By Amber Hayden
WESTBY — A strong rushing performance by a senior running back coupled with turnovers proved to be the difference in Elk Mound’s second-round, road football playoff game against Westby last Friday evening.
After putting up 959 yards rushing and 16 touchdowns in his previous three games, many might suspect that Elk Mound senior Brady Redwine had turned in yet another decisive and memorable performance.
Instead, it was Westby’s 6’ 2”, 210 pound running back Ryan Daines that shined.
The senior ran for 145 yards and two touchdowns and the Norsemen capitalized on four second-half Mounder turnovers to score 28 unanswered points in the final 13 minutes for the 35-6 win in the WIAA Division 5, level 2 game played October 27 at Westby High School that snapped the Mounders’ seven-game win streak.
Westby improved to 10-1 on the season and will travel to Spencer/Columbus Catholic this coming Friday for a state quarterfinal’s match. Elk Mound, who trailed just 14-6 heading into the fourth quarter, finished the season 8-3.
Westby contained Brady Redwine throughout the game, holding the Mounders’ senior to just 84 yards on 28 attempts in his final game. It was just the third time this season that Redwine was held under 100 yards rushing.
“Our young men played hard to the end and never gave up,” stated Mounders’ coach Dave Lew.
Elk Mound put up their first, and only, points against Westby during the second quarter of the game as Colton Ward tossed the ball to Redwine resulting in a 90-yard touchdown pass. The extra point attempt by Jake Mentzel was unsuccessful giving the Mounders an early 6-0 lead.
Westby scored later in the quarter and with a good extra point led 7-6 at the intermission.
The Norsemen would extend their lead to eight points with an interception return for the touchdown.
The Mounders’ quarterback Colton Ward attempted a third-down pass from his own end zone but the throw was intercepted by Dawson Marshall at the ten yard line and returned for the score.
That turnover and score opened the flood gates for the Norsemen who scored 21 points in the final quarter to put away the Mounders.
“We were close the entire game, just could not out match their physicality,” Lew commented.
Elk Mound’s offensive line faltered in the second half with attempts to the red zone only to be shut down by the Westby defensive line every time.
Colton Ward found his targets downfield seven separate times for 141 yards, but with three interceptions against him it gave Westby the opening they needed to take control of the game.
The Norsemen finished with 280 rushing yards. Besides Daines 145-yard performance, junior Austin Mowery added 98 yards on five carries and senior Gunnar Hanson chipped in for 22 yards in Westby’s win.
“Very proud of our team and for the great year they had, It is an honor to coach this group and the seniors will be missed,” Lew stated.
WESTBY………………….0 7 7 21 – 35
ELK MOUND……………0 6 0 0 – 6
Passing (att-comp-yds-int): (W) (13-7-70-0) A. Gluch 13-7-70-0; (EM) (15-7-141-3) C. Ward 15-7-141-3.
Rushing (att-yds): (W) (36-280) A. Mowery 5-98, G. Hanson 4-22, A. Gluch 2-15, R. Daines 25-145; (EM) (28-84) B. Redwine 28-84.
Receiving (rec-yds): (W) (7-70) J. Armbruster 2-19, D. Spears 3-28, R. Daines 2-23; (EM) (1-90) B. Redwine 1-90.