By Kelsie Hoitomt
GLENWOOD CITY – The Glenwood City football team traveled to Elk Mound on Friday, September 14 to play the 4-0 Elk Mound Mounders.
The Hilltoppers and the Mounders were the only two undefeated teams so far in the Dunn-St. Croix Conference until Elk Mound defeated Glenwood City 28-12.
The game looked to be even between the two teams, but the Mounders passing skills completely outshined the Hilltoppers in the second half.
The arm of quarterback Nick Heit was very accurate as he was able to pick his target and place the ball in the hands of a receiver down the field nearly every time.
Unfortunately, the Hilltoppers’ passing game went two for seven on completions and their running game wasn’t quite strong enough to keep up scoring wise to the Mounders.
It wasn’t until the second half of the game that any points were put on the board due to several penalties for holding, illegal procedures, false starts and delay of games on both sides of the ball.
The Hilltoppers had a big chance to score in the second quarter when Nick Mrdutt intercepted an Elk Mound pass to put the team on their own 37 yard line.
However, with the ball on the Mounders 49 yard line, another fumble would turn the ball over and the clock would soon tick down to enter half time 0-0.
The Mounders would receive the kick off to start the third quarter. With the ball near their own 20 yard line, Heit would draw back and throw a pass through the hands of defender Blake Ramsden to Adam Gottschalk.
With the ball now on the 42 yard line of Elk Mound, Heit would hand it off to senior Jordan Klemp who took to the right side for a 38 yard touchdown run.
Klemp leads the conference in rushing yards with 534.
Ryan Mueller kicked the extra point to put the Mounders ahead 7-0 with 8:57 left in the quarter.
The Hilltoppers would start their drive on their own 35 yard line after Todd Petersen chose to lay down on the kick return.
Mrdutt handed the ball to Jeff Kopacz for a six yard gain and then Mrdutt took the ball himself for another six yard gain to put the ball on the their own 47 yard line. Kopacz had a gain of two on the next play, but a delay of game would push the Toppers back five yards.
Mrdutt would then hand the ball to Kopacz who managed to find an opening as he charged down the field for a 44 yard touchdown run to put the Hilltoppers on the board.
The two-point conversion was unsuccessful, but the Toppers were able to close the gap 6-7.
The close game didn’t last long as the Mounders marched down the field as Heit passed the ball to running back Will Miller.
With the ball on the six yard line, Heit threw to Miller for another touchdown with 3:21 left in the third quarter. Mueller’s extra point was successful to put the Mounders ahead 14-6.
The Hilltoppers following drive would result in another forced punt on fourth down by Richard Ross.
Mounder Nate Mack had a 20 yard punt return to place the ball on the 41 yard line. A holding call and a false start against the Mounders would back them up to their own 45 yard line.
However, the penalties did not hinder the Mounders as Heit connected with Dakota Tarnow for a 55 yard touchdown run. With 1:19 left on the clock, the Mounder’s were now ahead 21-6 after another successful kick by Mueller.
The fourth quarter would begin with a Hilltopper fumble on the Mounders’ 45 yard line. The Toppers’ defense was able to shut down the Mounders and force them to punt.
The Hilltoppers would come up empty on their following drive and would have to punt as well.
However, the Mounders were able to break through the Hilltopper’s line and block the punt by Ross, which would then put them on the Toppers’ 36 yard line.
Heit then connected with Miller for an 11 yard completion to place the Mounder’s on the 25 yard line.
Matt Schouten then broke up the following pass and the defense was able to stop the next run by Klemp to back the Mounders up two yards.
With 6:38 left in the fourth quarter, Heit would hand the ball to Klemp who broke through several tackles for a 26 yard touchdown run to make the 28-6.
In their last attempt to score, the Hilltoppers would set up for a 12 play drive.
Ramsden was in the back field for the kick return, which put the Toppers on their own 35 yard line.
Mrdutt was forced to scramble and keep the ball for a gain of just one yard, but he quickly took charge of the drive on his own as he ran for a 15 yard gain on the following play.
With the ball now on the 47 yard line, Mrdutt again took ahold of the ball and charged forward for a gain of 12 yards to place the ball on Elk Mound’s 35 yard line.
The ball was then handed off to Austin Moe for a loss of one yard on the play. A run by Kopacz for six yards and another six yard run by Adam Holmquist would put the Topper’s on the 24 yard line.
Kopacz would then take the hand off for a gain of ten yards, inching the Hilltoppers closer to the goal line.
With the ball sitting on the four yard line, Kopacz would drive through the line for a Hilltopper touchdown with 1:16 left in the game.
The Topper’s would again set up for a two-point conversion play, which was unsuccessful. The score would now be 12-28.
In a last chance effort, the Hilltoppers attempted an onside kick that went out of bounds. The Mounders would take the ball and kneel down to seal their victory over the Hilltoppers.
“Elk Mound was a very good football team. We were able to move the ball very well on offense, but turnovers hurt our club,” said coach Shane Strong.
Offensively, the Hilltoppers generated 271 rushing yards with Kopacz leading the team with 103 yards and two touchdowns. Holmquist rushed for 56 yards, Isaac Tuttle had 52 yards, Mrdutt for 51 yards and Moe for nine yards.
Mrdutt managed to pass for just 26 yards in two completions on the night.
“I was proud of the kids for their great effort. If we clean up some of our mistakes we will be very tough to beat this coming week,” shared Strong.
Offensively for the Mounders, Heit threw for a total of 187 yards as he completed 13 out of 19 passes. He also rushed for three yards.
Tarnow led the team in receiving yards with 80. Miller had 63 yards, Mack had 30 and Gottschalk had 15.
Their lead rusher was Klemp with 121 yards and Miller followed with 22 yards.
The Hilltoppers play at home against Colfax on Friday for their homecoming game with kick-off at 7:00 p.m.