Peshtigo running back Steve Strojny breaks an arm tackle on his way to a long run against Bonduel on Thursday. EagleHerald/Billy Betts
Peshtigo running back Steve Strojny breaks an arm tackle on his way to a long run against Bonduel on Thursday. EagleHerald/Billy Betts
PESHTIGO - Peshtigo's defense was nothing short of spectacular for the first 47 minutes Thursday against Bonduel.

Over the final minute, the Bears offense found their rhythm, shredding the Bulldog secondary for a game-winning touchdown to come out on top 14-9.

With 1:25 left, Peshtigo held a 9-7 lead and Bonduel holding the ball on the Bulldogs' 49-yard line with no timeouts remaining.

A completed pass and three straight successful running plays brought Bonduel down to the 19.

With 35 seconds remaining, Bears' quarterback Colton Dobratz looked off his first two targets and fired a strike to Danny Tauchen in the end zone for a touchdown. That gave Bonduel a 13-9 lead with 31 seconds left.

"Colton's first two options weren't open so he made a quick decision and found his man open in the middle of the field," Bonduel coach James Westrich said. "It's a great feeling to win a hard-fought game like that."

Peshtigo started its final possession on its own 26 with 25 seconds remaining and had a chance on the first play, but a dropped pass down the left sidelines ended all hopes of a comeback.

"I thought both teams played a tough football game tonight," Peshtigo coach Sam Komp said. "They're a good team that deserved to win."

Peshtigo struck first in the second quarter on an eight-yard touchdown run by Steve Strojny. The drive was set up by nice runs from Strojny, a fourth-down conversion and a Bonduel pass-interference penalty.

After both defenses held up the rest of the half and throughout the first part of the third quarter, the Bears' offense found a spark.

On fourth and two from the Bulldog 30-yard line, Hunter Berry broke through the right side of the line and scampered down the sidelines for a 20-yard gain. Three plays later, Hunter Vanderlinden plowed through the line for a 1-yard scoring run to tie the game at seven with 5:53 left in the third quarter.

Earlier in the second quarter, Peshtigo quarterback Dakota Keller suffered an Achilles' heel injury and tried to make a go of it in the third quarter, but was unable to.

In came backup quarterback Jake Jagielski.

On three straight possessions, the stagnate Bulldogs' offense caught life as Jagielski showed off his legs for runs of 33 and 11 yards.

The Bulldogs got within the Bears 12-yard line with 6:46 remaining in the game, but were forced to kick a field goal on fourth down. The kick was pushed left, ending Peshtigo's best offensive drive of the half.

"I thought Jake came in and did a great job for us when Dakota went down," Komp said. "We had some opportunities to break the game open, but weren't able to capitalize."

Peshtigo was able to force a safety as the Bears attempted to punt in their own end zone, but a high snap brought their punter out of bounds, giving Peshtigo the 9-7 lead with 2:39 remaining.

"We've been working on that a lot so far and it's still a work in progress," Westrich said. "I like the way we responded after we gave up the safety. This is a team that doesn't give up."

Offensively, neither team found much consistency, but defensively, several players on each squad stepped up.

Bulldog linebacker Gunner Kinney led all players with 17 tackles and Jordan Berth added nine tackles.

"I thought Gunner played much better this week than he did last week," Komp said. "I was happy with our defense, but we have some things to work on in practice as a team on Monday."

Peshtigo (1-1) travels to Gillett for its first M&O Conference game next Friday.

Bonduel 14, Peshtigo 9

Bonduel 0 0 7 7 - 14
Peshtigo 0 7 0 2 - 9

Second Quarter

P - Steve Strojny 1-yard run (Zack Neumann kick); 9:08

Third Quarter

B - Hunter Vanderlinden 1-yard run (Jacob Zeitler kick); 5:53

Fourth Quarter

P - Safety from high snap in the end zone; 2:39
B - Danny Tauchem 19-yard pass from Colton Dobratz (Zeitler kick); :31

RUSHING (Bonduel): Hunter Vanderlinden 18-61, Hunter Berry 3-24; (Peshtigo): Jake Jagielski 10-53; Steve Strojny 16-52

PASSING (Bonduel): Colton Dobratz 5-15-25; (Peshtigo) Dakota Keller 2-12-17

RECEIVING (Bonduel): Danny Tauchen 1-19; Connor Rosin 1-4; (Peshtigo): Jake Veness 1-14