By Cara L. Dempski
BOYCEVILLE — Two weeks ago, Boyceville head football coach Jordan Anderson predicted his team could go 3-1 for the rest of the season.
According to the WIAA qualification process, any football team winning at least half its league or conference games is eligible for divisional playoffs each fall.
[emember_protected] The Wissports.net playoff eligibility page further states: “In most years only a few teams that finish .500 do not make the playoffs, and the last three years, every team that finished at .500 in conference did get in, along with several that were under .500.”
With a conference of just seven teams, that means any given team would have to wind up 3-3 to qualify for a spot, and win at least four to clinch one.
Which means Boyceville’s chances at making the 2017 Division 6 football playoffs are not completely eliminated after their 61-8 loss at Elk Mound September 29. Of course, they would have to – to use an Aaron Rodgers-ism – “run the table.”
That means beating Colfax October 6 for the Bulldogs’ 2017 Homecoming game, and then besting 2016 Dunn-St. Croix champion Durand at home October 13 in the regular and conference season finale.
For now, though, Anderson saw some things to be proud of during the Bulldogs’ walloping at the hands of Elk Mound.
“Coming into the game, we expected to see them run early and often,” Anderson said. “We changed up the defense to try and control the run, and we did a good job at times. That’s the stuff we have to build on going forward. We did a lot of good things tonight that didn’t translate on the scoreboard. It’ll come.”
The Bulldogs showed a nice sense of urgency defending against Elk Mound’s Brady Redwine and Ben Lambele, according to Anderson. He also continued to mix up his roster a bit in different positions, and said he is pleased with the willingness of his team to try new things and fit in at new positions.
Cooper Boesl spent much of the night with his sprinting shoes on, pounding out his routes as hard and fast as possible to give freshman gunslinger Connor Sempf a solid target to hit.
The young quarterback played with what Anderson described as veteran poise, hitting his target 11 times out of 22 tries for 103 passing yards.
While the Mounders controlled the field for the vast majority of the September 29 game, the Bulldogs could not let the home team’s scoring drives go unanswered.
There was only 1:15 left in the game when Sempf dropped back and found senior Bryce Boda for the seven-yard connection and the touchdown. The duo repeated the feat for a two-point conversion to give the Bulldogs their only eight points in the game.
Despite scoring only once, the Bulldog offense demonstrated a good ability to move the ball through the air, nabbing a number of first downs as they tried to push into the end zone.
The Bulldogs definitely beat the Mounders in the passing game, moving the ball 163 yards to Elk Mound’s 31.
Sempf’s favorite target for the night against Elk Mound was Boesl, who is credited with nine receptions for a total of 96 yards.
The Mounders, however, ruled the ground game as they piled up 414 rushing yards in the game highlighted by 193 by the conference’s leading rusher – Brady Redwine. The junior running back scored five of Elk Mound’s touchdowns, giving Redwine 25 scores in just seven games including 17 in the last three contests alone.
The Dogs will now give their full attention to the only other winless team in the conference, Colfax, for their October 6 Homecoming game. Anderson said the team will work on more of the same things they worked on to prep for Elk Mound.
“We’ll run our routes harder, block a little longer, and work on finishing drives,” he finished.
BOYCEVILLE 8, ELK MOUND 61
Boyceville………………….0 0 0 8 — 8
Elk Mound……………….12 28 21 0 — 61
EM — B. Redwine 25-yd. run (kick fail), 7:51; EM — B. Redwine 10-yd. run (kick fail), 4:54.
EM — B. Lambele 11-yd. run (G. Young kick), 11:53; EM — B. Redwine 6-yd. run (G. Young kick), 10:18; EM — B. Lambele 16-yd. pass from D. Black (G. Young kick), 2:33; EM — B. Redwine 36-yd. run (G. Young kick), 1:21.
EM — B. Redwine 39-yd. run (G. Young kick), 9:40; EM — D. Black 40-yd. interception (G. Young kick), 7:03; EM — E. Levra fumble recovery (G. Young kick), 2:50.
B — B. Boda 5-yd. pass from C. Sempf (B. Boda pass from C. Sempf), 1:15.
Passing (att-comp-yds-int): B (42-15-165-1) — B. Boda 20-4-60-0, C. Sempf 22-11-103-1; EM (6-2-31-0) — D. Black 5-2-31-0, B. Lambele 1-0-0-0.
Rushing (att-yds): B (11-(-15)) — B. Boda 4-(-8), J. Malean 5-(-2), C. Sempf 1-(-4), B. Sempf 1-(-1); EM (42-454) — B. Redwine 15-198, B. Lambele 4-85, C. Lee 2-67, W. Muzynski 5-53, E. Kaanta 4-23, L. Schultz 5-20, C. Ward 2-5, Unk. 1-3.
Receiving (rec-yds): B (15-165) — C. Boesl 9-96, B. Boda 1-48, Unk. 1-8, J. Gonzales 3-7, J. Malean 1-6; EM (2-31) — B. Lambele 1-16, W. Muzynski 1-15. [/emember_protected]