GLENWOOD CITY – As the old saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” and that is just what the Glenwood City football team followed as they won their homecoming game 32-21 over Colfax Sept. 21. After rushing for 370 yards in a win over Melrose, MN, the Toppers again used their powerful running game to amass 359 yards on the ground, and the defense stepped up big by holding the Vikings to just 28 rushing yards for the whole game.
“We did what we set out to do,” said Topper’s head coach Shane Strong. “We wanted to play physical and aggressive up front and we did just that. We rushed for 375 yards running three running plays. We don’t have a large number of plays, we expect to execute our rules up front.”
“Our defense was outstanding. We gave up 16 yards rushing on 25 carries on the night. We attacked the line of scrimmage when they ran iso and did not give them any room to run the football,”added Strong.
The Toppers took control from the opening drive as they moved the ball from their own 27 yard line to the endzone on five plays. Most of the yardage came on the first play on a long run by Isaac Tuttle with a Colfax penalty tacked on, putting the ball at the six yard line. Tuttle took the ball in from the two on a fourth and one, then ran the two point conversion in for an 8-0 lead with 9:59 to go in the quarter.
Colfax came right back however as quarterback Dillon Lloyd threw a pass that was tipped by the Topper defender and fell into the hands of Cody Zivcic who raced 73 yards down the sideline for six points. The extra point kick was good, keeping Glenwood up by a point with 9:03 showing on the clock.
But Tuttle, Jeff Kopacz and quarterback Nick Mrdutt kept the Vikings on their heels as they ate up over four minutes on 11 plays, starting on their own 32 yard line. Nine of those plays were running as Kopacz rattled off a 28 yard run in the midst to get the ball to the Colfax 10. Tuttle took it in from there but the two point run was stopped, putting the Topper lead at 14-7 with 4:21 left in the stanza.
Glenwood added to their total via the air in the second quarter as Mrdutt connected with Matt Schouten for a 12 yard scoring strike at the 5:33 mark of the quarter for a 20-7 lead and that’s how the first half ended.
After forcing the Vikings to punt on their first possession of the third quarter, the Toppers, despite having four penalties called on them (three for holding) went on yet another long, time-consuming drive that included 17 plays and almost nine minutes. They converted a fourth and one in the drive on a Tuttle run, and on fourth and nine from the Colfax 25, Mrdutt found Schouten again for six points and a 26-7 lead with 1:32 left in the quarter.
They continued to pour it on as Kopacz slipped through the line and scampered in from 30 yards away with 9:44 left in the game, giving them a 32-7 lead. With the game now in hand for the Toppers, both Glenwood City coach Shane Strong and Colfax coach Mark Maloney allowed some underclassmen to get some varsity experience at this point, and the Vikings, after recovering two Hilltopper fumbles, scored twice when freshman quarterback Jarrod Rudi found Ethin Kiekhafer in the endzone for a pair of touchdowns. The first was from 10 yards out with 5:22 left and the second one came with 1:05 to go in the game. The Toppers then recovered an onside kick attempt and ran out the clock.
Tuttle and Kopacz both went over the 100 yard mark rushing as Tuttle had 164 yards on 16 carries and Kopacz finished with 110 yards on 12 attempts. Adding 57 yards by Mrdutt on eight runs gave the Toppers a triple threat, and Mrdutt also showed another dimension to the offense as he connected on six of nine passes for 80 yards with the two TDs to Schouten. Backup quarterback Blake Ramsden was 3 for 3 in the passing department for 34 yards. Schouten led the receiving corp with six receptions for 91 yards while Riley Knops, Kopacz and Jacob Hierlmeier all snared one each.
Glenwood City was whistled for 12 penalties in the game, nine of them in the second half, and they also turned the ball over three times, all on fumbles.
“Two of our fumbles were commited by second string kids. We subbed in some kids while colfax continued to blitz their first team backers,” Strong said. “We need to clean up the penalties. We are playing very aggressive football, but we cannot afford the holding calls when we are driving the football well.”
Up next is a trip to Mondovi this Friday. Now with two conference wins, and the last three games all conference games, the Toppers have a chance to make the playoffs by winning at least one of them. After Mondovi they host Boyceville and play on the road against St. Croix Central.
“we have been working hard on our passing game the past couple of weeks. Nick is doing a nice job throwing when he is out of the pocket. If we can continue to run the football well our play-action passing will be very successfu,” concluded the coach.