of the team’s third 20-plus point first half.
The Golden Eagles kept the foot on the gas as they stopped another drive by the Phoenix (0-5, 0-3 SCC) dead in its tracks on the next possession, but Massey made sure the offense stayed on the sideline. The 6-foot-3, 175-pound sophomore ran up to field the ensuing punt, and after sidestepping an MPGL tackler near midfield, he reversed course, found the far sideline and had reservations for six with 10:39 left before halftime and a 28-0 lead.
The lead held through the remainder of the half before Mauston early in the second half. Spenser Lehman hit senior Keith Hayes on a 9-yard touchdown pass with 10:27 to go in the third for a 36-0 lead and a running clock, before Baldwin rushed in from a yard out with 6:55 remaining in the game to cap off the scoring.
While Roland Lehman admits the Golden Eagles prefer to have a balanced attack, the Phoenix let them open things up through the air, something he wasn’t going to turn down.
“Tonight we just felt like our receivers were better than their corners, so we put the ball up in the air and then were able to run it at the end when had to run some clock,” he said. “All around our guys did a really good job.”
That all around effort really shines in the passing game, starting with a strong offensive line, to Spenser Lehman behind center and a plethora of playmakers. Still, there were some negatives for the team to focus on, namely the end of the first half.
Mauston turned the ball over on its last two offensive possessions of the opening 24 minutes, and gave the Phoenix another fresh set of downs after a punt hit a Golden Eagles player and MPGL pounced on the loose ball.
While he’s not a fan of the giveaways, Roland Lehman admitted “it gives me something to chew on them about a little bit at halftime.”
“Just keeping things cleaned up and taking care of the ball. Just continuing to take what the defense gives you and executing on every play,” he said.
The Golden Eagles, which held the Phoenix to just 80 yards rushing, certainly know that as well, including looking ahead to Friday’s Homecoming game against Dodgeville (1-4) in the teams’ conference crossover tilt.
“We can’t overlook anyone, we’ve just got to keep playing hard the whole time,” Spenser Lehman said.
MPGL 0 0 0 0 — 0
Mauston 20 8 8 8 — 44
Mau — Goodman 30 pass from Lehman (pass failed), 8:39, 1st
Mau — Goodman 60 pass from Lehman (Baldwin run), 3:14, 1st
Mau — Goodman 18 pass from Lehman (Pass failed), 0:03, 1st
Mau — Massey 60 punt return (Massey pass from Lehman), 10:39, 2nd
Mau — Hayes 9 pass from Lehman (Massey pass from Lehman), 10:27, 3rd
Mau — Baldwin 1 run (Horn run), 6:55, 4th
Rushing (Att.-Yds.) — Mau 21-132, MPGL NA. Passing yards — Mau 188, MPGL NA. Passing (Comp.-Att.-Yds.) — Mau 8-9-1, MPGL NA.
Rushing — Mau, Baldwin 16-109. MPGL, NA.
Passing — Mau, Lehman 8-9-1-188.
Receiving — Mau, Goodman 3-108.
Follow Sean Davis on Twitter @SDavis_PDR or contact him at 608-745-3512.