By Cara L. Dempski
ELK MOUND — The Hilltoppers made a strong statement when they opened conference play with a 30-18 win over the Mounders in Elk Mound September 2.
“We came in with a big chip on our shoulder,” head coach Shane Strong said. “We wanted to make the conference aware we’re here.”
A 24-point second quarter helped Glenwood City make that statement as did a three to one advantage in turnovers as the Hilltoppers snared an interception and pounced on a pair of Mounders’ fumbles.
The win gave the Toppers a 1-0 start to the Dunn-St. Croix season and a 3-0 mark overall. Elk Mound, meanwhile, fell to 0-1 and 1-2.
The Toppers’ speedy ground game account for all but four of the team’s 383 total yards as three running backs eclipsed the century mark led by junior Jake Nelson’s 158 yard, two touchdown performance. Jake O’Meara and Jake Kopacz finished with 116 and 105 yards respectively and each had a score.
Elk Mound tallied 353 yards – 239 on the ground and 114 through the air – in total. Senior Noah Zurbuchen, seeing his first extend action of the season for the Mounders led the ground attack with 111 yards on 11 carries, one of which went for a long score. Hunter Adleman added to scores and 86 yards. Quarterback Dane Lew threw for 111 yards and an interception.
Elk Mound’s Hunter Adleman punched through a line of Hilltoppers to score on a one-yard run that gave the Mounders the first score and an early 6-0 with 6:41 left in the first quarter. Adleman’s conversion run failed, leaving the score unchanged.
Glenwood City wasn’t able to mount a strong offensive game until the closing minutes of the first quarter. The end of the first found the Toppers at the Elk Mound five-yard line.
It only took six seconds and five yards for senior Jake O’Meara to hit pay dirt on the first play of the second quarter and knot the game at six. Jake Logghe ran the ball in for the conversion, and Glenwood City led the game 8-6 with 11:54 left in the half.
Elk Mound responded in kind, with Noah Zurbuchen flying 62 yards back down the field to score the Mounders’ second touchdown only 20 seconds later. The conversion run failed but the Mounders had regained the advantage, 12-8.
On the next Hilltopper drive, Darian Multhauf went down under a pile of Elk Mound defenders and was not able to get up. He was helped off the field by Glenwood City coaches and a sports medicine trainer.
Strong later said, “He told me he was trying to juke to one side, and felt his knee twist and then felt a lot of pain.”
Glenwood City’s Jake Kopacz would take the ball to the end zone only a few minutes later on a 15-yard run, to help the Hilltoppers retake the lead. Nelson’s successful run for the conversion made it 16-12 in the Toppers favor with 7:19 to play.
The half closed with Nelson running 85 yards for the score at 1:26. A pass from Jake Logghe to Carson Strong on the conversion try helped the Hilltoppers double up on Elk Mound at halftime, 24-12.
Strong could be heard telling his team at halftime, “We were picked to be fifth in the conference this year. We’re better than that.”
The Mounders appeared to tighten up their defense to open the second half, and it took until 2:02 left in the third for Glenwood City to score fourth and final time. Jake Nelson ran for his second touchdown of the night, 15-yard scoring jaunt, that added another six points to the Hilltoppers’ score. Despite the failed conversion pass and Glenwood City held an 18-point advantage at 30-12.
Elk Mound would add one last score in the fourth quarter. Hunter Adleman ran the ball in from one yard out to bring the score to 30-18 following the failed conversion run.
From there on out, the teams traded interceptions, and Elk Mound recovered a fumble but was unable to produce any points from the turnover.
As time ran down in the fourth quarter, Logghe knelt for the final four downs as the last 30 seconds ticked off the clock.
“Tonight we showed we can compete in the Dunn-St. Croix,” Strong said after the game. “We wanted to come in and make a statement.”
The Hilltoppers will host 0-3 Colfax, who was blank 41-0 by Spring Valley last week, in the annual Parents’ Night game this Friday, September 9.
Glenwood City 30, Elk Mound 18
Glenwood City 0 24 6 0 — 30
Elk Mound 6 6 0 6 — 18
First Quarter: EM — H. Adleman 1 run (attempt failed), 6:41.
Second Quarter: GC — J. O’Meara 5 run (J. Logghe run), 11:54. EM — N. Zurbuchen 62 run (attempt failed), 11:34. GC — J. Kopacz 15 run (J. Nelson run), 7:19. GC — J. Nelson 85 run (C. Strong pass from J. Logghe), 1:26.
Third Quarter: GC — J. Nelson 15 run (attempt failed), 2:02.
Fourth Quarter: EM — H. Adleman 1 run (attempt failed), 8:23.
RUSHING (att-yds) — GC (41-379): J. Nelson 10-158, J. O’Meara 19-116, J. Kopacz 11-105; EM (41-239): N. Zurbuchen 11-111, H. Adleman 19-86, T. Sahm 9-32, D. Lew 1-9, W. Muzynski 1-1.
PASSING (comp-att-int-yds) —GC (1-3-1-4): J. Logghe 1-3-1-4; EM (14-23-1-114): D. Lew 10-19-1-110, D. Black 4-4-0-3.
RECEIVING (rec-yds) — GC (1-4): C. Strong 1-4; EM: B. Lambele 7-97, H. Johnson 1-8, C. Schrieber 2-8, H. Adleman 1-(-1).