ELK MOUND — Although they may have finished their senior season with just one win, seven of the eight seniors on the Elk Mound football team were all a big part of a conference championship team their junior year. They also went on to win their first playoff game 42-6 over Grantsburg, a feat which hadn’t been accomplished since the 2004 season.The team lost many starters from that team through graduation and the injury bug played plenty of havoc on this year’s seniors.
Adam Gottschalk was a three year letter winner for the Mounders and was named Honorable Mention All-Conference as a defensive back his junior year. He also played receiver and caught 21 passes for 281 yards and three touchdowns. His senior year, Gottschalk was named First team AC as a receiver and Second team defensive back. He led the team in receptions and in scoring, catching 25 passes for 406 yards and five TDs, averaging 16.2 yards per catch. He was also a punt returner and a kickoff returner, taking 18 kickoffs for 170 yards.
Also lettering three years, placekicker Ryan Mueller was a First Team AC selection as a sophomore and a junior. Although he didn’t have as many opportunities to kick for points this season, he finished 13 of 15 for extra points and booted a 19 yard field goal in the game against Spring Valley.
Doing the dirty work in the trenches for three seasons, Gabe Anderson played in the offensive line and had the all important duty of getting the ball to the quarterback from his center position this year. As a junior, he was a big part of a line that allowed Jordan Klemp to rush for over 1,000 yards on the season.
Two year letter winner Travis Nelson was an Honorable Mention AC pick his junior year as a defensive end and stayed in that position this season. He also took over at quarterback after taking nary a snap from center last year. He missed the last game with an injury but in eight games he completed 65 of 152 passes for 789 yards with eight TDs and 13 interceptions. He threw three of those scoring passes against the defending state champion Glenwood City team. He also ran for 62 yards and a two point conversion and was also the punter and averaged 29.3 yards a punt on 16 attempts for 469 yards.
Playing two years at the varsity level, Austin Hanson showed his versatility by rushing for 150 yards on 28 carries and catching five passes for 56 yards as a senior. He scored three touchdowns in the process, one each against Eleva-Strum, Spring Valley and Glenwood City.
Tyler Deutschlander displayed his speed as a running back for two years and after playing behind Klemp his junior year, Deutschlander was injured partway through this season. He rushed for 29 yards and picked up a pair of touchdowns on the year, one against Eleva-Strum and the other against Colfax.
Another two year letter winner, Hunter Alexander played on both sides of the ball and rushed for 88 yards as a senior and knocked down plenty of passes as a defensive back.
Derrick Redwine lettered as a senior and after running for 111 yards in just three games was also injured. He caught a five yard touchdown pass from Nelson in the win over Eleva-Strum.
Dave Lew worked with all of these boys as an assistant coach and as their head coach this season. After each game, Lew praised them for fighting through adversity when injuries plagued the team and things didn’t go as well as they hoped.
“Our seniors were great teachers and coaches for our young players,” he said. “They never gave up in any game and played until the last whistle.”