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Bulldogs bulldoze Mounders 39-6; qualify for WIAA football playoffs

BOYCEVILLE — The Bulldogs’ offensive unit performed with lethal efficiency here last Friday evening against the Mounders.

Boyceville, playing at home for the sixth time this season, scored four, first-half touchdowns (two in each quarter) including a trio of electrifying, one-play drives to take a 26-6 halftime lead over a stunned Elk Mound squad.

The Bulldogs, who recovered five Elk Mound turnovers in the game, tacked on two more touchdowns in the second half to keep the Mounders winless in the Dunn-St. Croix football standings while they improved to 3-2 in conference play and 6-2 overall and qualified for the WIAA playoffs for the fourth time in six seasons with the 39-6 final October 10.

Junior quarterback Hunter Anderson was a model of passing efficiency as he tossed the pigskin just ten times, completing six for 90 yards and three touchdowns.

Jordan Morse helped keep the Bulldogs’ offensive attack balanced as he rushed just nine times but finished with a team-leading 102 yards that included a scintillating 66-yard gallop for Boyceville’s first score of the game.

“I thought that our offense was very effective and showed that we have some big play capability,” Boyceville head coach Brian Roemhild said of the win. “We were very balanced in the run game and very opportunistic in the passing game.”

Boyceville turned three of Elk Mound’s five turnovers in touchdowns.

Roemhild acknowledged the key role that the Mounders’ mistakes and the Bulldogs’ ability to capitalize on them played into the game.

“We focus on creating turnovers,” he said. “Our goal was to create over 25 turnovers for the season and after Friday nights game we were at 27.”

A fact, that speaks volumes for the Bulldogs defense which held the Mounders to just 137 yards rushing on 38 tries and 72 yards through the air with three picks.

“Defensively, we did a much better job of stopping the run and limiting their opportunities,” noted Roemhild.

“We have a lot of different guys that step up and play a big roll each week,” added the coach. “We try to prepare the guys for that fact that you never know when it is going to be your turn to make an impact.”

Such was the case for running back Jordan Morse.

The Boyceville junior burst into the open and out ran the Elk Mound defense for the game’s opening score – a beautiful 66-yard run – with just 2:41 left in the first quarter. Jake Lake would kick the point after for a 7-0 Boyceville lead.

The score came just one play after the Bulldogs’ defense held Elk Mound running back Hunter Adelman to just two yards on a fourth and four play from Boyce-ville’s 36 yard line.

That single play seemed to deflate the Mounders, whom until that point, had picked up three first downs and 47 yards in their first two possessions.

Boyceville took control of the game just a few plays later when the Bulldogs’ senior defensive back Tyler Stroo snared the first of his two interceptions. The pick put Boyceville on the visitors’ 25 yard line.

On a third and eight, senior Brady Schutts put the Bulldogs back in the end zone when he took the end around and went 23 yards to push the Boyceville lead to 13-0 with 1:33 remaining in the first quarter. Lake’s kick sailed wide on the point after attempt.

A block-in-the-back call on the ensuing kick-off return pushed the Mounders back to their own 12 to begin the next series. A bad, first-down snap sent Elk Mound further back as quarterback Shawn Flynn scrambled to recover the ball at the two. A few plays later, Flynn was fortunate to escape the end zone as he was sacked at the one to end the first quarter.

Cole Tyman’s 32-yard punt and Hunter Anderson’s three yard return opened the second period of play.

The Bulldogs’ offense took control at the EM 30 and went for the jugular.

For the second time in the game, Boyceville needed just one play to punctuate the end zone. This time Anderson tossed the ball to an open Brett Boda to complete the 30-yard scoring play just 15 seconds into the second quarter. Lake put foot to leather and sent the ball through the uprights for a 20-0 Boyceville advantage.

The Mounders would take their next possession on a move into territory after a 20-yard Noah Zurbuchen run and four-yard pass from Flynn to Cole Tyman help EM overcome a third and 23.

But just two plays after earning a fresh set of downs, Elk Mound gave the ball back when Zurbuchen fumbled and Boyceville’s Brett Boda pounced on the loose ball at the Mounders 42.

Hunter Anderson went up top on the first play from scrimmage and connected with Mitch Leach for the 42-yard aerial and score – Boyceville’s third, one-play scoring drive of the half. Although Lake’s PAT missed, the Bulldogs held a 26-0 lead with 7:13 to play in the half.

The Mounders would again drive into the Bulldogs’ territory only to have to punt. This time Tyman’s boot pinned Boyceville at its own one.

After gaining just five yards, Boyceville had to punt.

Elk Mound took the ball at the Boyceville 34 following a fair catch of the punt. It took just two plays for the Mounders to cover that distance and break the goal line for the first and only time in the game.

A 27-yard pass from Flynn to Jonathan Storing moved the Mounders to the seven where Noah Zurbuchen ran it in to the end zone at 2:11. The kick after missed leaving the score 26-6 in the Bulldogs favor.

Boyceville, however, was not content to sit on that lead going into the intermission.

After taking the kick off, a pass interference call moved Boyceville to its 45. A 10-yard run by Logan McAbee-Thomas and an eight yard pass to Brady Schutts had the Bulldogs at the EM 37.

It was on the next play that Hunter Anderson ran through the Mounders defense for another score but a holding penalty erased the points and set the Bulldogs back 10 yards from the spot of the foul – the EM 28.

After an incompletion and a sack pushed Boyceville back to its own 46, Anderson again got loose and ran down the middle of the field for what appeared to be a 54-yard score on a fourth and 28. But it too was negated by yet another Boyceville penalty (this time a block in the back).

Boyceville punted and Elk Mound took a knee to close out the half.

Boyceville would find its way to pay dirt twice more after the intermission.

Hunter Anderson intercepted a Flynn pass at midway through the third to give Boyceville the ball at the EM 23.

After a first-down incompletion, Boyceville gave the ball to Morse for gains of eight and five yards that set up a first and goal at the 10. Brady Schutts caught the ensuing pass for the 10-yard touchdown. Lake’s kick made it 33-6 with 5:09 to play in the third.

The Bulldogs final scoring drive began just six ticks into the final quarter. With the exception of a pass play that lost seven yards and had the locals flagged for a hold, Boyceville stayed on the ground moving the ball from its own 32 to the Mounders 28 with runs of 20 and 11 yards by Hunter Anderson and three carries each by Morse and Draeger for 17 and 21 yards respectively. The Bulldogs’ first team players then gave way to their substitutes, who carried the ball the rest of the way capped by Hunter Lipke’s one-yard plunge for Boyceville’s and the game’s final score, 39-6, with 4:24 to play.

Boyceville will finish the regular season on the road this Friday, October 17 when it travels to Colfax to face the second-place Vikings (4-1, 6-1). The Bulldogs could earn a share of the conference’s runner-up spot with a win over the Vikings,  whose lone defeat this season, a 26-13 setback, came back on week three to conference leader St. Croix Central.