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By Joel DeWitt
ELK MOUND — So far, 2020 has been anything but normal. However, the opening of the WIAA football season seemed to set the world right again, if only for a few hours, as the Elk Mound Mounders hosted the Ramblers of Eau Claire Regis on a beautiful fall evening last Friday, September 25.
With the new season, the Mounders find themselves with a whole new set of challenges as conference realignment has placed them in a tough Cloverbelt conference hosting one of its established contenders.
While the schools are less than 15 miles apart, it’s the first matchup between them since the 2005 playoffs. Coach Dave Lew’s team was hoping to make a big impression; however, they would find it a rough road paved with miscues and missed opportunities. Regis, coming off a state runner-up season, would hold Elk Mound scoreless thru three and a half quarters and would prevail 28-6.
Considering it was the first game, it was no surprise that the defenses for both teams dominated the first half. After trading punts in the first quarter, the Mounders were able to put together a drive that saw them inside the 10-yard line. At that point, the Rambler defense stiffened and held the Mounders out of the endzone as a fourth-down pass by Ryan Bohl fell incomplete.
This would be a common theme for Elk Mound. There would be two additional drives where the Mounders would find themselves within the red zone only to turn the ball over via interception.
However, Eau Claire was about to find its groove. Late in the second quarter, Regis was able to establish their rushing attack. Regis running back Zander Rockow took the handoff and ran 26 yards down the left sideline for the lone score of the first half to give the Ramblers a 6-0 lead with only 1:48 remaining in the half.
The second half saw Regis continue with their run dominance. They used a quadruple of running backs to rush for 310 yards and establish a 28-0 lead in the fourth when Gus Theisen broke a long run for a touchdown.
However, Elk Mound was not ready to roll over. Midway through the fourth quarter, Bohl connected with Carson Steinhorst for a quick touchdown to cut the score to 28-6. While that ended the scoring for the Mounders, they were able to find success in the air.
Bohl went 13 of 24 for 133 yards passing with Ben Heath leading the way with 48 yards receiving. Also, dual threat athlete Michael Jenson led with six receptions for 31 yards and a team high of 67 rushing yards on three attempts. The Mounders finished with 117 on the ground.
The Mounders will travel to Fall Creek this Friday, October 2 to take on the Crickets in hopes of earning their first win of the season.