ELK MOUND — It wasn’t an easy win but in the end, the Elk Mound football team held on for a 21-14 victory against the Mondovi Buffaloes on a cool, windy night in Elk Mound Oct. 5.
When these two teams play, it always seems to come right down to the end, and this game was no exception as the Mounders held a 14-6 lead in the fourth quarter but had to hold off a surging Buffalo offense to seal the deal The win clinched at least a tie for the conference championship and the Mounders can win it outright with a win at Boyceville this Thursday night.
Quarterback Nick Heit got Elk Mound on the scoreboard with a one yard run with 3:52 left in the first quarter, but something went wrong on the extra point kick attempt, putting the score at 6-0. The Buffaloes knotted things up in the second quarter when Ian Scott ran in from five yards out, but the two point run was stopped. Elk Mound’s defense stepped up as Dakota Tarnow picked off a Mondovi pass in the endzone during the quarter and ran it back 30 yards but the half ended with the score still tied.
“This was a tough game against a hard nosed, physical team,” Elk Mound coach Dan Pedersen said. “Mondovi is very difficult to run on and every yard we got on the ground was hard earned.”
Jordan Klemp put the Mounders ahead with a 15 yard scamper at the 10:04 mark of the third quarter and with a two point pass from Heit to Tarnow, the third stanza ended with Elk Mound up 14-6. Klemp gave his team some breathing room when he scored on a three yard run to go with a Ryan Mueller extra point kick for a 21-6 lead with 11:42 to go in the game but that was way too much time for the Buffaloes as they closed the gap less than a minute later on a one yard TD run by Nick Van Vleet and a two point conversion run by Brett Vetterkind.
The Mounders went three and out twice but forced Mondovi to punt in between those possessions, and when the Buffaloes had the ball late in the game, a fourth down play was stopped by the Mounder defense, giving them the ball, allowing them to run out the clock.
“Our defense really had to rise to the occasion and stop them in the final minutes,” Pedersen said. “We will have another tough one next week at Boyceville and it should be another physical game. I think the competition in our conference from top to bottom was better this year than it has been in many years.There will be several teams moving on to playoffs from our conference.”
The passing game continues to be a big part of the Mounder offense as Heit completed 16 of 27 passes for 176 yards as Nate Mack snared seven of them for 60 yards, Adam Gottschalk grabbed four for 76 yards and Tarnow caught four for 45 yards. Klemp rushed for 70 of the Mounders 78 yards. The Buffaloes totaled 217 yards with 180 on the ground.
This is the 14th conference championship for Pedersen in 39 years of coaching–all for Elk Mound.They are the only undefeated team in the conference at 5-0 and are 7-0 overall. Only St. Croix Central has a shot at a tie for the conference title and they will host Glenwood City on Thursday night.