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By Joel DeWitt
CADOTT — Many coaches will tell you, it takes a complete game on offense, defense, and special teams to win a football game. Last Friday, October 30th, the Boyceville Bulldogs leveraged all three facets of the game to turn the tide on the Cadott Hornets.
In a matter of 34 seconds in the third quarter, the Bulldogs would stuff the Hornets on fourth and short, throw a 50-yard touchdown pass, and recover a short, misplayed kickoff to set up another touchdown to take control of the game and cruise to a 16-8 victory over Cadott in a Dunn-St. Croix football contest.
It was the Bulldogs’ fourth straight victory and moved their season record to 5-1.
The Hornets would receive the opening kickoff, but on the second play quarterback Gavin Tegels would attempt a pass that safety Nick Olson would intercept and return to the Hornets 37-yard line. The Boyceville offense would stall and punt the ball which was downed at the Cadott 5-yard-line.
Cadott would use two series, aided by a muffed punt by Boyceville, to push the ball down to the Bulldogs’ 9-yard line. On third and goal, Tegels would drop back to pass, and once again Olson would step in front to pick the pass off.
“Defensively Nick Olson gave us a spark when he intercepted a pass in the first series. It was the spark we needed but we just couldn’t respond offensively,” coach Michael Roemhild said. “We coughed up the ball on a punt return which gave them good field position, but again Nick came up with a huge interception.”
The Bulldogs offense didn’t respond again as Cadott would force a punt. The ensuing Hornet possession would only be two plays, a 42-yard pass completion to Karson Dupey and a 15-yard touchdown run by Tegan Ritter. The conversion would give the Hornets an 8-0 lead with 8:30 remaining in the half.
The score would remain the same until the 3:44 minute mark of the third. That is when the Bulldogs would make Cadott scream in horror on this night. With a fourth and short on their own 50-yard line, the Hornets tried to push the ball up the middle but were stopped cold by a tough Bulldog defense.
On the next play, the Bulldogs would treat themselves to a big play. Quarterback Ira Bialzik (8-16, 155 Yards, two TDs) would make a spectacular pass to Jacob Granley that would cover 50 yards for a touchdown.
Instead of kicking, the Bulldogs would go for two. Bialzik pitched the ball to Nick Olson who would go right, stop, and throw the ball to an open John Klefstad for the two-point conversion. That conversion would even things up with the Hornets at eight apiece.
The ensuing kickoff would be a short, line drive that Cadott would misplay and allow Boyceville to recover on the Cadott 40-yard line. The Bulldogs would take advantage of this good fortune.
This time it would take the Bulldogs six plays to score. To cap the drive off Bialzik would again find Granley, this time from 13-yards out, for a touchdown reception giving the Bulldogs a 14-8 lead. Once more, Boyceville would reach into their bag of tricks to fool the Hornets.
Setting up in field goal formation, Bialzik would take the snap. However, instead of placing the ball down for the kick, he would stand up and move to his right and find Klefstad open once again for another two-point conversion. The second touchdown and two-point conversion within 2:19 would extend the Bulldog lead to 16-8.
With the lead, Boyceville would fall back on its always-reliable defense and running game. With every stop on the defensive side, the Bulldogs’ offense would rely on running back Tyler Domarman to chew time off the clock. The junior running back would rush for 50 yards on 11 carries, with the majority coming late in the game.
The tough-nosed running allowed Boyceville to control the ball and end any comeback chances by Cadott and hold on for the victory. The win moves the Bulldogs into sole possession of second place in the Dunn–St. Croix.
“Every game we have played in has been close. These guys believe in each other, are having fun, and each week someone new is stepping up to make plays for us,” commented coach Roemhild. “This win puts us at 5-1 with a huge matchup against undefeated Spring Valley.”
Boyceville will wrap up the regular season this Friday, November 6 at home against the conference-leading and unbeaten Cardinals of Spring Valley (5-0). A win would give Boyceville a share of the conference crown. Game time is 7:00 p.m.