ELK MOUND — Boyceville and Elk Mound were both in search of their first conference win when the two tangled on the football field here Friday, October 11.
So something had to give.
And it would be the Mounders.
Boyceville took advantage of three Elk Mound fumbles, turning two into touchdowns, and relied on a stingy defense to secure its first Dunn-St. Croix victory in five tries this season with a hard fought 14-7 win on a perfect fall evening in Elk Mound.
With leading rusher Logan McAbee-Thomas sidelined for the remainder of the season due to a possible torn meniscus suffered in the previous week’s loss to Glenwood City, his second such injury in two seasons, the Bulldogs employed a successful three-prong ground attack that featured quarterback Hunter Anderson and running backs Jordan Morse and Tyler Draeger to get the job done.
Sophomore Jordan Morse enjoyed his best rushing effort of the season with a team and game-leading effort of 96 yards on 18 carries, Hunter Anderson finished with 85 yards and a touchdowns in a dozen hauls and Tyler Draeger carried 22 times for 57 yards.
In all, the Bulldogs, now 1-4 in the D-SC and 3-5 overall, nearly tripled the rushing total of the Mounders with 264 yards compared to 96 for the home squad. The Mounders, who fell to 0-5 and 1-7, also finished with 42 yards passing on a 4-15 performance and were intercepted once by Boyceville, who threw just one incomplete pass in the game.
Although both teams had already been eliminated from the playoffs the previous week, hard play and pride were hallmarks throughout the contest.
Boyceville would take the game’s opening kick but were able to muster only five yards in three offensive plays and had to punt.
The Bulldogs had to call on its defense for a stout performance as Brett Boda’s punt traveled just 18 yards before going out of bounds Boyceville’s own 40 yard line.
Elk Mound relied on the legs of freshman Noah Zurbuchen and Jon Storing to propel the Mounders’ offensive unit toward the Bulldogs’ goal line. Zurbuchen and Storing netted 18 and 9 yards respectively on a half dozen runs and aided by a defensive offsides, the Mounders moved down to the Boyceville eight where they were faced with a fourth and five. The Bulldogs stopped a pass from Travis Nelson to Jon Storing for no gain to take over on downs.
The Mounders would return the favor and stuffed the Bulldogs’ third and one run for a yard loss to force a punt from the 16.
Elk Mound would again have excellent field position at the Boyceville 44 following the punt. After the Bulldogs stopped Zurbuchen for no gain on a first-down run, Travis Nelson took the Mounders up top and connected with Adam Gottschalk for a 5-yard gain. Hunter Alexander then picked up nine yards and a first down at the Boyceville 30 on the ensuing run.
Zurbuchen and Alexander would add runs of five and four respectively. But the Mounders would be flagged for an illegal procedure penalty on third and one that pushed them back five yards. Zurbuchen would gain just two yards on the third-and-six run but a facemask by the Boyceville defense would give the Mounders an extra 15 yards and a fresh set of downs at the eight yard line.
An incompletion on first down and a four yard run by Zurbuchen on second, left the Mounders four yards short of the end zone. But an offsides infraction pushed the Mounders back to the nine. On third down, Nelson threw a completion to Dane Lew for a six yard gain. Despite having a reliable field goal kicker in Ryan Mueller, Coach Dave Lew opted to go for six points instead of the three on fourth down at the three. Noah Zurbuchen rewarded his coach’s decision with a three-yard scoring run with just nine ticks left in the first quarter. Mueller would add the point-after-kick to give the Mounders a 7-0 advantage.
After a pair of three and outs in their first two possessions of the game, the Bulldogs’ offense finally got on track. Boyceville started at its own 26 following the Mounders’ kickoff.
Jordan Morse gained six yards as the first quarter clock wound down.
Tyler Draeger opened the second with back-to-back runs that netted 17 yards. Morse then reeled off a 20-yard run on first down to take the Bulldogs into Elk Mound territory for the first time. The pair continued to alternate runs as they moved to the Mounders’ 30 where Boyceville was faced with a fourth down and three. Draeger busted through the line for 12 yards and an apparent first down but a yellow flag said otherwise as the Bulldogs were penalized for a hold that pushed the ball back to the Mounders’ 38. Now fourth and 11 to go, Boyceville head coach Brian Roemhild decided to punt the ball and let his defense get the ball back.
And it did just that.
Five plays later, Jacob McIntyre pounced on a fumbled pitch handoff by Mounders’ QB Travis Nelson to give the ball to Boyceville at the Elk Mound 25.
The 25 yards that separated the Bulldogs from the end zone, however, would prove to be some of the toughest to achieve. Twice Boyceville had to convert on fourth down and one but both times quarterback Hunter Anderson called his own number and gained two and three yards respectively for a fresh set of downs. The latter gave Boyceville the ball at the Mounders two. After Draeger was stood up for no gain on the first down run, Anderson again took it upon himself and swept right for two yards and dove across the goal to score the touchdown with just 1:14 left in the first half. Brady Schutts then tossed the conversion to a wide open Jacob McIntyre for two points and an 8-7 lead.
Brett Boda intercepted a Nelson pass to end the first half.
Boyceville continued to cling to its one point lead as the third quarter passed without a score. The Bulldogs put together a promising drive in the third as they consumed nearly eight minutes of the clock and 43 yards before three offensive fouls (a block in the back and two false starts) in four plays ended the Bulldogs’ drive and forced a Boda punt from the EM 39.
Elk Mound would have to punt after just three plays. Dane Lew shanked the punt which went just eight yards before going out of bounds at the EM 39.
Boyceville would gain a first down but a few plays later on a fourth and three, the Mounders tackled Jordan Morse for no gain on a run to get the ball back on downs at the 20.
The Mounders would punt after just three plays.
Boyceville’s turn with the ball would last just one play as Elk Mounds’ Brody Burgh recovered a Hunter Anderson fumble at the Bulldogs’ 38.
Elk Mound found itself going backwards as an incomplete pass was followed by consecutive illegal procedure calls. Then on third and 16, Dane Lew was hit and coughed up the ball. Boyceville’s Sam Hellmann fell on the ball to give the Bulldogs possession on their own 44.
After back-to-back illegal procedure penalties themselves, the Bulldogs finally were able to get off a play from their 34 but Hunter Anderson’s keeper went for no gain. The Mounders would have a hard time repeating that feat as Anderson ran for eight and 35 yards on the next two plays to take the Bulldogs down to the EM 23. Draeger ran for three and Morse followed for 16 yards to the Mounders’ four. On first and goal, the series ended as it began, in the arms of Sam Hellmann. The sophomore fullback took the handoff and plowed straight ahead for the four-yard touchdown run at 5:05. The conversion pass failed but the Bulldogs had a bit more breathing room with a 14-7 lead.
A few minutes later, Tyler Draeger would recover the Mounders’ third and Lew’s second fumble.
Boyceville looked to punt with just 2:10 to play. Brady Schutts bobbled the punt snap and then took off and gained six yards on the scramble and a first down. That allowed the Bulldogs to run out the clock and take a 14-7 road win.
The Boyceville defense came through when needed as it held the Mounders to just 138 yards of total offense. Zurbuchen and Storing finished with 39 and 37 yards respectively on 15 and seven carries. This was Boyceville’s second straight win over Elk Mound. The Bulldogs upset the conference champion Mounders 12-0 last year.
Boyceville will host Colfax in the 2013 season finale this Friday, October 18. The Bulldogs can play spoiler as the Vikings need a win to qualify for playoff consideration.