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Toppers shut down and shut out by Cardinals

GLENWOOD CITY — For the first time this season, Glenwood City’s high-powered, point-producing offense was stuck in neutral and just could not gain any traction in its key second-place showdown at home against Spring Valley last Friday.

With the Hilltoppers’ offense unable to move the football  effectively throughout the game, much of the burden fell to the defense which gave a stalwart performance through two and a half quarters as it held the Cardinals to just seven points.

But the Glenwood City’s defenders began to wear down as the second half marched on and Spring Valley, the defending conference champion, took advantage.

The result was a 20-0 defeat, the Hilltoppers’ second straight loss after a 6-0 start, to the Cardinals of Spring Valley October 7.

“We will not make any excuses, we just didn’t play well enough to win the game,” said Glenwood City head football coach Shane Strong of the loss.

“We knew it would be a tough game against Spring Valley,” added Strong. “They are very disciplined and well coached.”

“I thought our kids played good defense in the first half despite playing in positions they were not experienced in.”

“We made too many mistakes in the second half that really hurt us.” Strong said.

The injury-plagued Hilltoppers managed just 101 yards of offense in the game including a meager 38 yards in the second half while the Cardinals tallied nearly four times that amount, finishing with 389 yards in all.

“Our offensive production really hurt us on both sides of the ball,” said Strong. “We didn’t get first downs and we could not make the big play when we needed to. Our defense was forced to be on the field far too much Friday night.”

The Toppers finished with just six first downs in the game compared to 18 for the Cardinals and were zero for ten on third-down conversion tries.

Spring Valley, who took over sole possession of second place in the D-SC football standings behind league-leading Durand with a 4-1 conference mark and 7-1 overall, was led by senior tandem of Sean Borgerding and Sam Verges. The pair combined for 231 of the Cardinals’ 306 rushing yards and all three scores.

Verges scored the game’s first touchdown and finished with 116 yards on 17 carries. Borgerding, Spring Valley’s signal caller, hauled the ball ten times for 115 yards and a score and threw for another TD (to Verges) and 83 yards on a five-for-nine passing performance.

Much of Glenwood City’s offense came off the legs of junior Jacob Kopacz, who despite playing with an injury managed 56 of the Toppers 71 rushing yards. Quarterback Peter Hill went 3-for-4 for 24 yards.

Six of the team’s nine, first-half drives ended in punts. But it took just one drive to put the Cardinals on top to stay.

After exchanging punts to open the game, Spring Valley took control of its second possession of the game at its own 37 and Sean Borgerding used his arm to move the Cardinals downfield.

Three times the Valley quarterback found fellow senior Seth Schlegel open for pass completions of 21, 28 and nine yards to set the visitors up with a first and goal at the Toppers’ three.

On the next play, Sam Verges punched the ball into the end zone for the game’s first six points with 3:18 to play in the first. Brock Bune added the kick and Spring Valley led 7-0.

The Hilltoppers best drive of the game came on its ensuing possession.

Glenwood City drove from its 44 to a first down at the Spring Valley 17 on a 14-yard and a 6-yard pass play from Peter Hill to Carson Strong and runs of one, five, six, four and eight yards by Kopacz. But they gained just one yard in the next three plays before turning the ball over on downs when the Toppers’ fourth and nine run by Kopacz netted just three yards to the Spring Valley 13.

It would remain a 7-0 game until midway through the third quarter.

The Cardinals took the second-half kick-off and marched to the Toppers’ 15 before fumbling the ball away.

Glenwood City had to punt after three plays and Schlegel returned the kick 34 yards down to the Toppers’ 26. Four plays later, on a fourth and eight, Borgerding connected with Verges for a 24-yard scoring strike. Bune’s kick made it 14-0 in Spring Valley’s favor with 5:18 to play in the third.

Spring Valley’s and the game’s final score came with 9:02 left in the game. After stopping yet another fourth-down attempt by the Toppers on its own 31-yard line, Spring Valley moved 69 yards six plays capped by Borgeding’s 36 yards TD run. Bune kick went wide to make the final 20-0.

The Cardinals also had a lengthy drive at the end of the game that took them down to the Toppers’ nine before Borgerding took a couple of knees to run out the game clock.

“Our backs did not have much room to run the football,” noted Strong. “You have to give Spring Valley credit, but we also need to hold ourselves accountable including myself as the head coach. I’m confident our kids can bounce back this week. We need to play better and with more determination in tough situations.

The Toppers, who have already qualified for the playoffs with a 4-2 mark, will concluded the regular season with a non-conference game in Cameron this Friday.

Glenwood City…….0     0      0      0 — 0
Spring Valley………0      7      7     6 — 20

First Quarter:
SV — Sam Verges 3-yd. run (Brock Bune kick), 3:18.

Third Quarter:
SV — Sam Verges 24-yd. pass from Sean Borgerding (Bune kick), 5:18.

Fourth Quarter:
SV — Sean Borgerding 36-yd. run (kick failed), 9:02.

Individual Statistics

Passing (att-comp-int-yds) — GC (4-5-0-30 yds.)  — Peter Hill 3-4 for 24 yds.; Jacob Logghe 1-1 for 6 yds. SV — (5-9-0-83 yds.) — Sean Borgerding 5-9 for 83yds., TD.

Receiving (rec-yds) — GC — Carson Strong  3 for 24 yds.; Jacob Kopacz 1 for 6 yds. SV — Seth Schlegel 4 for 59 yds.; Sm Verges1 for 24 yds., TD.

Rushing (att-yds) — GC (36-71 yds.) — Jacob Kopacz 15 for 56 yds. SV­ —  (45-306 yds.) — Sam Verges 17 for 116 yds., TD; Seean Borgerding 10 for 115 yds, TD.