By Kelsie Hoitomt
GLENWOOD CITY — With two consecutive State appearances behind them and almost the entire starting lineup gone to graduation, the Topper football team had big shoes to fill this 2014 season.
The young team led by six seniors; Todd Petersen, Jake Hierlmeier, Billy Norenberg, Christian Smith, Logan Smith and Troy Hall, finished 2-4 in the Dunn-St. Croix this year with their final game played at home against the Spring Valley Cardinals.
The Toppers needed a win in order to make a playoff appearance, but the outcome was a 35-8 Cardinal victory. This was the first time since 2011 that the Toppers didn’t make the playoffs.
The game started with the Toppers receiving the kick off, but they were off the field in three plays.
Nick Schone punted the ball away and it landed out of bounds near the 50 yard line. From there Remington Schneider threw a pass to Sean Borgerding and he was brought down at the one yard line.
Jed Schlegel took the handoff and ran the ball into the end zone for the first touchdown of the game. The extra point was no good, but the Cardinals were still up 6-0 at 9:49.
Jake Nelson caught the ball on the kick and carried it about 15 yards to the 30. Jake O’Meara had a burst up the middle for a seven yard gain and then Nathan Mrdutt picked up the extra yards for the first down.
From their own 43 Norenberg ran to the 49, but soon they were facing fourth down and five yards to go.
The Toppers decided to punt the ball away, which put the Cardinals on the eight for their second possession of the game.
The Cardinals were only able to bring the ball out to the their own 25 yard line before they were forced to punt themselves.
The Toppers took over on the 47 and were up to the Cardinals’ 41 after a pass was completed from Schone to Hierlmeier.
Mrdutt ran the ball two times to give the Toppers a first down at the 26. They were making progress with Mrdutt runs before Schneider stepped in front of a pass and intercepted the ball.
The interception led the Cardinals to their second touchdown of the game after Schneider connected with Schlegel for a huge play that set them up on the 16.
From there, Schneider tossed the ball up to Borgerding for the touchdown with the clock at zero. Schlegel ran in the two-point conversion to put the score at 14-0 at the end of the first quarter.
Nelson ran the ball to the 33 on the return to start the Toppers’ drive. They moved the ball to the 45 on a pass from Schone to Norenberg.
Mrdutt then took the hand off and broke through several tackles to give the Toppers the first down on the 28.
Mrdutt ran the ball to the 20, which set the Toppers in motion at third down and one yard to go.
However, their one yard turned into a big loss after the snap was fumbled and recovered by Norenberg at the 34.
The Toppers decided to go for the fourth down conversion, but the pass fell incomplete so the Cardinals took over on downs at the 34.
Schneider appeared to be greased up with butter as he broke through several tackles the majority of the night, which gave the Cardinals big gains.
In over four minutes, they moved the ball from the 34 all the way down the field to the nine yard line despite a flag and a fumbled snap.
Schneider threw the ball to Logan Newton for a touchdown pass at 3:49 and then Devin Larson booted the ball through the uprights for the extra point to put the score at 21-0.
The Toppers following drive started at their own 33 and ended at the 40 after an interception was thrown.
The Cardinals took over from the 47 and after two first downs and four plays they were at the Toppers’ eight yard line.
With under a minute left to play in the half, Newton ran the ball in for another Cardinal touchdown. The kick was no good so the score read 27-0.
The Cardinals received the kick to start the second half of the game. The Toppers’ defense held Newton on the line for a loss and then no gain, which brought up fourth down and 13.
This forced the Cardinals to punt, which put the Toppers in motion on the 28.
O’Meara had a three yard gain and then Mrdutt picked up four to put the ball at the 35. With it third down and four to go, O’Meara tried to run the ball but was stopped on the line.
The Toppers set up in punt formation, but Schone faked the kick and O’Meara took off with the ball. However the conversion play was no good so the Cardinals took over on downs at the 35.
Schneider’s first pass fell incomplete, but he fired back with a throw to Borgerding that gave them a first down.
They were backed up five yards on another flag, but Schneider again came through with another pass completion to Schlegel that was good for a 27 yard touchdown reception.
Schlegel took the handoff for the two-point conversion, which put the score at 35-0 with just under six minutes left to play in the third quarter.
The Toppers were forced to punt on their following possession, but they regained some momentum after the Cardinals fumbled the ball.
The fumble put the Toppers’ offense back on the field at the 50 yard line with 30 seconds left in the quarter.
Schone went to the air twice with both passes falling incomplete. The fourth quarter started with the Toppers at third down and ten to go from the 50.
They decided to go for the conversion after another pass was uncaught, but Mrdutt’s run was just inches short of the first down so the Cardinals got the ball on downs near the 40.
The Cardinals went three and out and were forced to punt, which put the Toppers’ junior varsity offense on the field.
Jake Kopacz took the handoff from Jake Logghe and picked up a first down. Then Logghe connected with Marcus Ullom for a first down reception that put the Toppers on the 18.
Logghe held onto the ball for the keeper to put the ball on the three. From there, Darian Multhauf pushed the ball into the end zone for the Toppers first score of the game.
Kopacz followed with the two-point conversion run to put the score at 35-8 with 1:45 left in the game.
The Cardinals received the kick and finished out the game with the ball near mid field.
The Cardinals finished with 190 receiving yards and 194 rushing. Schneider completed eight passes out of 11 attempts with two of them going to Schlegel for a total of 84 yards.
Schneider himself was their leading rusher with 74 yards on nine carries.
On the Topper team, they rushed for a total of 150 yards with Mrdutt leading the way. He had 69 yards on 11 carries as well as ten receiving yards on two carries.
Kopacz followed in rushing with 33 yards on two carries and then it was Nelson with 17 yards on three carries. Norenberg finished his senior year with 12 yards on seven carries.
Then it was Multhauf with nine yards on three carries and O’Meara finished with six yards on five carries.
Logghe also had four yards of rushing for the team and he threw 11 yards while at quarterback.
As starting quarterback, Schone finished with 40 yards on six completions. Norenberg was the leader in receptions with 12 yards. Hierlmeier and Ullom followed 11 yards each and then it was Petersen with six.
The Toppers beat Elk Mound and Mondovi to finish 2-4 in the conference and they went 4-9 overall this year.