By Marlys Kruger
ELK MOUND—In a game considered to be an early season showdown between two top teams in the conference, Elk Mound showed their true colors by crushing the St. Croix Central Panthers 35-0 on their home field Aug. 31.
“I had to keep looking at the scoreboard myself to make sure I wasn’t seeing things wrong,” Mounder coach Dan Perersen said when his team was up 21-0 at the half.
Elk Mound had a slow start on offense, going three and out on their first two possessions, but their defense was doing their job by keeping the Panther’s quarterback Carl Moll and all around player Cody Nyhagen in check.
After a scoreless first quarter, Elk Mound quarterback Nick Heit connected with Dakota Tarnow for a seven yard touchdown pass and Ryan Mueller booted the extra point for a 7-0 lead at the 10:56 mark of the second stanza, and just three minutes later, Will Miller added to the Elk Mound lead with a 39 yard touchdown scamper.
Another Mueller kick and it was 14-0 with 7:02 left in the half.
Garett Phillips picked off a Moll pass to set up another Mounder score as Heit found Miller on a 10 yard TD pass on the last play of the half and with the kick it was 21-0.
Three minutes into the third quarter, Heit threw another TD pass, his second to Tarnow from five yards out and the Mounders had everything going for them as Derrick Redwine stepped in front of another Moll pass for an interception to give the ball back to the Mounders.
Jordan Klemp finished off the scoring for Elk Mound with a one yard run with 2:59 left in the game. Mueller then booted his fifth extra point of the game.
“Our coaches did a good job of putting a game plan together to keep Moll and Nyhagen under control,” Pedersen said.
“We knew it was critical to keep them in front of us, especially Nyhagen because he does so many things for them. We have a lot of respect for them and our players followed the plan and didn’t give up any big plays.. And our offense did not commit any turnovers-no fumbles or interceptions. We had good balance with 178 rushing yards and 227 passing yards. We had a few problems finishing some short drives, but we played a pretty solid game overall,” he added.
Klemp finished with 96 yards on 22 carries and Miller added 82 on nine attempts. Heit was 14 of 22 for 227 yards and Tarnow snared eight of those passes for 120 yards, Miller snagged three for 62 yards, Nate Mack grabbed two for 28 yards and Travis Nelson collected one for seven yards.
The Mounder defense held the Panthers to just 38 yards on the ground and gave up 234 passing yards.
Nyhagen was held to five yards rushing on seven carries and 62 receiving yards.
Elk Mound travels to Spring Valley on Friday while the Panthers will host Colfax.