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by Joel DeWitt
ELMWOOD — Heading into Boyceville’s September 23 matchup with Elmwood/Plum City, Bulldog coach Michael Roemhild knew his defense had a tough task bottling up Wolves’ running back Trevor Asher.
Through five games, the senior back had racked up 1,507 yards on the ground and he would tack on an additional 300 yards to go along with three touchdowns to lift his team to a 24-21 win over the visiting Bulldogs.
Even though the Bulldogs were able to bottle Asher up in the middle quarters, it was his long touchdown on his first touch of the game to go along with two fourth-quarter scores that sealed the Bulldogs fate.
“Besides the first series for EPC our defense shut them down until the fourth quarter,” Roemhild indicated. “It was really frustrating to watch it unfold in the fourth quarter.”
Despite Asher’s effort and the loss, the Bulldogs were still the more dominant squad. They held all other Wolves to just 31 total yards while racking up 376 total yards, with it split almost evenly between passing and rushing at 195 and 181 yards, respectively.
Boyceville took the opening kickoff at their own 36-yardline and easily pushed the ball down the field. They picked up four quick first downs to put them in the Wolves red zone, highlighted by a 36-yard reception by Caden Wold from Nick Olson.
However, a fumble would end the drive and give Elmwood/Plum City the ball on their 15 yard line. Asher would take the first snap and find a seem and go 85 yards for the touchdown. The two-point conversion put them up 8-0 at the 8:26 mark of the first quarter.
The Bulldog’s second possession looked like their first. Starting on their own 40 yard line, they had big chunk plays to take them deep into Wolves territory. This time they were able to complete the drive as Braden Roemhild took it from 6 yards out for the score. The PAT by Brayan Vasquez-Martinez would cut the Wolves’ lead to 8-7.
The Bulldogs got the ball back on their 16 yard line after the defense forced a three-and-out. Again, the offense would easily push the ball down the field. This time, however, the Elmwood/Plum City defense would stiffen. An incomplete pass on fourth down would turn the ball back over to the Wolves.
When the Wolves couldn’t do anything with the ball, Boyceville had one final chance of the half with 00:53 remaining on their own 37 yard line.
They quickly moved the ball to Elmwood/Plum City’s 42-yardline with only a few ticks left on the clock. On the final play, Olson would scramble and heave the ball to the end zone where Roemhild came down with the ball and the score to put the Bulldogs up 14-8 at halftime.
The momentum from the first half Hail Mary would carry over to the third quarter. The Bulldogs defense would once again stuff the Wolves and force a punt after four plays.
The ensuing Boyceville drive would prove to be a success, with the Olson-to-Wold connection being the key. On third and nine on their own 31 yard line, Olson connected with Wold to gain 29 yards and give the Bulldogs a fresh set of downs.
Then on fourth and eight from the 13 yard line, that connection struck again as Wold would haul in the pass for the score. The PAT extended the Bulldogs’ lead to 13 points at 21-8 with 1:32 left in the third quarter.
While it appeared Boyceville had the game well under control, Asher had different ideas. Over the next 10:35 of game time, the Bulldogs couldn’t muster any offense and Asher would score twice, from 47 and 21 yards out, to put Elmwood/Plum City up 24-21 with 2:59 remaining.
One final drive by Boyceville would come up short when a fourth-down pass was deflected. With the turnover on downs, the Wolves would run out the clock for the win.
The loss by the Bulldogs dropped them to 4-2 (2-2 in conference) on the season.
“This loss is going to hurt, not just because we were up, but because we need as many conference wins as possible to get in the playoffs,” commented Roemhild. “We definitely did not help our cause tonight.”
Offensively, Wold lead the team with 136 receiving yards on eight receptions and one score. Roemhild followed up with 50 yards, including the 42-yard Hail Mary. Olson was 12-21 for 195 yards and two touchdown passes.
On the ground, Sebastian Nielson paced his team with 123 yards on 24 carries. Roemhild notched 37 yards on seven attempts.
Boyceville will attempt to get back on track September 30 when they travel to rival Glenwood City. The Bulldogs currently sit a game ahead of the Hilltoppers in the standings and will look to increase that lead. Game time is 7:00 p.m.