MENOMONIE — A lack of intensity and sound fundamental tackling proved to be Glenwood City’s Achilles Heel when it went toe-to-toe with defending conference champion Elk Mound last Friday evening in the regular season football finale played at UW-Stout’s Don and Nona Williams Stadium after poor field conditions in Elk Mound prompted the change of venue.
The Hilltoppers surrendered 429 yards to the marching Mounders, including 385 yards rushing highlighted by senior Brady Redwine’s 264 yard, four-touchdown performance, in a 47-15 lashing in the October 12 game that secured Elk Mound a share of its second straight Dunn-St. Croix pigskin title.
“We started the game very flat on defense, you just cannot afford to do that against a talented Elk Mound team,” stated Shane Strong, Glenwood City head coach.
The win pushed the Mounders conference and regular season records to a respective 5-1 and 7-2 as they shared the 2018 conference crown with Spring Valley and Mondovi.
Despite the loss and a 4-5 overall mark, Glenwood City learned later that evening that their 3-3 conference record had earned the team a berth in this year’s WIAA playoffs after a one-year hiatus. The Toppers, who received a seven seed in the Division 6 Northwest sectional bracket, will travel to second seed Grantsburg this Friday, October 19 for a level one match-up.
Possibilities of a Toppers’ win let a alone a playoff berth looked quite slim at the onset of last Friday’s game.
Just 52 seconds and two offensive plays into the contest, Redwine rocketed for a 61-yard touchdown run to give Elk Mound a lead that it would unfortunately never yield. Jake Mentzel added the kick to make it 7-0.
Three minutes later Redwine added a second touchdown, this one from three yards out after he had set himself up with a 36-yard jaunt on the previous play. Mentzel tacked on the PAT giving a Mounders a nearly 14-0 cushion.
Glenwood City would finally find its defensive legs on the Mounders’ third offensive possession forcing Elk Mound to punt.
That bit of momentum spurred on the Toppers’ offensive which finally began to move the ball which resulted in an eight-play, 56 yard drive that culminated in Dakota Dean-Immerman’s two yard dive into the end zone. Tucker Lagerstrom booted the extra point through the uprights to half the Mounders’ lead to 14-7 with 1:01 to play in the first.
“We knew coming in we couldn’t match their speed, size or depth, but we felt we could compete well if we were disciplined on defense,” stated Coach Strong. “After we cut the score to 14-7, we started playing better defense.”
But it didn’t last long as Elk Mound geared up its ground game as Redwine rushed for 5, 15, and 11 yards to bring the Mounders down to the Toppers 25. Then on first and ten, EM quarterback Colton Ward found end Rian Flynn open for a pass. The senior connection went the distance as the Mounders reestablished a 14-point lead with the 25-yard touchdown pass and Mentzel’s kick with just a minute gone in the second quarter.
But Elk Mound wasn’t quite finished. The Mounders tacked on two more scores – a 6-yard scoring pass from Ward to Flynn and a 1-yard Brady Redwine plunge – and the hosts held a 33-7 halftime lead.
“We went back to playing undisciplined on our read keys,” stated Strong of the Mounders’ second-quarter scores. “I also felt we struggled tackling Friday night. Several times we hit their backs in the backfield, but did not finish the tackle.”
The Mounders added two more scores in the second half, a nifty 61-yard, third-quarter Redwine run in which he broke at least five or six Topper tackles en route to pay dirt at 10:08 and a 1-yard Todd Blaze running score just 38 seconds into the final stanza. Mentzel made good on both extra points to give Elk Mound a 47-7 advantage.
The Toppers finally got back on the scoreboard late in the game on a 10-yard quarterback keeper by Hadin DeSmith. The score at 2:24 and a good two-point conversion run from Brandyn Hallquist made the final count 47-15.
Glenwood City finished with 133 yards rushing and another 85 yards passing for a tally of 218.
Hadin DeSmith went 8-for-15 passing for 85 yards and an interception. Brandyn Hallquist and Tanner Davis caught three passes each for 44 and 32 yards respectively.
Dakota Dean-Immerman led the GC ground game with 39 yards on 14 carries, Caleb Petersen add 34 yards on 8 carries, DeSmith finished with 10 hauls for 27 yards and Dan Loring had 20 yards on a half dozen attempts.
Blaze Todd complimented Brady Redwine with 96 yards and a TD on eight carries for the Mounders while their quarterback was a perfect 3-for-3 for 44 yards and two scores all to Rian Flynn.
“Elk Mound is a very good team, but we need to play with more effort and a competitive attitude,” Strong noted. “Right now we are not imposing any will on our opponents. To be successful it is crucial that you play with high intensity and an absolute refusal to be defeated.”
The Toppers hope to find that intensity and will when they travel to Grantsburg for their level one playoff game this Friday. And they will need too as the Pirates, who defeated this same Mounders team to reach last year’s D5 state semifinals, carry a perfect 9-0 record after winning the Lakeland North title.
Glenwood City…………..7 0 0 8 – 15
Elk Mound……………..14 19 7 7 – 47
EM-Brady Redwine 68-yd run. (Jake Mentzel kick). 11:08.
EM-B. Redwine 3-yd. run (Mentzel kick). 8:02.
GC-Dakota Dean-Immerman 2-yd. run (Tucker Lagerstrom kick). 1:01.
EM-Rian Flynn 25-yd. catch from Colton Ward (Mentzel kick). 11:00.
EM-R. Flynn 6-yd. catch from C. Ward (kick failed). 6:48.
EM-B. Redwine 1-yd. run (run failed). :20.
EM-B. Redwine 66-yd. run (Mentzel kick). 10:08.
EM-Blaze Todd 1-yd. run (Mentzel kick). 11:22.
GC-Hadin DeSmith 10-yd. run (Brandyn Hallquist run). 2:24.
Passing (att-comp-yds-int): (GC) (15-8-85-1) H. DeSmith 15-8-85-1; (EM) (3-3-44-0) C. Ward 3-3-44-0.
Rushing (att-yds): (GC) (42-133) H. DeSmith 10-27, E. Hanson 3-5, D. Dean-Immerman 14-39, C. Peterson 8-34, D. Loring 6-20, B. Hallquist 1-8; (EM) (34-385) B. Redwine 22-64, B. Todd 8-96, R. Flynn 3-25, B. Lew 1-0.
Receiving (rec-yds): (GC) (8-85) T. Davis 3-32, B. Hallquist 3-44, C. Peterson 1-8, D. Loring 1-1; (EM) (3-44) R. Flynn 3-44.