It’s probably safe to say the Lodi High School football team is back on track.
After a pair of rough defeats, the Blue Devils steamrolled Watertown Luther Prep 38-0 in Capitol Conference action on Friday.
“Friday night’s game was outstanding!” said Lodi Head Coach David Puls. “Our guys took some tough losses the past two weeks, and it was important to bounce back and play well. These guys bounced back in a big way and played their best game of the year. It was especially impressive that they performed so well with all the distractions and activities surrounding homecoming. This was the shot in the arm we needed going into the playoffs.”
Lodi finished the regular season 7-2 overall and 5-2 in league play, as the Blue Devils will host Kewaskum on Friday in a WIAA Division 4 Level 1 playoff game on Friday.
Jaylen Montgomery ran roughshod all over the Phoenix, rushing for 134 yards on 14 carries to lead a Lodi ground game that rolled up 275 yards. Montgomery raced to a 73-yard touchdown in the first quarter to put the Blue Devils on the scoreboard.
Quarterback Keegan Fleischman got in on the act with an 11-yard scoring scamper, as Chandler Curtis kicked the extra point to make it 13-0.
Montgomery scored on runs of 7 and 6 yards in the second quarter, pushing Lodi’s advantage to 27-0 by halftime. Curtis made good on both of his PATs in the quarter.
The Blue Devils weren’t done. In the third quarter, Mitchell Lane plunged in from 3 yards out, as Fleischman passed to Preston Nichols for the two-point conversion. A 25-yard field goal in the fourth quarter by Curtis finished the scoring for a Lodi team that has overcome a lot this fall.
It has been a challenging regular season for this group, but they continue to keep battling with the ‘next-man-up’ mentality,” said Puls.
Fleischman was a dual threat for Lodi against the Phoenix, completing 8-of-13 passes for 100 yards and running for 104 yards on 13 carries. Alex Rashid had two catches for 51 receiving yards, while Nichols finished with three receptions for 29 yards.
A swarming defense was the key to the shutout, as Curtis led the way with six tackles and Rashid and Kylar Clemens collected five tackles apiece.
Heading into the playoffs, Lodi is raring and ready to go.
“With the injuries we have endured to some of our most skilled players and leaders, this team has nothing to lose and everything to gain,” said Puls. “This team will prepare all week, compete for 48 minutes on Friday with everything they have, and they will leave it all on the field. We are very proud of these young men and how they have grown and developed this regular season. They have earned this playoff berth and home game. Now, you win or you go home, and the great thing is that anything can happen in the playoffs.”