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Mounders end playoff run with loss to Cardinals

PRESCOTT — Although they breezed through their first level playoff game over Grantsburg last week, the Elk Mound football team found the going a lot rougher when they traveled to Prescott for an afternoon game Saturday, Oct. 27. Facing off against a much bigger and more physical Cardinal team which finished 4-3 in the Middle Border Conference, the Mounders were held scoreless until the fourth quarter as they dropped the second round game 33-15.

In what can now be announced as the final game for Mounder head coach Dan Pedersen, his team was held to just 37 yards on the ground and 178 in the air, most of which came in the fourth quarter. Prescott took a 13-0 lead after a quarter of play on a 37 yard run and a one yard run as they moved the ball down field methodically on both drives.

The Mounder’s defense stepped up and held Prescott scoreless in the second quarter, but their offense was unable to do anything with the ball against the Cardinal linemen.

“We just couldn’t block their big linemen, especially the Jacobson kid,” Pedersen said. “They are such a physical team playing out of a tough conference, and their power running game wore us down. And their ability to get into our backfield just disrupted our whole offense. We had to try and change our game plan and that doesn’t usually work. Our quarterback (Nick Heit) was harassed all game and it’s hard to find receivers if you don’t have any time to look for them. There were just no holes for our running back (Jordan) Klemp to get through either. Prescott will play Colby, the defending state champion next and I think they will give them a good game.”

Prescott added another touchdown in the third quarter on a five yard run and the Mounders finally took the goose egg off the scoreboard when Heit connected with Will Miller for an 18 yard TD pass in the final quarter and later on found Dakota Tarnow in the endzone for an 11 yard scoring pass. Ryan Mueller booted an extra point after the first score and the Mounders added a two point conversion after the second one, but the Cardinals continued to roll with 13 more points in the quarter to stay in control.

After running for over 200 yards against Grantsburg, Klemp was held to 37 yards on the ground on 15 carries while Heit did all the passing, completing seven of 24 for 178 yards. Tarnow snagged two of the passes for 74 yards and Miller grabbed one for 18 yards.

“It was a tough way to end our season but I couldn’t be more proud of this team,” Pedersen said. “To win the conference with the number of good teams in it was a big accomplishment for us. Our seniors really dedicated themselves to the program over the summer and went to camps and worked in the weight room a lot to become better players and teammates. It was a good run for us,” he added.

And if anyone would know what a good run is, it would be Pedersen as he concluded his 39th year leading the Mounders. More about his stellar career will come in another story.