By Kelsie Hoitomt
MENOMONIE — The Bulldogs took one to the chin last Friday night on the gridiron at the UW-Stout complex where they were hosted by the Spring Valley Cardinals.
Due to reconstruction of their football field, the Cardinals have been playing their “home” games in Menomonie. They are currently 2-2 in the DSC conference after beating the Bulldogs 32-14.
It was a somber performance by the Bulldogs as they only reached the endzone two times, once in the third quarter and once in the fourth.
The game began with Wyatt Hansen receiving the kick off for the Bulldogs, which started their first possession on their own 37 yard line. Fourth down would come up with the ball on the 46 so Brett Boda was called to punt.
The Cardinals would start their first drive on their own 13 yard line. Tyler O’Keefe and Logan Newton would carry the ball to the 32 for another first down.
It was then that O’Keefe would shoot down the field for a 60 yard touchdown run. Bryan Bednarek kicked the field goal for a 7-0 start to the game with 6:42 left in the quarter.
The Bulldogs were again forced to punt on their next possession, which set the Cardinals on their own 38 yard line.
The Cardinals marched the ball down the field until it was resting on the one yard line. It was then driven into the endzone for a touchdown by Zach Newton. The field goal was blocked by the Bulldogs, which put the first quarter score at 13-0 with a minute remaining.
The second quarter would begin with the Bulldogs on their own 35 yard line. A pass from Hunter Anderson to Buddy Hanestad would be good for the Bulldogs’ first, first down of the game.
However, the following pass was intercepted by James Hannack and the Cardinals took over the possession on the 20 yard line.
Two plays and a flag on Boyceville would put the Cardinals on the Bulldogs’ 14 yard line. This would result in the Cardinals third touchdown of the game after Logan Newton ran it in. The two-point conversion was unsuccessful so with 9:47 left in the half, the Cardinals were up 19-0.
Again fourth down would come up for the Bulldogs, but this time with just four yards to go, they decided to go for it. The pass was unsuccessful, which resulted in the Cardinals taking over on downs on their own 46.
The following drive was a painful one for the Bulldogs as two players went out of the game after Justin Schultz suffered a neck injury and Tyler Draeger aggravated an ankle issue.
The Cardinals would also score another touchdown after Zach Newton tossed up a 53 yard pass to Logan Newton. The extra point attempt by Bednarek was unsuccessful, but the scoreboard still read a lead of 25-0.
The Bulldogs would be in reach of their first touchdown on their next drive after Anderson threw a beautiful spiral pass to Brady Schutts. However, a Cardinal defender was in the air with Schutts at the same time and he wrestled the ball out of Brady’s hands for an interception.
The Cardinals would take over inside the five yard line. A flag and a run for a first down would push the Cardinals away from their own endzone.
With seconds left on the clock, Zach Newton again went to the air with the ball, which landed perfectly in the hands of Jed Schlegel for a 75 yard touchdown to end the first half 32-0.
The opening of the third quarter would see both teams punt on their first possessions. The Bulldogs earned their first break of the game after Boda recovered a fumble, which put the Bulldogs on the Cardinal’s 41.
With a fourth down and six yards to go, Anderson completed a pass to Boda for the first down. Another pass completion to Hanestad put the ball on the 23 yard line of the Cardinals. Logan McAbee-Thomas then ran nine yards for yet another first down.
With the ball now on the 14 yard line, it was again McAbee-Thomas who got his hands on the ball and ran it in for the Bulldogs’ first touchdown of the game. The two-point conversion was no good, but the Bulldogs were now on the board with the score at 32-6.
The Cardinals would again lose the ball on their next drive, which was recovered by Travis Schmidt.
This would bring up the fourth quarter as well as a punt on the Bulldogs as they were unsuccessful at moving the ball anywhere after the recovery.
The final 12 minutes would dwindle down with little action on the field between either teams until the Bulldogs got their hands on the ball with just under two minutes.
Boyceville took over on downs on their own 15 yard line. With a third down and 11 to go, they got a first down, which put them on the 28.
The Cardinals then intercepted the ball from the Bulldogs, but a flag on them gave Boyceville the second chance they needed.
With 18 seconds on the clock, McAbee-Thomas broke through the line and ran 57 yards down the field for the final touchdown of the game. Morse rolled into the endzone for the two-point conversion to put the score at 32-14.
Morse had 25 yards on offense against the Cardinals with two points scored. It was McAbee-Thomas that led the Bulldogs offense with 120 total yards and 12 points.
Anderson chalked up the rest of the yardage for the team with 79, which totaled 224 total offensive yards for the Bulldogs.
As quarterback, Anderson had five completions on 12 attempts for 37 yards passing. His completions were successful to Boda for 22 yards, Hanestad for 14 yards and Jake McIntyre for one yard.
On the other side, the Cardinals had 398 total yards of offense with total of 132 receiving and 266 rushing.
The Bulldogs will host the Glenwood City Hilltoppers this coming Friday, October 4 with kick-off starting at 7:00 p.m.