Toppers and defense blank Vikings

COLFAX – The Hilltoppers did not stay to script when they invaded Viking land last Friday evening.

After opening the previous four contests with rapid-fire offensive strikes en route to building large opening-quarter leads, Glenwood City’s offense was slowed by penalties and miscues and held just a slim 6-0 advantage in Colfax September 20.

 But a stalwart defensive effort from the Hilltoppers, that limited the Vikings to just a meager four rushing yards and only 56 yards in total, gave its offensive time to get on track and put up 28 points in the second quarter. Glenwood City tacked on two more touchdowns in the second half to whitewash Colfax 48-0 and remain perfect in both the conference (2-0) and overall (5-0) football standings.

“Our defense played outstanding,” said Shane Strong, Glenwood City’s head coach. “I felt we played very disciplined within the game plan and our effort was great. We improved our tackling and we were able to get a great deal of pressure on their quarterback.”

The Hilltoppers harried the Vikings’ quarterback Jarrod Rudi, sacking the sophomore signal caller five times with losses tallying 77 yards, and stonewalled Colfax’s ground game throughout the game.

That effort provided time for the Hilltoppers’ offense to find high gear.

Glenwood City’s first two drives were cut short by penalties and a turnover. The latter coming at the end of a nice 12-yard run by Nathan Mrdutt. The ball came out of Mrdutt’s hands when he was hit and spun around. Colfax pounced on the loose ball at its own 25 yard line.

The Vikings generously returned the favor when back Sawyer DeMoe coughed up the football on the first play from scrimmage and the Hilltoppers recovered it at the original line of scrimmage.

After yet another penalty, this one for holding, set the Hilltoppers back ten yards, Jeff Kopacz got a big chunk of it back with a 14 yard run. Isaac Tuttle then carried the ball on back-to-back runs for seven and five yards to give the Toppers a first and goal at the Vikings’ eight yard line. Senior quarterback Nick Mrdutt called his own number and carried into the end zone to break the scoreless deadlock at 4:48 of the first. Mrdutt, however, could not make good on the conversion run as the Toppers held to a 6-0 lead.

The Vikings would run and pass their way inside the Toppers’ 40 on the ensuing possession but a ten-yard loss on a fumbled snapped brought the drive to an end as Colfax had to punt three plays later.

The Toppers started in the shadow of its goal line at the six after Marcus Kadinger made a fair catch on the punt.

Glenwood City stayed grounded as it moved the ball 94 yards in ten plays, all via the rush for a second touchdown. Isaac Tuttle had his number called on half of those plays as he gained 46 yards including a 22 yard jaunt but it was Nathan Mrdutt that finished off the drive and the Vikings with a 38-yard scoring run at 10:36 of the second quarter. Tuttle would score on the conversion run to make it 14-0.

The Toppers’ offense was just getting started. It would add three more touchdowns in as many offensive possessions to take a 34-0 lead into the halftime break.

Marcus Kadinger’s 50-yard return of a Jarrod Rudi punt would set the Hilltoppers up at the Colfax 5-yard line. Tuttle gained three on a first-down run and Nick Mrdutt finished off the short two-play drive with a touchdown run of two yards at 8:10. The conversion run was stopped short leaving the Toppers with a 20-0 advantage.

Todd Petersen scored a sack which caused the Viking quarterback to lose the ball. Colfax did come up with the recovery but lost 20 yards. Colfax would have to punt a few plays later.

Nick Mrdutt returned the kick 13 yards to the Colfax 45.

It took the Toppers three plays to get back into the endzone on this offensive possession. Jeff Kopacz and Nathan Mrdutt had runs of five and four yards respectively to set the stage for Tuttle. On a third and one, the senior took the pitch and sped 36 yards for the touchdown, Tuttle’s first of the game. The attempt at the two-point conversion fell a yard short on Nick Mrdutt’s attempt but the Toppers had now taken a commanding 26-0 lead.

The Toppers would add another eight points to that tally before the intermission.

After a Colfax foray into Glenwood City territory again stalled and ended with a punt, Marcus Kadinger gave the Toppers another solid return this time to the Colfax 47.

In four plays, the Hilltoppers were once again standing on pay dirt when Nick Mrdutt threw a 36-yard pass to Todd Petersen for a touchdown with just 12.8 seconds remaining on the halftime clock. Tuttle tacked on the run and Glenwood City went to half with a 34-0 advantage.

Colfax took the second-half kickoff and moved it down to the Glenwood City 25 thanks in part to a pair of Topper personal foul penalties that helped sustain the drive. The Vikings’ drive, however, did stall and they turned the ball over on downs as three straight Rudi passes fell incomplete.

Again, the Toppers stayed with their running game to take the ball 75 yards in eight plays capped by Tuttle’s second touchdown run at 4:44 of the third. With Nick Mrdutt’s two-point run, Glenwood City had instituted a running clock thanks to the 42-0 lead.

But the Toppers were not quite finished putting points on the scoreboard.

After Jacob Hierlmeier and Todd Petersen registered quarterback sacks, Colfax was forced to punt from its own two to start the final 12-minute period.

After the punt and return, Glenwood City took over on the Colfax 32. Mrdutt tossed the ball to Kopacz for 17 yards on the first down play. Kopacz then took the ball for a seven-yard run before Blayze Wood scored from eight yard away to cap the Toppers scoring. The run put the Toppers in front 48-0 with 10:19 to play.

That is how the game would end as Glenwood City began subbing its reserves over the final minutes of play. Still the Vikings had difficulty moving the football and Glenwood City ran out the final 4:32.

“I was pleased with our offensive effort,” said Strong. “Colfax was a big physical team, but we were able to control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. Our running backs ran the ball with great determination.”

Isaac Tuttle led the field of back as he garnered 178 yards and two scores on 20 attempts. Nathan Mrdutt, who suffered a knee injury in the second half and will miss at least the next three games, finished with 75 yards and a score while Jeff Kopacz tallied 80 yards and Blayze Wood 38 and TD.

As a team the Toppers finished with 426 yards of offense with 373 of it coming via the run.

Glenwood City will return home this Friday to host Mondovi in the annual homecoming contest. The Buffaloes (5-0) enter the game with a half game led over the Toppers in conference play. The outcome of this game may well determine the conference championship.

“Mondovi will be a very good team. They are well coached and their kids play the game of football the way it should be played. They are physical on both sides of the ball and play with a purpose as we do,” concluded Strong. “We are excited for this challenge.”