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Vikings battle but lose to Hilltoppers

COLFAX — The Colfax football team made progress from their first three games but gave up too many big plays and lost at home 43-12 to the Glenwood City Hilltoppers Friday, September 11.

Glenwood City moved the ball 54 yards in four plays after the opening kickoff which included a 40-yard burst by Jacob Nelson and culminated in a 14-yard touchdown run by Nate Mrdutt less than five minutes into the game. The two-point conversion run made it 8-0 with 10:35 on the clock.

Colfax went three and out on their first possession and punted the ball but their defense settled down and they forced the Toppers to punt the ball back to them after three plays.

After a 25-yard return by Jacob Steinke put the ball on the Topper 28, quarterback Jarrod Rudi completed a 20-yard pass to Kedar Davis and Aliymu Davis had a couple of short runs, but the Vikings didn’t make any more progress, turning the ball over on downs after an incomplete pass.

Steinke, one of the team’s leading receivers and starting cornerback, was injured and spent the rest of the game on the sidelines.

Glenwood City kept the ball on the ground and moved from it’s own 11 to the Colfax 45 then took advantage of some broken pass coverage when Nick Schone found a wide open Carson Strong for a touchdown pass. The kick was missed, making it 14-0 with 1:48 left in the quarter.

A penalty on the Vikings on the kickoff return and two more on their next set of downs resulted in another punt, but once again the Vikings used a solid defense to stall a Topper drive. Tackles by Zach Meyer, both Davis brothers and Ben Christianson resulted in a fourth and ten and Stephan Snyder came up with a big stop for no gain on the Topper runner.

Taking over on their own 29, the ball was put into the hands of A. Davis who ripped off runs of 16, 14, 3 and 14 yards for a pair of first downs.

After an 18-yard pass completion to K. Davis, Rudi found him again and he appeared to be heading into the endzone but a Topper defender knocked the ball in the air and it was recovered by Glenwood City to end the Viking drive.

With the ball on their own three yard line, the Toppers stunned the Vikings on second down for an 89-yard touchdown run by Jacob Kopacz and it was 20-0.

“That was a definite momentum changer for us,” coach Mark Maloney said. “In less than a minute we went from probably scoring to falling behind by 20 points. Our receiver was trying to get into the end zone and Glenwood made a great play on the ball. Then they hit us quick for that long run.”

But the Vikings didn’t back down as they started their next possession at their own 35 and gained 20 yards on a Rudi run. An eight yard completion to Mitchell Kiekhafer and a third-down completion to A. Davis put the ball on the Topper 37. Rudi then found K. Davis with a 33-yard TD pass to put Colfax on the scoreboard. The two-point conversion pass attempt was incomplete and it was 20-6 with 1:20 left in the half.

Glenwood City made a great attempt to respond, however, as it took the ball to the Colfax three on a long run and even longer pass, but the Vikings D came up huge, stopping three running plays in the final 30 seconds to end the half.

“That was our biggest defensive stand of the season,” Maloney said. “We hoped it would give us some confidence going into the second half.”

It seemed to do just that as the Vikings’ offense came out in the second half and rolled right down the field. Starting on their own 40, Kiekhafer snared a 14 yard pass, A. Davis ran for nine and Rudi for three and K. Davis gained 14 yards on a catch and run.

But a broken pass pattern on first and 10 at the Topper 24 yard line, resulted in an errant pass from Rudi which was picked off by Glenwood’s Jacob O’Meara.

Seven plays later, the Toppers were in the end zone again on a Schone run and a two-point conversion and it was 28-6.

Colfax went three and out after receiving the kickoff and it looked like they would stop the Toppers when Ross Taylor came up with back-to-back tackles for no gain to go with a Glenwood City penalty. But three plays later, O’Meara was in the end zone from nine yards out. The two point run made it 36-6 with 1:19 left in the quarter.

Moving into the final quarter, Colfax responded with yet another drive and after A. Davis ripped off three long runs and K. Davis caught an eight yard pass, A. Davis hit paydirt from 12 yards out. The two-point  run was stuffed, however.

The Vikings attempted an onside kick but the Toppers were ready for it and recovered the ball on the Colfax 48.

On first down, Jake Nelson found another hole in the Vikings’ defense and broke through for the final score of the game with 9:09 left on the clock. Colfax failed to move the ball on two more possessions and the reserves for both teams finished the last two minutes off.

“We just couldn’t catch a break tonight,” Maloney said. “We had some good defensive stands but then we gave up  big plays. With Steinke out, it changed our whole game plan on both offense and defense. We had to move players around and put kids in positions they weren’t comfortable with. We will have to work on things in practice and continue to get better.”

The Vikings had their best offensive output of the season with 289 total yards. A. Davis rushed for 130 yards on 17 carries and Rudi passed for 157 yards completing 14 of 19 pass attempts. K. Davis snagged eight of those passes for 88 yards, A. Davis caught two for 47 yards and Kiekhafer grabbed two for 22 yards.

Meyer led the defense with nine tackles, K. Davis added eight, A. Davis, Rudi, Jake Floodquist and Snyder all had seven and Brett Schindler had six.

Colfax, now 0-4 on the season, travels to Elk Mound to face the 4-0 Mounders this Friday night.