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Mondovi spoils Glenwood City homecoming

GLENWOOD CITY — Despite a steady drizzle of rain throughout much of the football game, Glenwood City had little trouble holding on to the ball.

With the exception of a defensive offside penalty early in the first quarter, the Hilltoppers had been mistake free. That was until its final drive of the contest.

Trailing by eight points late in the fourth quarter, Glenwood City’s offensive unit, which had struggled to move the ball at times throughout the game, had moved from its own 27 to the Mondovi 16 before it asked for and received a timeout with 1:31 left in regulation. But on the ensuing third down play, the Toppers’ mishandled the hand-off in the backfield and the Buffaloes’ Wyatt Olson pounced on the loose pigskin.

The fumble recovery put an end to the Toppers’ chances for a potential game-tying touchdown and two-point conversion try as Mondovi ran out the final minute and 25 seconds to claim a 14-6 victory and spoiled Glenwood City’s homecoming game here September 18.

The Buffaloes have stampeded the Toppers’ hopes of gridiron victory the past few years and this time was no different.

A contest in which all the scoring took place in the first half, a pair of touchdown runs by Mondovi quarterback Greg Poeschel proved the difference.

Mondovi’s offense outgained Glenwood City’s by just over one hundred yards (276-174), much of it on the ground as the Buffaloes held a two-to-one advantage in rushing – 252 to 128 yards. The loss dropped Glenwood City’s conference mark to 1-2 and 3-2 overall.

The Buffaloes took the opening kick and marched for a pair of first downs before the Hilltoppers’ defense tightened up and forced a punt.

Glenwood City’s first offensive foray lasted just three plays and they had to punt.

Taking charge on its own 41, Mondovi moved down field quickly to set up its first score. Poeschel hit running back Shane Van Roo for pass completions of 18 and six yards, he also had a run of 15 yards to set up a first and goal from the GC nine. Two plays later, Poeschel called his own number and scored on a five-yard run up the middle. Nick Schone picked off the two-point conversion pass to keep it a 6-0 contest with 1:55 to play in the first quarter.

A nice 33-yard kick-off return by Carson Strong put the Toppers at the Buffaloes’ 43.

Jake Kopacz opened the Toppers’ drive with a three-yard gain. Jake Nelson followed with runs for four and five yards to garner the locals a fresh set of downs at the 31. But the Toppers gained just six yards on its next three plays before Nick Schone’s fourth-down pass attempt to an open Marcus Ullom sailed long.

Mondovi held the ball for just three plays as the Glenwood City defense forced a punt.

A 35-yard punt without a return gave the Toppers the ball on their 38. After a Buffaloes offside and a two-yard gain by Nathan Mrdutt, Jack Kopacz broke free and raced 28 yards down the sideline before being tackled at the Mondovi 27. On the very next play, Schone went back to Kopacz, this time through the air, as the pair connected for a 27-yard touchdown strike at 7:28 of the second quarter. Schone’s extra point kick fell short of the cross bar but the contest was knotted at six.

Unfortunately for the Hilltoppers it did not stay that way for long.

On their next possession, the Buffaloes marched 72 yards in ten plays. Shane Van Roo carried half those plays culminating in runs of 13, four, seven and six yards while backfield mat Sawyer Hayes carried twice for 21 yards. But its was quarterback Greg Poeschel that finished off the drive as he scored from 13 yards out on a play quite similar to his first TD run. Poeschel then ran in the two-point conversion to give Mondovi an eight-point advantage with 2:32 remaining in the first half.

As it would turn out, that would be the final as neither team was able to push the ball across the goal line in the second half.

Glenwood City punted on three of its four, second-half possessions.

Mondovi, who punted on two of its four possession after intermission, did take its opening possession of the second half deep to the Toppers 21 but was stopped a yard short after Van Roo ran for eight yards on a fourth and nine.

Down to its final chance, Glenwood City took control at its 27 with just over five minutes to play.

Nelson kicked the drive into high gear with a run of  ten yards for a first down – only the Toppers’ second of the half. After Mrdutt had a pair of short gains for four yards, Schone called a quarterback keeper to get four more and leave the Toppers with a fourth and one. Mrdutt then plowed straight ahead for five yards and the first down.

On first and ten, Jake O’Meara ripped off his biggest run of the game, a 14-yard gainer to the Mondovi 36. Two plays later, Nick Schone was again on the run as he took the ball to the Buffs 23 for a first and ten. Nelson gained three on first down and Kopacz went for four yards on second. Face with a third and three, Glenwood used a time out with 1:31 to play. But the ball was fumbled on the ensuing play and Mondovi came away with the ball and the game as Van Roo gained 17 yards on three straight running plays during which the Toppers exhausted their two remaining time outs. That allowed Poeschel to take a couple of knees for the Buffaloes’ victory.

Jake Kopacz led the Toppers ground game with 45 yards on 11 carries. Jake Nelson also had 11 carries and finished with 33 yards. Jake O’Meara finished with 24 yards on three hauls while Nick Schone and Nate Mrdutt tallied 15 and 11 yards respectively on three and four attempts.

Schone hit two of his five passes, with both completions going to Jake Kopacz for 46 yards and the Toppers’ lone score.

Mondovi’s Shane Van Roo led all rushers with 103 yards on 25 carries followed by quarterback Greg Poeschel’s nine carries for 62 yards and both scores. Austin Fedie and Sawyer Hayes both finished with 43 yards on nine carries.

Glenwood City, who needs to win two of its three remaining conference games for a chance to qualify for the playoffs, will travel to Boyceville this Friday to face the rival Bulldogs.