GRANTSBURG — It didn’t take long for the Pirates to plunder the Hilltoppers’ playoff plans.
Unbeaten Grantsburg, spearheaded by the rushing of senior and Wisconsin Badger recruit Leo Chenal, scored early and often in its WIAA Division 6, level one football playoff contest against Glenwood City last Friday evening.
The host and second-seeded Pirates put up eight, first-half touchdowns – four each in the first and second quarters – for a 54-14 halftime advantage before coasting to a 61-30 victory over the seventh-seeded Hilltoppers in the October 19 match up.
Chenal accounted for four touchdowns and 265 of Grantsburg’s 329 rushing yards. Pirates’ quarterback Luke Anderson also added 100 yards passing for two more scores in a dominating performance by the now 10-0 Pirates.
“Grantsburg was the most physical team we have played all season,” stated Glenwood City head coach Shane Strong. “We were unable to contain their feature back (Chenal). There is a reason he has a full scholarship to the Badgers.”
“We were able to move the ball at times but we had a hard time sustaining drives against their talented defense,” added Strong of the season-ending loss.
Glenwood City, who finishes the season at 4-6, fell behind quickly trailing 28-7 after the first 12 minutes of action in Grantsburg lat Friday.
The lone bright spot in the opening quarter was senior Hadin DeSmith’s 99-yard kick off return for the Toppers’ first score.
Unfortunately, Grantsburg kept turning the numbers on the scoreboard as it added four more six-pointers in the second quarter of play.
DeSmith, who finished 2-for-4 passing for 30 yards and two interceptions, tossed a nine-yard scoring strike to classmate Caleb Petersen in the second stanza to account for the Toppers only other score of the first half.
Grantsburg scored its ninth and final touchdown in the third to make the score 61-14,
It would stay that way until the Hilltoppers scored a pair of rushing touchdowns – one each by Brandyn Hallquist and Ethan Hanson – and their corresponding two-point conversions in the fourth quarter to account for the 61-30 final.
“We are disappointed how we lost but we are also proud to be a playoff team,” noted Strong. “If we want to make deeper runs, we need to make a commitment in the off-season. Big games in the fall are won in the winter, spring and summer.”
Hallquist and Dan Loring led the Glenwood City ground game with 73 and 78 yards respectively.
Tanner Davis also hauled in DeSmith’s other completion for 21 yards.
Bryce Roufs and Tyrell Brande complimented Leo Chenal’s rushing with 50 and 20 yards respectively for the Pirates. Gabe Chenal caught four of quarterback Anderson’s five completions for 97 yards.
Grantsburg will host fellow Lakeland Conference foe Unity, a 28-7 winner over Webster, in a level two game this Friday.
As for the Toppers, their sights turn to next season.
“It was evident in our losses this year that we’re physically out matched at several positions,” Strong stated. “We have a nice group of young guys that I feel have leadership potential. It will be up to them to make the commitment.”
Glenwood City…………..7 7 0 16 – 30
Grantsburg…………….28 26 7 0 – 61