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by Joel DeWitt
CLEAR LAKE – Heading into their game October 15th, the Bulldogs were looking to do a few things. Tune up for the playoffs, stay healthy, and get a victory over a scrappy Clear Lake team.
“I knew Clear Lake was going to come out and battle tonight. Their record does not indicate how tough they are,” coach Michael Roemhild indicated. “They have a bigger line and some fast running backs.”
While Boyceville did get out to a slow start, they were able to score on three consecutive possessions to start the second half and cruise to a 29-0 victory over the host Warriors.
“Overall, I think we were flat on the night. We can’t come out like that in the playoffs, or there will be no tomorrow,” commented Roemhild on the Bulldogs sluggish start.
Even though they were a bit flat, all three units had great efforts to contribute to the win. The defense held Clear Lake to only 93 total yards on the evening, the offense had 225 yards rushing, and the special teams contributed a kickoff return for a touchdown that put Boyceville over the top.
While possessions were at a premium, Boyceville only had eight, their dominant line and backs controlled the pace of the game.
“Tyler, Nick, Braden, and Bash ran hard all night,” Roemhild said. “Up front our line battled the whole night.”
The Bulldogs first drive of the night would consist of 16 plays for 63 yards and would consume 10:54 of game time. However, a run on fourth and three by Braden Roemhild would come up short and the Bulldogs would turn the ball over on downs.
While Boyceville came away empty on that initial drive, it would set the tone for the evening. The Bulldogs converted on two fourth down attempts on that drive and demonstrated the power rushing attack that would carry them through the game.
The Bulldogs would start their next possession on the Warrior 36-yard line after Peyton Ponath recovered a Clear Lake fumble.
With the short field, it would only take Boyceville four plays to find the endzone and the 8-0 lead. The drive was highlighted by a 9-yard rush by Bash Nielson for a first down and an 18-yard touchdown rush by Nick Olson. Tyler Dormanen would take it in from three yards out for the PAT.
The Bulldog defense would control things for the remainder of the half. They would hold Clear Lake on downs on their next possession and then Caden Wold would intercept a pass from Warrior QB Jacob Burbach to end the half.
“Defensively, I thought the guys were focused and played well,” commented Roemhild. “When they tried to throw, I thought Ira, Braden, Caden and Jack shut down their receivers. Caden came up with two big interceptions for us as well.”
The second half would start out big for the Bulldogs when Roemhild took the second half kickoff and handed it off to Wold who proceeded to take it 86-yards for the touchdown and the 16-0 lead.
“Caden gave us a huge energy boost when he took the opening kickoff of the second half to the house,” Roemhild mentioned. “I thought we executed our wall to perfection, and he read it great.”
That would be all that the Bulldog defense needed. The three Clear Lake possessions of the second half would see them not advance the ball farther then their own 36-yard line and would results in two punts and a turnover.
Meanwhile, the offense would continue to pound the ball down the field. Dormanen would score from ten yards out after an eight play 60-yard drive. The touchdown would put the score at 22-0 with 1:58 remaining in the third quarter.
The next Boyceville drive would see them only have to go 34 yards in three plays for the touchdown. This time Olson would dive in from four yards outs. Boyceville would attempt a rare kicking extra point, and Brayan Vasquez-Martinez would convert to extend the lead and conclude the scoring at 29-0.
Olson led on rushers on the evening with 72 yards on nine carries and the two touchdowns. Nielson added 63 yards.
“I am very proud of these guys. We ended the regular season 5-2 in conference and 7-2 overall,” proclaimed Roemhild. “That makes back-to-back winning seasons and back-to-back playoff appearances.”
The victory secured a five seed in the division 6 playoffs that is scheduled to begin October 22nd. They will travel to fourth seeded Cumberland that finished second in the Heart O’North Conference.
“We are disappointed that we didn’t get a home playoff game but are looking forward to the challenge and hope to see as many people as possible in their purple at Cumberland next Friday.
Kickoff for this opening round game is set at 7 p.m.