Bears season comes to close in playoff defeat

Coach commends team’s 11 seniors

Bonduel couldn’t overcome mistakes or stop Stratford from capitalizing on them in a 42-19 loss on Friday in a WIAA Division 5 playoff game in Bonduel.

The loss closed an 8-2 season for the fourth-seeded Bears.

“They did a tremendous job in terms of effort,” Bonduel head coach James Westrich said. “It just came down to too many mistakes. Whether it was penalties, missed assignments or lack of tackling, Stratford was able to convert them every time, so that was kind of disappointing.”

Bonduel’s defense started the game strong, holding the Tigers to three and out on the opening drive.

The mistakes started on the offense’s first drive with a fumble on a third-and-5 that was returned for a 41-yard touchdown by Stratford’s Lucas Barten.

The Bears’ defense couldn’t stop Stratford on fourth-and-7 on its next possession as Dylan Schoenherr took a 30-yard reception to Bonduel’s 1-yard line. Kade Ehrike forced his way into the end zone for the second Tiger score.

“Stratford’s a great team, and when you shoot yourself in the foot, they’re going to capitalize on it,” Westrich said.

The Bears answered with an 84-yard punt return TD by Eli Mastey to end the first quarter.

After Jordan Boldt deflected a pass on fourth-and-3, the Bears capitalized. A 34-yard connection from quarterback Parker Bohm to Boldt set up the Bears’ second touchdown, a 2-yard keeper by Bohm.

The Tigers found the end zone once more before the half. Bonduel held on another drive set up by a Bears fumble to close the second quarter.

Stratford scored on its first two possessions of the second half, converting a fourth-and-2 in the second drive.

A 48-yard pass play from Bohm to Mastey set up a 25-yard touchdown on a one-handed grab by Colin Hanus.

Stratford closed out the game with a 52-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

“We knew they had a very good offense, so we practiced a lot on forcing turnovers and capitalizing on them,” Stratford head coach Jason Tubbs said, “and our guys were just able to do that tonight and that really clinched our win.”

Parker Bohm was 7 of 14 passing for 108 yards for the Bears. Jacob Banker had two receptions for 40 yards, and Jordan Boldt tallied 39 receiving yards on two catches. Eli Mastey rushed for 147 yards on 17 carries.

Stratford outrushed the Bears 279-132 and secured 13 first downs to Bonduel’s five.

Stratford’s Mark Handrich was 5 of 15 passing for 32 yards. Teddy Redman recorded 104 rushing yards and two touchdowns on seven carries.

Westrich credited his 11 seniors for a large part of the team’s success this season.

“We have a great senior group,” he said. “They’ve been a great group of leaders all season long. They knew it was going to be a battle. That’s what’s great about these kids, they keep fighting, but we just had too many mistakes we couldn’t overcome tonight.”

Senior Jordan Boldt said the realization that the season was ending started to sink in during the closing minutes.

“It was emotional in the fourth (quarter) because we saw the score and we knew it probably wasn’t going to turn out well for us,” he said. “But everyone stuck together at the end and we all picked each other up all the way through the end. We killed ourselves a little bit, but I loved playing with these guys. They’re great people. I wouldn’t trade anything in the world for this experience with them.”

Stratford 42, Bonduel 19

Team 1 2 3 4 F

Stratford 13 7 7 15 42

Bonduel 6 7 0 6 19

First quarter

S: Lucas Barten 41-yard fumble recovery (PAT good) 7-0 (9:12).

S: Kade Ehrike 1-yard run (conversion missed) 13-0 (2:43).

B: Eli Mastey 84-yard run (PAT missed) 13-6 (2:17).

Second quarter

B: Parker Bohm 2-yard run (PAT good) 13-13 (6:30).

S: Vaughn Breit 11-yard reception from Mark Handrick (PAT good) 20-13 (2:44).

Third quarter

S: Teddy Redman 68-yard run (PAT good) 27-13 (9:01).

Fourth quarter

S: Redman 25-yard reception from Handrick (conversion good) 35-13 (8:18).

B: Colin Hanus 25-yard reception from Parker Bohm (conversion missed) 35-19 (7:11).

S: Andrew Schoenfuss 52-yard run (PAT good) 42-19 (6:38).