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GLENWOOD CITY — Mother Nature nearly spoiled Glenwood City’s 2018 home football debut against Amery last Friday.
A severe thunderstorm rolled and riled through the area a few hours prior to the 7 p.m. kickoff August 24 bringing high winds along with multiple lightning strikes and thunder claps as it dumped over three inches of rain in just ninety minutes time.
There were doubts if the game would be played as each lightning flash pushed start times back 30 minutes. But shortly before the originally scheduled game time, the clouds parted bringing forth some welcomed sun and a double rainbow.
Despite a well-soaked field, the game finally did get underway at 7:40 p.m.
Glenwood City took a 12-0 lead with a touchdown, minus the missed two-point conversions, in the first and second quarters.
It appeared as if that score would hold up until half. That was until Amery quarterback Brett Forrest connected with speed back Lance Waalen on a 39-yard pass play to the Toppers six yard line with just over two minutes left in the first half. On the next play, Forrest executed a QB keeper for the six-yard score and with Waalen’s good PAT kick, it was a 12-7 game at the intermission.
The Hilltoppers scored twice in the third quarter but each time the Warriors answered lightning quick as Waalen scored on first-down runs of 60 and 75 yards.
And while Glenwood City misfired on all four of its two-point conversion runs in the game, Amery made good on its pair of two-point tries to pull to within just two points of Glenwood City.
Amery had a few opportunities to take the lead in the final frame but Glenwood City delivered back-to-back tackles for losses, then blocked a field goal attempt, tipped away a sure touchdown pass and finally intercepted a throw on the final play of the contest to preserve a thrilling 24-22 non-conference win over a resurgent Warrior squad.
“I felt our kids played better defense in the first half than we did the previous week,” said Shane Strong, Glenwood City head coach. “We held Amery in check and showed great discipline to our read keys.”
“We made a couple of key mistakes in the second half that led to two long touchdown runs,” noted Strong. “But I was proud of the kids for responding to both scores by driving down the field and answering with scores.”
The victory evened Glenwood City’s early season record at 1-1 as it prepares to open the Dunn-St. Croix conference portion of its schedule this Friday, August 31 with a home game against rival Boyceville.
Amery actually got a few cracks on the offensive side of the ball to start Friday’s game. The Warriors were forced to punt just three plays after taking the opening kick but received a second chance when Glenwood City fumbled the punt and the Warriors recovered at their 45.
But a stout Hilltoppers’ defense tackled Amery quarterback Brett Forrest for a two-yard loss on a fourth-and-one play from the GC 48.
Although the Hilltoppers gained just five yards in its first three offensive plays, Hadin DeSmith proved, as he did throughout the game, that a good punting game can not only help your defense but the offense.
DeSmith boomed his first punt 46 yards and it was downed, without a Warrior return, at the Amery one yard line.
Amery collected just three yards and had to punt. DeSmith caught the kick and then ran it back 31 yards to the Warrior four.
“Hadin DeSmith punted well for us,” stated Coach Strong. “Sometimes this is overlooked, but he pinned them inside the ten yard line twice.”
On the ensuing play, DeSmith took the snap and gave the football to Dan Loring who crashed across the goal line from four yards out for the contest’s first score and a six to zero lead at 3:43. It would stay that way after Dakota Dean-Immerman was stopped short on the two-point run.
Glenwood City would embark on its second scoring drive early in the second quarter to make it a 12-0 game.
Taking over at its own 46 with 10:33 to play in the first half, the Hilltoppers ran 12 plays – all rushes – over the next five minutes and 51 seconds, converting a pair of third downs and a fourth and three from the Amery eight to set up Dan Loring’s second touchdown run of the half, a one-yard dive. Hadin DeSmith was unable to reach the goal line on the conversion run leaving the score at 12-0.
Amery finally got on the scoreboard late in the second quarter following a fumble recovery.
Taking over at its own 46, Forrest launched a 39 yard pass completion to Waalen to set Amery up with a first and goal at the six. Forrest covered the remaining distance to the goal on the first down run for six points. Waalen booted the extra point to bring the Warriors to within five at the break.
The Hilltoppers took the second-half kick and moved from its own 37 to the Amery 20 where DeSmith fourth down pass was intercepted by Forrest at the six.
But on the next play the Warriors fumbled the ball back to the Toppers who recovered at the Amery eight.
Dakota Dean-Immerman carried two consecutive times for seven yards. On third and goal from the one, DeSmith pushed through the line for the score at 6:34 to give GC a 18-7 edge after yet another conversion run failed.
It took the Warriors one play and 17 seconds to answer.
After taking over at its own 40 following the GC kick off, Waalen took the hand off and raced outside and down the sideline on a 60-yard scoring gallop. Forrest ran in the two-point conversion and suddenly the Toppers lead was just three – 18-15.
To the locals credit, the Hilltoppers responded in kind mounting a nine-play, 69-yard scoring drive capped by a DeSmith second, 1-yard scoring run with 2:08 to go in the third quarter. Unfortunately the conversion failed for a fourth time leaving the score at 24-15 in the Toppers’ favor.
But once again, Amery needed just one play for its response.
This time Waalen took the first-down play and raced 75 yards to the end zone, completing the play as the clock hit 1:48. Waalen then ran in the conversion to pull the Warriors to within 24-22.
Amery threatened to take the lead in the fourth.
Back-to-back pass plays of 11 yards and then 55-yard yards from Forrest to Waalen took Amery to the Glenwood City ten with nine and a half minute left in regulation.
Waalen ran the ball to the six on first and goal.
But the Toppers’ defense then turned up the pressure. Senior Tanner Davis sacked the Amery QB on second down for a loss of nine yards back to the 15. Fellow senior Bryce Fayerweather, who finished the game with five tackles for losses, sniffed out a screen pass from Forrest to Tyler Reichert and stopped the play for a loss of six.
Waalen lined up to attempt a 38-yard field goal to give Amery its first lead but the snap was bobbled and Glenwood City recovered the ball on the 24.
The Toppers had to punt the ball back after just three offensive plays.
On second down, Waalen got behind the GC defenders for a pass and at first it appeared that it could go for another long score. But at the last second, Hadin DeSmith was able to get his hand on the ball and knock it incomplete.
The Toppers were able to hit the Warriors with a five-yard loss on a third-down ran and took control at their 41 after Amery’s fourth-down pass fell to the ground incomplete with 3:27 remaining.
The Hilltoppers’ offense was able to run off 3:26 of that time before turning the ball over on downs on the Amery 37.
Given one last shot at the win, the Warriors worked up a special play but Kale Hopke’s pass was intercepted by the Toppers’ Gavin Janson to end the game and give GC a 24-22 win, its first of the 2018 campaign.
The teams’ final offensive statistics were quite even as Amery posted 256 yards to 241 for Glenwood City.
The Warriors finished with 110 yards passing and 146 rushing with 135 coming on Waalen’s two TD runs. The Toppers tallied 58 through the air and 183 on the ground.
Waalen led all ground gainers with 148 yards and two touchdowns on ten carries. Caleb Peterson topped GC’s rushing attack with 12 hauls for 74 yards and Dan Loring chipped in for 68 yards and two scores on 20 runs. Hadin DeSmith had the other two Topper scores but finished with a -5 yards on nine attempts and was 2-3 passing for all 58 of GC’s aerial yardage.
Glenwood City, who beat the Bulldogs 68-0 a year ago, will look for a second consecutive win and first conference victory when Boyceville comes to town on Friday.
Glenwood City 24, Amery 22
Glenwood City……6 6 12 0 – 24
Amery…………………0 7 15 0 – 22
GC – Dan Loring 10-yd. run (run failed). 3:43.
GC – Loring 4-yd. run (run failed). 4:44.
AM – Brett Forrest 6-yd. run (Lance Waalen kick). 1:42.
GC – Hadin DeSmith 1-yd. run (run failed). 6:34.
AM – Lance Waalen 60-yd. run (B. Forrest run). 6:17.
GC – H. DeSmith 1-yd. run (run failed). 2:08.
AM – L. Waalen 75-yd. run (L. Waalen run). 1:48.
Total Yards 241 256 Rushing 55-183 26-146
Passing 2-3-1 6-12-1
Fumbles-Lost 2-1 3-1
Punts-Ave. 5-31.2 5-25.2
Penalties-Yds. 1-5 0-0
GLENWOOD CITY: Passing – Hadin DeSmith 2-3 for 58 yds., INT. Receiving – Caleb Peterson 1 for 30 yds.; Dan Loring 1 for 28 yds. Rushing – Caleb Peterson 12 for 74 yds.; Dan Loring 20 for 68 yds., 2 TDs; Dakota Dean-Immerman 11 for 31 yds.; Ethan Hanson 3 for 15 yds.; Hadin DeSmith 9 for -5 yds., 2 TDs. Interceptions – Gavin Janson, 1. Fumbles Recovered – One. Tackles – Not Reported. Sacks – Tanner Davis and Bryce Fayerweather, 1 each. Punting – Hadin DeSmith 5 for 156 yds. (31.2 yd. average).
AMERY: Passing – Brett Forrest 6-11 for 110 yds.; Kale Hopke 0-1 for 0 yds., INT. Receiving – Paul Sargent 1 for 31 yds.; Trenton Wols 2 for 12 yds.; Austin Spafford 2 for 5 yds. Rushing – Lance Waalen 3 for 105 yds,; Wyatt Luchtenburg 1 for 9 yds.; Dalton Johnson 1 for 2 yds. Interceptions – Brett Forrest, 1. Fumbles Recovered – One. Tackles – Not Reported. Punting – Lance Waalen 5 for 126 yds. (25.2 yd. average).