By Kelsie Hoitomt
GLENWOOD CITY — The border battle on the gridiron between Glenwood City and Boyceville ended in a Bulldog victory Friday night with a final score of 20-0.
The Bulldogs last beat the Toppers in 2011 with that final score at 42-7.
Despite the 30 degree temperature, rain and wind, the Bulldogs were able to hit the end zone three times with two successful extra point kicks.
The game started with the Bulldogs in possession of the ball. They ran 11 straight plays and took six minutes off the clock before a time out was called with the ball sitting at the Toppers’ nine yard line.
Once play resumed, Hunter Anderson was forced to scramble for no gain. Logan McAbee- Thomas then took the hand off for a gain of four yards.
The Toppers’ defense held the Bulldogs out of the end zone for two more plays and with 4:54 on the clock, the ball was turned over on downs.
The Toppers took over on their own five yard line and soon were out to the 19 after two runs by Jake Nelson and one by Jake O’Meara.
A flag was thrown and the penalty put the Toppers back five yards to their own 14.
Schone took to the air, but the pass was incomplete so he held onto the ball for the next play and ran 35 yards before getting forced out of bounds.
Schone then ran the ball to the 49 yard line, but another flag was thrown on the following play, which backed the Toppers up 15 yards.
Schone attempted to run the ball, but he gained just six yards so the Toppers were forced to punt on fourth and 19.
Brady Schutts returned the punt to the Toppers’ 45, but the picked up an extra ten yards on a holding call.
Anderson held onto the ball for a four yard gain to the 31 and then he went to the air for a pass to Schutts for 29 yards.
That play was huge for the Bulldogs as they were set up for their first touchdown of the game.
Sam Hellmann took the hand off from Anderson at the three yard line and he ran the ball into the end zone with six seconds left in the first quarter.
Jake Lake gave the ball the boot for the extra point to put the score at 7-0 after nearly 12 minutes of play.
The second quarter started with the Toppers on their own 32 yard line after Nelson returned the kick 13 yards.
Nathan Mrdutt was a work horse during this possession with a 13 yard gain that put the team at their own 45 and then an eight yard run to finally put them in Bulldog territory.
The Toppers were backed up ten yards however due to another holding call, but they regained their yardage after Schone completed a 12 yard pass to Todd Petersen.
Mrdutt carried the ball three straight times for a total gain of 24 yards and a first down, which set the ball on Boyceville’s 20.
With it second and ten, Schone connected with Mitch Hurtgen for a five yard gain. Then at third and five, Schone went with the keeper and gained three yards.
Facing fourth down, the Toppers decided to go for it, but the Bulldogs pushed back, which resulted in a loss of yards and a turn over on downs.
The Bulldogs took over on the 15 and ran to the 21 with McAbee-Thomas in charge of the ball. Anderson then moved the team up four yards before he took to the air and hit Brett Boda for a 17 yard completion.
The ball was now resting on their own 43, but their forward drive came to a halt after a pass fell incomplete and two runs resulted in a loss of yards.
Boda was forced to take the field and punt for his team.
The Toppers received the punt at their own 35, but the possession quickly changed hands after Mitch Leach caught an interception.
The Bulldogs took over at their own 43, but O’Meara got a hold of Anderson and sacked him for a loss of yards.
Anderson saw an opening on the next play and regained the yards back and then some after holding onto the ball for a 22 yard carry.
With a first down now, the Bulldogs moved up from the Hilltoppers’ 42 to the 27 after Anderson completed a pass to McAbee-Thomas.
Anderson’s next pass fell incomplete, but his following try was a success as he connected with Leach for a 27 yard touchdown reception.
Lake again set up for the extra point and it was good to put the score at 14-0 with 1:31 left to play in the first half.
Lake’s kick hit the end zone and resulted in a touchback so the Toppers started at their own 20 yard line for their final drive of the second quarter.
Schone gained six yards on a keeper, but two incomplete passes would force the punt at fourth down and four.
The Bulldogs returned the ball to their own 41 and were then backed up 15 yards due to a pass interference call before the quarter came to an end.
Nelson returned the second half kick off 31 yards to start the third quarter off for the Toppers.
With the ball at their own 41, O’Meara ran five yards, but two other run plays resulted in zero yards gained, which forced the punt.
McAbee-Thomas returned the punt to the Bulldogs’ 34. He picked up another gain for three yards and then Jordan Morse had two carries for seven yards.
The short gains moved the ball to the 50 yard line before a holding call pushed them back ten yards.
Anderson then fumbled the ball and recovered it quickly before he threw an interception to Mitch Hurtgen.
The Toppers took over on Boyceville’s 47 put three incomplete passes had them facing fourth and 25 so Schone punted the ball away.
Anderson, McAbee-Thomas and Boda all ran the ball, which put the team at their own 49.
Then Anderson’s pass fell incomplete to put the Bulldogs at fourth and six.
Boda then punted the ball, but the Toppers fumbled it and Buddy Hanestad came up with the recovery to give the Bulldogs a second chance.
With the ball now on the Toppers’ 21 yard line, McAbee-Thomas ran seven yards to put them 14 yards away from the end zone.
Anderson sprinted into the end zone on the next play for the Bulldogs’ third and final touchdown of the game.
With 2:36 left in the third quarter, the Bulldogs now led 20-0 after the extra point kick missed the uprights.
In the last two minutes, the Toppers received the ball at their own 41 and moved it to Boyceville’s 39 with the help of Mrdutt.
They were stuck at fourth and four and missed the conversion play by one yard so the Bulldogs took over on downs at their own 33.
The fourth quarter started with the Bulldogs on the 38. In 16 plays and eight minutes, they were sitting on the Hilltoppers’ three yard line.
The Bulldogs were stopped short of the goal line when Anderson’s pass landed in the hands of Nelson.
A face mask was called against the Bulldogs and then a personal foul for a total of 25 yards against Boyceville.
This pushed the Toppers to the Bulldogs’ 41 and they continued to creep forward with a run by Mrdutt for a yard, then one by Nelson and Hurtgen for a total of 12.
From the 28, the drive went dead after a pass fell incomplete and then an interception was caught by Boda with 1:09 left to play.
The Bulldogs lined up in formation and Anderson took a knee to end the game with their team winning 20-0.
“Our defense played solid as a unit,” said coach Brian Roemhild. “Our offense was more consistent, but we need to make more out of our opportunities when we are in the red zone. The kids did an excellent job of not letting the weather change our offensive game plan at all.”
On paper, the Bulldogs had a total of 303 offensive yards and the Toppers finished the night with 180.
Anderson threw 138 yards with eight completions. On the receiving end was Leach with 60 yards on three receptions.
Schutts followed with 29 yards on his one reception. Then it was Boda with 20 yards on two receptions. McAbee-Thomas had 15 yards on one reception and Hellmann had 14 yards on one reception.
Hellmann also rushed for 11 yards before leaving the game with a dislocated shoulder after taking a hard hit.
As a team the Bulldogs rushed for 165 yards with McAbee-Thomas leading. He had 72 yards on 22 carries with the Toppers holding him to an average of 3.3 yards per carry.
Anderson followed with 60 yards on 14 carries. Morse had 14 yards on four carries. Schutts had seven yards on one carry and Boda finished with a yard gain.
As for the Toppers, they had 17 yards receiving with 12 completed by Petersen and five by Hurtgen.
On the ground, Mrdutt led the night with 69 on 11 attempts. Schone himself followed with 56 on seven carries. Nelson followed with 25 yards on five carries. O’Meara finished with seven yards on three carries and Hurtgen had six yards on one run.
“I felt O’Meara and Marcus Ullom had great games combining for 25 tackles and two and half sacks. Our young guys competed well for us including our freshman corner, Jake Nelson,” shared coach Shane Strong. “You have to give Boyceville credit for playing more physical than we did, but I am proud of our kids for keeping their composure and playing the game the right way.”
The Toppers are on the road this Friday for a game against St. Croix Central. The Bulldogs will be at home to host Elk Mound with both contests starting at 7:00 p.m.
Both teams will have one more final conference game before playoffs start on October 24.