Mounders end season with loss to Panthers

HAMMOND — A rather dismal season came to an end for the Elk Mound football team when they traveled to  St. Croix Central to face the Panthers in their season finale Oct. 18.

 The Panthers were sitting with two conference wins and needed a third to become playoff eligible while the Mounders wanted to win their first conference game and avoid landing in the cellar of the Dunn-St. Croix Conference. In the end, the Panthers stormed out for an early lead and finished off with a 41-6 win.

The young team coach Dave Lew had to work with this year became even younger for this game when senior starting quarterback Travis Nelson along with senior receiver/defensive back Adam Gottschalk were on the sidelines for their final game with injuries. Central scored just 19 seconds into the game when Dante Carlson shot down the field from 71 yards out and an extra point kick made it 7-0. But the Mounders held them in check the rest of the quarter. Central added a rushing touchdown in the second quarter for a 14-0 halftime lead then came up with another one on the ground in the third, then scored on a fumble recovery in the fourth for a 34-0 lead. The Mounders took the goose egg off the scoreboard as freshman quarterback Dane Lew connected with Jon Storing for a 15 yard scoring pass with 43 seconds left in the game. On the ensuing kickoff, Tony Berg took it back 94 yards for the Panthers final points.

Lew completed nine of 26 passes for 117 yards with Storing snaring five of them for 81 yards and Austin Hanson caught four for 47 yards. Noah Zurbuchen led the ground game with 52 yards on 23 carries and Hunter Alexander added 44 yards on 23 attempts.

The Mounders ended the season 1-8 overall and 0-6 in conference play.

“I felt our boys played hard all season and we got better every game,” coach Lew said. “Our boys never gave up in any game and played until the final whistle no matter what. Even though they were hurt, Travis and Adam were on the sidelines this game and they were great teachers and coaches for our younger players which said a lot about our seniors this year.”