By Kelsie Hoitomt
BOYCEVILLE – It was quite the homecoming game to remember in Boyceville on Friday as the entire team took the center of the field and surrounded ten year old Tyler Schmidt to cheer and hug and shake hands over the 32-8 victory against the Spring Valley Cardinals.
Tyler and his parents, Jeremy and Connie and his sister Kayla were given a signed game ball after the game and the family was given money that was donated to Tyler to help with the medical expenses due to the rare form of cancer he was diagnosed with.
It was a humbling sight to see a group of young men, some who were just meeting Tyler for the first time, all come together to make one boy’s dream come true for a night.
The energy of the game escalated fairly quickly in the first quarter when senior Matt Leach intercepted a pass thrown by Cardinal quarterback Zach Newton.
The Bulldogs took clear advantage of the interception as they started on their own 40 yard line and moved the ball down the field and into the end zone for the first touchdown of the game by Zach Klassen.
Dominic Olson took the hand off by Leach for the two-point conversion run to put the Bulldogs on the board 8-0 with 10:44 left in the second quarter.
The Bulldogs would go on to score their second touchdown after Newton was sacked by Will Kraft, which forced the Cardinals to punt.
The legs of Kraft and Klassen would carry the team down the field to the five yard line where Kraft ran the ball in for his first touchdown of the night.
Josh Cormican would step in the quarterback position for the two-point conversion play that went as a pass to Leach to put the Bulldogs ahead 16-0 with three minutes left in the first half.
The first half would end with two fumbles, one by the Cardinals and another by the Bulldogs that would be recovered by Spring Valley.
With 28 seconds left on the clock, Bulldog Ryan Williams stepped in front of a last chance effort pass by Newton for an interception. The Bulldogs took a knee to end the half 16-0.
The Bulldogs would receive the kick to start the second half of the game with the ball on their own 34 yard line.
Klassen and Kraft would take the drive to the five yard line, but a pass by Leach was intercepted in the end zone by Newton who ran the ball for 46 yards.
Newton took complete control of the drive as he ran the ball from their own end zone to the two yard line of the Bulldog’s goal where he finally handed it off to Jason Turner for the touchdown.
The Cardinal’s two-point conversion play by Tyler O’Keefe was successful to cut the score in half 8-16 with 4:49 left in the third quarter.
The Bulldogs would be forced to punt on their following drive, but Leach would redeem himself as he grabbed his third interception of the game for a 12 yard run to put the Bulldogs on their own 14 yard line.
The ball would be handed off to Klassen who broke through the line for a Bulldog touchdown. Cormican ran the two-point conversion in to put the Bulldogs ahead, 24-8 with 7:04 left in the game.
The punishment would continue as the Cardinals following drive would be short lived after Leach picked off his fourth interception to give the Bulldogs the ball on the 49 yard line.
Klassen was then handed the ball and he managed to find an opening in the line, which resulted in a 47 yard touchdown run.
Tyler Draeger was given the ball on the two-point conversion play to make the score 32-8 with just under six minutes left in the game.
The Bulldog’s defense would hold the Cardinals till the clock ran out of time, leaving the Bulldogs with a homecoming victory and four touchdowns for Tyler on the night.
The Bulldogs rushed for 263 yards with Klassen leading the team with 24 carries and 177 yards. Kraft had 17 carries for 68 yards, Leach had three carries for 12 yards, Draeger had two carries for three yards and Jordan Morse had one carry for one yard.
Leach had three yards passing with Cormican on the reception.
There were six interceptions with Leach earning four of them and Cormican and Williams each had one.
“We had a great crowd and it was a special day doing this for Tyler, which gave the boys even more inspiration. We have a lot of things to work on but we are just trying to improve every game. Spring valley came out and played us hard right from the start, it was a battle up front and the line did a good job and the backs ran really well,” said coach Brian Roemhild.
The Bulldogs next game is this Friday in Glenwood City against the Hilltoppers starting at 7:00 p.m.