BOYCEVILLE — A good start is, well, just that – good.
But, as the saying goes, its how you finish that really counts.
Boyceville got off to a good start when they hosted Spring Valley in a crucial Dunn-St. Croix football match-up at Evenson Field Friday, September 26.
The Bulldogs took an early 7-0 lead as the familiar pass connection of Hunter Anderson and Brady Schutts put Boyceville in the end zone on its second possession of the first quarter.
Unfortunately, the Bulldogs were unable to find their way back to pay dirt the rest of the contest.
Instead, Spring Valley posted a pair of second-quarter touchdowns to take a 12-7 lead into intermission and then ground out two more scores spearheaded by senior back Matthew Fesenmaier’s 150-yard, two-touchdown performance propelling the Cardinals to a 26-7 road win.
Boyceville’s second straight loss and first at home this season, seriously dashed hopes of a conference title as it fell to 1-2 in conference action.
“It was a very physical game, they just made more big plays than we did,” said Brian Roemhild, Boyceville head coach.”
“We need to score more points than we have in the last two games and that falls on me as a coach,” added Roemhild.
Boyceville found success on its second possession of the game after a short Spring Valley punt gave the Bulldogs the ball at midfield.
After Logan McAbee-Thomas was stopped for no gain on a first-down run, Sam Hellmann carried for four yards and Hunter Anderson threw an eight-yard completion to Mitch Leach for a fresh set of downs at the Cardinal 38.
Boyceville received a free five yards thanks to a Spring Valley offside. On the first and five, McAbee-Thomas ran outside for 13 yards. But a pair of runs that netted nothing left Boyceville facing a third and 10. Anderson dropped back to pass, scrambled right and hit Brady Schutts in the end zone on a 20-yard pass to put the Bulldogs on the board at 6:01 of the first quarter. Jake Lake booted the extra point to give the homestanding Bulldogs a 7-0 advantage.
The teams’ next three possessions would each end with punts.
It was not until the second quarter that the Cardinals would finally get its offense on track.
Cardinal quarterback Remington Schneider scampered 24 yards to put Spring Valley on the board. But the Cardinals still trailed, 7-6, after the PAT was blocked by Boyceville.
Unable to sustain a drive, Boyceville had to punt possession of the ball back to Spring Valley.
The Cardinals obliged and took the ball downfield for a second score. This time Matthew Fesenmaier finished off with a three-yard scoring plunge that would give Spring Valley the lead for good. Logan Newton misfired on the extra point kick but Spring Valley took a 12-7 lead into the halftime break.
The teams swapped punts to open the second half.
The stalemate would not last long.
Spring Valley turned its second possession into points. The Cardinals moved 75 yards for the score. The big strike came on a 64-yard score pass from Remington Schneider to Jed Schelgel with 5:18 to play in the third quarter. Fesenmaier tacked on the conversion run to increase the Cardinals lead to 20-7.
The Cardinals’ running game began to wear down the Bulldogs’ defense as the game moved into the final quarter.
Spring Valley would begin its final scoring march just a few second into the fourth stanza.
After fielding a Boyceville punt at their own 18, Spring Valley stayed with their ground game as they carried the ball eight straight times for 37 yards. Jed Schlegel spelled Fesenmaier picking up 16 yards in three carries.
Schlegel then hauled in a 15-yard Schneider pass to move the Cardinals to the Boyceville 15. Four plays later on a fourth and one, Fesenmaier took the handoff and plowed six yards for his second touchdown of the game with 3:04 left to play to make it 26-7 in favor of Spring Valley.
With little time left, Boyceville moved quickly downfield with a big 34-yard pass from Anderson to Schutts setting up a first and goal at the Valley eight.
An illegal motion penalty sent the Bulldogs back to the 13. But the scoring opportunity and the game ended on four straight pass incompletions.
Boyceville had a tough day moving the ball on the ground as it finished with only 54 yards rushing led by Logan McAbee-Thomas’ six carries for 20 yards. Hunter Anderson finished with 17 yards on 9 hauls. Anderson finished with 157 yards passing, hitting on 9 of 25 attempts for one score and two interceptions.
Matthew Fesenmaier led Spring Valley as he netted 150 of the Cardinals 215 yards rushing. Remington Schnieder was an efficient 5 for 7 for 87 yards and a score.
Boyceville will look to end its 2-game skid this Friday, October 3 when it travels to Glenwood City to face the rival Hilltoppers, who are coming off a 30-22 overtime win in Mondovi. Both teams are currently 4-2.