Hilltoppers slay Spartans 77-6 at home opener

By Kelsie Hoitomt

GLENWOOD CITY – The Glenwood City football team dominated on their new field last Friday night with a 77-6 victory over the St. Paul Academy Spartans Co-op team.

The Spartans are a co-operative partnership between St. Paul Academy and Summit School, Mounds Park Academy, Great River School and the Twin Cities Academy. They finished their 2012 season with a record of 1-8.

 The Toppers welcomed the opposing team as well as parents and fans to their first official home game under the bright lights on their recently finished football field.

The night started with a standing ovation from the fans in the bleachers as the defending Division 7 State Champions burst through a banner on the field.

Then members from the Glenwood City and Downing American Legion Posts presented the American Flag and hoisted it up the new flag pole as the band played the National Anthem.

To start the game, the Hilltoppers received the kickoff with Isaac Tuttle in the backfield and he ran the ball to the Spartans’ 45 yard line.

Then a pass from Nick Mrdutt to Jake Hierlmeier set the Toppers up for first and goal with the ball on the three yard line. That play led to the first touchdown of the game after Nathan Mrdutt carried the ball in for a 6-0 score in under a minute.

The Spartans would run three plays and be forced to punt, which set the Toppers up for their next sequence of plays that led to their second touchdown of the game.

A huge run by Jeff Kopacz put the Toppers within scoring distance. Then a nine yard pass from Mrdutt to Tuttle sealed the deal. Tuttle again put the ball in the endzone for the two-point conversion for a 14-0 score with nine minutes still left in the first quarter.

On the following drive the Spartans were again forced to punt, which put the Toppers on their own 27 yard line. The strong legs of Nathan Mrdutt then pushed the team to a first down. Nick Mrdutt tossed up the ball to Hierlmeier who managed to snag it by his finger tips to set the team on the 15 yard line.

The ball was snapped and Mrdutt again hurled the ball through the air and connected with Kopacz for the touchdown reception. Mrdutt himself would kick the ball for the extra point.

The Spartans next drive would end on downs after their quarterback Michael O’Shea attempted to make a ten yard run for the first down, but failed.

The Toppers took over on their own 23 yard line. Billy Norenberg got his hands on the ball and ran for 25 yards, which set the team in position for what would be their fourth touchdown of the game.

With the ball on their own 48 yard line, Mrdutt handed it off to Tuttle and he sprinted down the field for a 52 yard run. The kick was no good, but the Toppers were still ahead, 27-0.

The Hilltoppers would score two more times before the first quarter came to an end. Kopacz had a huge 70 yard touchdown run down the right side of the field and Nathan Mrdutt put the ball in the endzone for the extra two points for a 35-0 score.

The final score would come from Tuttle with just over a minute left in the quarter, he ran for 51 yards. The extra point gave the Toppers the 42-0 lead after the first 12 minutes.

The first quarter itself lasted nearly an hour and half with six of the 11 touchdowns scored.

The Spartans would start the second quarter with the ball, which put them in motion for their first and only touchdown of the game.

O’Shea was able to complete a handful of passes and finally connected with Dalante Peyton for a 10 yard touchdown reception, however the two-point conversion attempt failed so the score was 42-6.

The Toppers answered back with a touchdown of their own after they worked their way down the field to the two yard line where Nathan Mrdutt pushed through the pack of Spartans for the score.

Norenberg would score the final touchdown of the first half on a 14 yard run, which put the Toppers ahead 56-6 when the clock wound down to halftime.

Tuttle would burn up the field after the half with yet another massive run of 75 yards for a touchdown.

Their next touchdown was scored after the Spartans fumbled the ball, which would be recovered by Todd Petersen.

Nick Mrdutt then kept the ball to himself and sprinted into the end zone for a 17 yard run to put the score at 71-6 with a little over four minutes still left in the third quarter.

The quarter would come to an end and the final 12 minutes would be put up on the clock. Coach Shane Strong again putsome of his varsity players on the bench and the younger players began to take the field.

Freshman Jake O’Meara became the go-to running back for the Hilltoppers in the fourth quarter. He had six carries for 38 yards with six of those yards putting him in the end zone for the Toppers final touchdown of the game.

All together, the Hilltoppers posted 11 touchdowns with 114 receiving yards and 610 rushing yards for a grand total of 724 yards against the Spartans.

Nick Mrdutt ended the night at quarterback with five completions on six attempts for the 114 yards with two touchdown passes. He also had three carries himself for 58 yards and the one touchdown.

Tuttle had the game high in rushing yards with 207 on just six carries. Kopacz followed with 126 yards on three carries alone. Then it was Norenberg with 94 yards on six carries, Hierlmeier had 86 yards on two catches, Nathan Mrdutt had 43 yards on seven carries and O’Meara had those six carries for 38 yards.

As for the Spartans, O’Shea was allowed just 19 completed passes on 45 attempts for 203 yards. As a team they only had nine rushing yards on 13 carries.

The Hilltoppers’ next contest will be at home this Friday night for their first conference game of the season as they face off against Elk Mound starting at 7:00 p.m.