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Mounders remain at top with win over Vikings

COLFAX — It didn’t take long for the Elk Mound football team to show everyone why they are the only undefeated team in the Dunn-St. Croix Conference. After scoring on their first three possessions against Colfax, the Mounders rolled to a 42-6 win at the Lee P. Bjurquist Athletic Complex on homecoming night for Colfax Sept. 26, keeping their perfect record intact at 6-0 with two more games left on the slate. The Vikings, after winning their first game of the year are now 1-5.

The Mounder defense may have set the tone for the offense when they not only stopped the Vikings after Colfax started with the ball at their own 17 yard line, they moved them backwards when Travis Nelson stopped the  ball carrier for a six yard loss and Ryan Bridges nailed the quarterback for a four yard loss. Dillon Lloyd’s punt gave Elk Mound a short field as they began at their own 40 and on a third and one, Jordan Klemp scooted down the left side for a 31 yard score and Ryan Mueller booted the extra point. Colfax went three and out and after a face mask penalty on the Vikings, Mounder quarterback Nick Heit connected on three straight passes, starting with a 12 yard completion to Dakota Tarnow, an eight yarder to Adam Gottschalk and the third one a 23 yard TD to Tarnow. The kick made it 14-0.

Colfax couldn’t get their offense in gear and a fake punt on fourth down didn’t fool anyone as Lloyd’s pass fell incomplete and the Mounders took over on the Vikings’ 40 again.  After a penalty on Colfax and another eight yard pass to Gottschalk, Heit connected with him again, this time for a 26 yard score and another Mueller kick put the score at 21-0 with 3:14 left in the quarter.

Colfax went three and out yet again and after a 14 yard run by Klemp and another face mask penalty on the Vikings, Klemp picked up another nine yard gain. But the Vikings defense didn’t break this time as they stuffed the Elk Mound runner on a fourth and one, taking over on their own 19. Moving into the second quarter, they continued to have trouble on offense and they were forced to punt again.

But on first down, Jeremiah Wait was in perfect position and picked off a Heit pass, giving the Vikings the ball back, but they gained just two yards on three plays and booted the ball back to the Mounders. On a third and nine, Heit was picked off again, this time by Ethin Kiekhafer who, normally an outside linebacker, was playing middle linebacker for the first time in place of  an injured Logan Sikora.Starting at the Mounder 36, two offsides penalties on Elk Mound set up a Lloyd to Kiekhafer touchdown pass from 25 yards out.The kick was missed but the Vikings were on the board with 5:03 left in the half.

Two more penalties on Elk Mound, both false starts, eventually led to a punt and the Vikings tried a little trickery with receiver Cody Zivcic attempting a pass but the Mounder defense had it covered and it fell incomplete. Elk Mound took over again and starting at the Colfax 35, Klemp took off on a 20 yard jaunt, and two plays later ran in from 13 yards out and the Mueller kick made it 28-6. Yeng Her put an exclamation point on the half when he sacked Lloyd for an eight yard loss as they went into the break.

“The score doesn’t show it but our defense played very well I thought,” Colfax coach Mark Maloney said. “We gave up a few big plays but we also came up with some big ones ourselves. Elk Mound had to work for their points and our kids played hard the whole game. We had three interceptions and a lot of sacks and tackles for losses. We played with more emotion in this game than we have all year and we finally played as a team.”

Elk Mound took the second half kickoff and began a drive, picking up three first downs, but Kiekhafer broke through the line and sacked Heit for a 14 yard loss, forcing a punt. The Vikings’ return man muffed it however and Elk Mound recovered it at the Colfax 21. It appeared the Vikings may have had another stop but on third and six, Heit hit Nate Mack for a 17 yard TD and Mr. Reliable Mueller gave the Mounders a 35-6 lead with 7:22 to go in the third.

But the Vikings had something left in them as they took the ball at their own 23 and moved it 47 yards on a 13 yard Lloyd to Kiekhafer completion and another pass for nine yards to Sawyer DeMoe. Then Josiah Bauer nailed Lloyd for a nine yard loss and Derrick Redwine broke up a pass attempt followed by another Lloyd incompletion on fourth down.

Heit came up throwing on first down and Wait was waiting again as he came up with his second pick of the game, giving the Vikings the ball at their own 40. Moving into the final quarter, Lloyd completed a 24 yard pass to Zivcic to put the ball on the 26 yard line of the Mounders, but a fumble by the Vikings’ running back resulted in an Elk Mound recovery. Two penalties on Elk Mound and a sack on Heit by Trevor Olson forced the Mounders to punt. The last few minutes became a sack game as the Mounders’ Jonathan Adank and Redwine dropped Lloyd for four and eight yard losses, and after  Elk Mound took the ball back, Devon Utpadel caught Heit behind the line for a six yard loss.

After a missed field goal attempt by Mueller, Colfax turned the ball over on downs and the Mounders put the finishing touches on the game with Heit throwing his fourth TD of the game to Klemp from 19 yards out and Mueller added his sixth extra point kick of the game for the final score.

“We were sharp early and ran our offense pretty well, but we took a step back with those early penalties,” Elk Mound coach Dan Pedersen said.. “We are going to have to take better care of the ball in our next two games against Mondovi and Boyceville because we won’t get it back from them very easily. Colfax really scrambled and played tough but we took that early lead and that allowed us to get away with some mistakes.”

Klemp led the Mounders in the ground game with 176 yards on 22 carries while the Vikings ran for only 26 yards as a team. Heit passed for 152 yards on an 11 for 23 performance as Gottschalk collected five of his passes for 65 yards.

Lloyd completed 10 of 19 passes for 93 yards while Jarrod Rudi was one for four. Kiekhafer snared four passes for 47 yards and Zivcic caught three along with two by DeMoe.

Colfax stays home for a game against Stephenson, Michigan this Friday with the starting time moved up to 6:00, while Elk Mound celebrates homecoming with their game against Mondovi.