Stigall finds paydirt twice as Pointers fall to UWEC in WIAC opener
For the Gazette
STEVENS POINT – The UW-Stevens Point football team (2-2, 0-1) got a pair of second-half touchdowns from Jahi Stigall (Chicago, IL) for a short-lived lead before visiting UW-Eau Claire (3-1, 1-0) spoiled the comeback with a 25-15 win the league opener for both teams.
Stigall scored once on the ground and again through the air for the Pointers. He rushed for 49 yards on 13 carries and hauled in four catches for 28 yards.
Trey Schroeder (DeForest) found Stigall for the touchdown, one of 10 completions for the freshman. He spelled Max Herro (Dousman), who had three completions and ran the ball seven times for 36 yards.
Vercion Gammel (Milwaukee) carried the ball 16 times for 67 yards. Joe Hare (Arlington Heights, IL) had a pair of catches for 38 yards.
Defensively, Kameron Kryzanski (Thorp) led the way with 12 tackles. Wayde Ernstmeyer (Reedsburg) made 2.0 tackles for loss and combined with Ahmad Blake (Milwaukee) for the lone sack. Gavin Tachick (Waunakee) had an interception for UWSP’s only takeaway.
Neither team’s offense could string together a drive in the first quarter and both traded interceptions midway through. That changed with UWEC’s first possession of the second quarter. The Blugolds used a pair of 20-plus yard plays, one on the ground and the other in the air to take a 7-0 lead.
Midway through the second quarter, the Blugolds recovered a fumble on a sack deep in UWSP territory. Three plays later, it was 14-0 in favor of the visitors.
On the ensuing possession, Schroeder took over under center giving the UWSP offense a needed spark. He hit Hare on his first play in the game for a 29-yard gain to the UWEC 26. The Blugold defense stalled the drive and Victor Ponterio (Melrose) drilled a 45-yard field goal to get UWSP on the board.
On UWSP’s opening possession of the third quarter, Schroeder methodically led the Pointers on an 18-play drive culminating with an 11-yard completion to Stigall for a touchdown on fourth down. Ponterio’s PAT was no good off the upright to put the score at 14-9.
The Pointers’ defense held UWEC to a three-and-out to get the ball back late in the third. The ensuing drive spanned into the fourth quarter and two plays into the final stanza, Stigall raced to the end zone from 18 yards out to give UWSP its first lead of the game. The Pointers’ attempt for two was thwarted and the score stood at 15-14 UWSP.
UWSP lost the ball for the fourth time on the next possession, setting the Blugolds up at the UWSP 33. Two plays later, UWEC regained the lead. The Blugolds tacked on a field goal late to complete the scoring.
The Pointers close out the three-game home stand on Oct. 9 with a Homecoming matchup against UW-River Falls. Kickoff is slated for 2:00 p.m.