Hilltoppers shut out Panthers in 42-0 gridiron victory

By Kelsie Hoitomt

GLENWOOD CITY – The Glenwood City football team hosted their last regular season game at home for the year after playing against the St. Croix Central Panthers last Friday night. They shut out the Panthers in a 42-0 victory.

The first quarter of the game saw the Hilltoppers plagued with penalties including an unsportsmanlike conduct and a holding call, which would force them to punt the ball away.

Despite the set backs, Isaac Tuttle would put the ball in the end zone on a 37 yard reception for the first touchdown of the game at 3:33 in the first quarter.

The second quarter would start off with a bang after the Panthers fumbled the ball and the Hilltoppers would recover it on the 44 yard line.

This possession would put Tuttle in the end zone again. Nick Mrdutt tossed the ball up to Jeff Kopacz for the two-point conversion and a 14-0 score.

The Panthers would be forced to punt on their next drive after Jason Matteson was sacked by Jordan Hill.

Tuttle carried the ball to the Panthers’ 42 yard line and that set the Hilltoppers up for yet another touchdown. This time it was Kopacz who hit the end zone after a 42 yard sprint. He held onto the ball again for the two-point conversion to put the Toppers ahead 22-0 with 7:48 left in the half.

The Toppers’ defense was strong and this led to yet another Central punt on fourth down.

The Toppers started on their own 33 and quickly moved down the field near the 15 yard line after a huge run by Kopacz. However, a flag was thrown and the call sent the Toppers back to their own 31.

The Toppers were again held up by an error after the ball was fumbled and recovered by the Panthers.

The Panthers got one play completed before Kopacz stepped in front of a pass by Matteson for an interception, which put the Toppers on Central’s 34.

The Hilltoppers’ entire possession had Kopacz’s name written all over it after he finished their drive with his second touchdown of the game on another reception from Mrdutt for over 20 yards to put the score at 28-0 at the half.

The third quarter would start with the Hilltoppers in possession of the ball on their own 20 yard line. Billy Norenberg and Tuttle would carry the ball for two, first downs in the drive.

With the count at fourth down and one to go on the nine, the Panthers held the Toppers, which resulted in Central taking over on the ten yard line.

The Toppers would quickly get the ball back though after the Panthers were forced to punt after three plays.

That punt would set the Hilltoppers up with perfect field position as they were on Central’s 30 yard line. They quickly moved to the 15 after a ten yard run by Kopacz and a five yard run by Tuttle were completed.

A flag on the Toppers set them back a few yards, but Kopacz surged forward for a first down on the six yard line.

With the ball resting three yards from the end zone, Tuttle pushed past the defenders for the third quarter touchdown. The extra point was no good, but the Toppers were up 34-0 now with 2:54 on the clock.

The Toppers’ next drive would start on the 35 yard line after the Panthers were unsuccessful on their attempt at fourth down and one.

From the 35 they would advance to the 46 on scramble from Mrdutt, which was good for a Hilltopper first down. Kopacz would then carry the ball 12 yards for yet another first down with 49 seconds left in the quarter.

The fourth quarter would start with the Toppers on the Panthers’ 23 yard line. Mrdutt would get his second first down of the possession after carrying the ball from the 18 yard line to the three.

Again the ball rested just shy of the goal line and this time it was Kopacz who picked up the three yard gain for the Toppers’ final touchdown of the game.

Tuttle got the two-point conversion to put the score at 42-0 with 10:19 left in the game.

The final ten minutes would see the Panthers fumble the ball, but recover it and be forced to punt. The Hilltoppers would then get their hands on the ball, but lose it after a fumble of their own.

The Panthers would have possession of the ball as the clock ticked down. They attempted a field goal, but the ball would not fall through the uprights and the Toppers would win 42-0.

The Toppers allowed the Panthers 151 yards of passing with Matteson completing 15 of 29 attempts. The Glenwood City defensive line was solid at stopping the running game though as they only gave up 44 yards of rushing.

As for the Hilltoppers, Mrdutt threw for 105 yards and two touchdowns in just three completions. Kopacz had two receptions for 68 yards and Tuttle had the other one for 37 yards.

Tuttle had the game high rushing yards with 147 on 17 attempts. Right behind him was Kopacz with 140 total yards on 16 attempts. Norenberg rushed for 43 yards, Mrdutt had 23 and Jake O’Meara and Blayze Wood each had four.

As a team, the Hilltoppers had 361 yards of rushing for a combined total of 466 yards of offense.

The Toppers will be back under the lights this Friday night (Oct 18) for a game against the Spring Valley Cardinals, which will take place at the UW-Stout complex starting at 7:00 p.m.