After falling behind three times, the Elk Mound football team came up with 22 points in the third quarter to defeat Chetek-Weyerhaeuser 42-29 on the road in the season opener for both teams Aug. 21.
The Bulldogs were the runner up in the Heart ‘O North Conference a year ago and had to replace some talented players, three who are all playing at Winona State this year. But they are still considered to be of the top teams in the conference this season which makes this a pretty impressive win for the Mounders who were 1-8 a year ago.
Elk Mound, using their running game, took a 6-0 lead to start the scoring off on a 27 yard run by Noah Zurbuchen. C-W countered however, with a two yard touchdown run and an extra point kick for a 7-6 advantage to end the first quarter.
The Mounders regained the lead on a 27 yard scoring pass from quarterback Dane Lew to Alex Hollister and a two point run by Zurbuchen early in the second stanza to make it 14-7. And again the Bulldogs responded by scoring on a safety for two points and a four yard pass and extra point kick to make it 16-14, then added another passing touchdown from 15 yards out with another kick to take a 23-14 halftime lead.
A fumble recovery by Elk Mound’s Tyler Brantner led to Zurbuchen reaching paydirt from a yard out to start the third quarter but the extra point was not converted, leaving Elk Mound down 23-20. The deficit increased when C-W scored from two yards out, and when their extra point attempt was unsuccessful it was 29-23 in their favor. But the Mounders put their rushing game in high gear as Zurbuchen scored twice, once on a 41 yard scamper and again from three yards out. Both conversion runs were successful with Lew running one in and Zurbuchen another and the quarter ended with the Mounders up 36-29.
The Elk Mound defense did their part by shutting down the Bulldogs in the final quarter and Hunter Adleman added some insurance points when he pounded the ball in from a yard out to cap off the 13 point win.
“Our kids met adversity in the first half but found a way to fight back and prevail,” coach Dave Lew said. “Our young kids grew up during this game and our upperclassmen led by example.”
Zurbuchen led the ground game, rushing 34 times for 236 yards and four touchdowns while Adleman added a nice 1-2 punch by gaining 115 yards on 19 carries. Lew completed six of 10 passes for 45 yards with the one scoring pass to Hollister while Cole Tyman snared one pass for 15 yards. Tyler Sahm gave the Mounders good field position by returning three kickoffs for a total of 60 yards. Elk Mound’s defense held the Bulldogs to 123 total yards, 78 on the ground.
Up next, Elk Mound will host Eleva-Strum this Thursday, Aug. 27. The Cardinals are one of the favorites to win the Dairyland Conference this year and are coming off a big win over Colfax.