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Vikings’ quick start, turnovers doom GC

GLENWOOD CITY — Aliymu Davis’ 86-yard return of the game’s opening kick off for a touchdown, giving the Colfax Vikings a quick 7-0 lead just 14 seconds into its Dunn-St. Croix football showdown against Glenwood City Friday, September 19, was a portent of things to come for the Hilltoppers.

A little more than a minute later, the Vikings turned the first of eight Topper turnovers – seven interceptions and a fumble – into another six points. By the end of the first quarter, Colfax held a numbing 21-0 advantage over reeling Glenwood City.

The Hilltoppers, who returned home for the first time in a month, did show some character and fortitude as it rallied for a pair of second-quarter touchdowns and their corresponding two-point conversions to cut the deficit to five points but the Vikings, with two more Toppers turnovers in hand, broke the goal line twice more in the first half before lightning caused a stoppage of play with 2:04 until intermission.

After an hour delay and an accompanying rain storm, it was decided to postpone play until the following morning.

Despite sunny skies, the forecast for a Toppers’ win remained cloudy when play resumed Saturday around 11 am. Colfax added a couple of turnover-aided scores to spoil the Hilltoppers’  homecoming 47-24.

Less than a minute had elapsed since Davis’ big scoring return and Colfax was again on the offensive.

Nick Schone’s third-down pass was picked off by the Vikings Jarrod Rudi, the first of his three interceptions, and returned 18 yards to midfield.

After a motion penalty pushed the Vikings back five yards, workhorse back Jeremiah Wait , who tallied 178 yards, uncorked a 55-yard run for the first of his two scores.

Then following a Topper punt on the next possession, Colfax marched 57 yards in 11 plays capped by Rudi’s five-yard quarterback keeper. Two plays prior on fourth and seven, a big 22-yard pass completion from Rudi to Sawyer DeMoe kept the Colfax drive alive. Rudi third PAT kick gave the Vikes a 21-0 lead with 4:07 remaining the first quarter.

“I told them to focus on their attitude and effort,” said Shane Strong, Glenwood City’s head coach, after the Toppers fell behind by 21 points in the first quarter. “Stick to the game plan and their read keys on defense and we could come back.”

The Toppers would do just that but they first had to overcome their second interception in three series.

Glenwood City put together a solid defensive effort that forced Colfax to punt after five plays.

The Toppers, who began at their own 45, needed just two plays to finally reach the end zone.

A short three-yard toss from Nick Schone to Jake Hierlmeier ended the first quarter.

Schone, who threw the ball 51 times against the Vikings for 281 yards, went back to the air to begin the second frame. He connected with senior Todd Petersen for a 53-yard touchdown strike at 11:52. Mitchell Hurtgen hauled in Schone’s pass on the conversion to make the score 21-8.

Glenwood City’s defense would again rise to the occasion. This time it allowed the Vikings just three plays before the visitors had to punt the ball away.

Glenwood City got out from under its own goal line when Schone hit Jake Hierlmeier for a 24 yard gain on first down to move the Toppers to their 32. Nate Mrdutt would later run for 11 yards on a fourth and four to give the Toppers a fresh set of downs in Colfax territory. Schone made a short connection with Mitchell Hurtgen of five yards and then tossed back-to-back completions to Jake Hierlmeier. After an incompletion, Hierlmeier was again targeted for a catch of ten yards and a first down at the Vikings’ 13. On second down, Mrdutt took a screen pass and rambled down the middle of the field to pay dirt with 5:48 left in the half. Petersen caught Schone’s conversion pass to slice the Vikings’ lead to five at 21-16.

An opportunity for the Toppers to take the lead presented itself two plays later when Jake O’Meara scooped up a Jeremiah Wait fumble to put GC on the Colfax 47. But two incompletions and a pass for no gain forced the Toppers to punt.

Colfax needed just five plays to move 74 yards. Wait ran for 26 yards and a 39-yard pass completion from Rudi to DeMoe set up an Andrew Adix six-yard score with 2:21 left in the half. Rudi added his fourth extra point kick to push the Vikings lead back to double digits at 28-16 as the lightning storm approached.

The Toppers very next possession ended in disaster when Schone’s attempted first-down pass to Hierlmeier was tipped and then picked out of mid air by Colfax senior defensive lineman Ben Kragness and returned 27 yards to the end zone for the Vikings second score in 17 seconds.

Lightning and then storms would postpone the contest for 14-plus hours.

When the game resumed the next morning, it picked up where play had been suspended. Rudi kicked the extra point at 2:04.

Unfortunately things did not improve for the Toppers. They had to punt on Saturday’s first offensive foray. Although GC got one last chance before half, Schone’s pass was picked off by Rudi and returned 43 yards to finally bring the half to a close.

The game moved directly into the second half and saw the Toppers put together its final scoring drive.

Jake O’Meara had a nice 26-yard return of the second half kick off to set Glenwood City up at the 50.

Two incompletions and a fumble seemed to put a quick end to the Toppers drive but an unsportsmanlike conduct call on the Vikings, who were flagged 14 times for 117 yards, gave the Toppers a first down.

Glenwood City made the most of its reprieve. Mrdutt ran for 15 and four yards, Petersen had a catch for 21 and seven yards. Another pass, this time to Hierlmeier, netted six yards and a first and goal at the Colfax two. Mrdutt would break that into a pair of two, one-yard runs, the latter good for a touchdown with 8:32. Mrdutt ran in the conversion and the Toppers closed to within 35-24.

But Colfax turned two more Topper interceptions into touchdowns – one in the third and the other one the first play of the final quarter to account for the 47-24 final. Wait’s five-yard run at 4:55 of the third upped the Vikes lead to 41-24. The Vikes’ final score came on a 27-yard pass completion from Rudi to DeMoe.

Glenwood City would get three more chances to score but a punt, yet another interception, and then a fumble allowed Colfax to run out the clock for the victory.

The Toppers finished with 330 yards of offense. Schone was 21-51 passing for 281 yards with two touchdowns and seven picks. Mrdutt lead the ground game with 13 carries for 53 yards and a score.

The Vikings tallied 233 yards rushing and another 166 passing lead by Wait’s 178 yards.

Glenwood City, now 3-2 and 1-1 in the Dunn-St. Croix, will travel to Mondovi this Friday.