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by Marlys Kruger
ELK MOUND — After playing their first three games on the road, the Elk Mound football team finally had a chance to play at home September 10 when they hosted Eau Claire Regis.
Despite holding the Regis runners to just 72 yards rushing, the Mounders lost 43-6, bringing their record to 1-3 overall and 0-2 in Cloverbelt Conference play.
“They (Regis Ramblers) were as good as we expected, but the score did not reflect how hard our kids played,” said Mounders’ head coach Dave Lew. “I felt our entire team, from the players on the field to all the players on the sideline, really brought their best Friday night and we as a coaching staff are so proud of this team.”
The Mounders knew it was going to be a tough task – and a major upset – if they could pull off a win over the undefeated Ramblers. Regis was 3-0 entering the contest, outscoring their opponents 118-10 which included two shutouts. According to the latest Wisconsin Football Coaches Association poll, the Ramblers are ranked number 1 in Division 6.
But, after coming off a disappointing last second loss at Neillsville-Granton a week earlier, the Mounders showed they had plenty of fight in them, especially on the defensive side.
The first quarter was almost scoreless before Regis scored on a 10-yard pass from Kenson Krogman to Carson Tait with 1:54 to go, and with a two-point run by Gus Theisen it was 8-0 at the end of the quarter.
The defense held again until the 3:26 mark of the second stanza when Regis scored on a two-yard run by Zander Rockow and a kick made it 15-0. But, with just 37 seconds left in the half, Krogman threw another TD pass, this time to Rockow for 36 yards and the kick put the score at 22-0 at the break.
Regis added to their point total with a 17-yard touchdown run by Alex Leis with 9:03 on the clock in the third quarter and the extra point kick made it 29-0.
With just under three minutes left, the Mounders offense showed some spark as they moved the ball down field and finally scored on a 14-yard pass from quarterback Kaden Russo to Avery Kaanta. The two-point conversion pass was incomplete but, Elk Mound was on the board down 29-6 with 2:54 to go in the third stanza.
What little momentum the Mounders had at this point was quickly extinguished when Tait returned the ensuing kickoff 96 yards to the end zone and another extra point boot put the score at 36-6 at the 2:38 mark and the quarter ended.
With 4:18 left in the game, Krogman threw a TD pass to Theisen and another kick gave them their final points.
“We were down 36-6 with under 4 minutes and they threw the ball to make it 43, take that away and we make the number 1 team in the state play for an entire game,” stated Lew. “Not the outcome we hoped on the scoreboard, but our young team took a giant step forward for next week.”
Russo completed eight of 21 passes for 82 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions however, the Mounder running game was pretty much shut down as they gained only 54 yards. Kaanta had 28 of those yards on 11 carries and Ryan Bartig ran for 22 yards on four attempts. Ethan Johnson snared three passes for 32 yards and Braedon Pederson and Kaanta both had two receptions. Defensively, Kaanta was credited with one and a half sacks and Tate Anderson had a half sack.
Elk Mound will host conference opponent Osseo-Fairchild this Friday night.