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ELK MOUND — After trailing early and holding a slim three-point advantage at halftime, Elk Mound exploded for 28 unanswered points in the third quarter of its home game versus Fall Creek last Friday, September 22.
The Mounders went on to squash the Crickets 50 to 20 in a pivotal Cloverbelt football contest.
The Mounders offense, with balanced attack that gained 134 yards through the air and another 155 on the ground, was actually outdone by the pass-heavy Crickets who threw for 289 yards and rushed for 97.
Despite that fact, the difference in the game proved to be the three interceptions that Fall Creek tossed, two of which Elk Mound returned for a pair of 21-yard, third quarter scores in just a13-second span.
With the victory, Elk Mound improved to 2-2 in Cloverbelt games and 3-3 overall with three regular-season games remaining.
Fall Creek secured the game’s first score when quarterback Nathan Kurtz threw a 34-yard touchdown strike to Isaac Steinke with 4:46 to play in the first quarter. The Mounders stuffed the Cricket’s two-point run attempt to keep it a six-point deficit.
Just 59 seconds later, Elk Mound scored on their own passing play. Logan Jerome lofted a 61-yard touchdown pass to Kamron Diermeier to knot the score at sixes. Kaden Russo’s PAT kick gave the host Mounders a 7-6 lead at the 3:47 mark.
Moving in to the second quarter, Fall Creek used another scoring pass, this one covering 67 yards from Kurtz to Steinke, to retake the advantage, 12-7, at 9:28 after another Cricket’ two-point attempt failed.
Elk Mound would put together a long drive that culminated in a 1-yard dive by Carter Vieth with 4:11 remaining until the half. Jerome tossed the two-point conversion to Sam Wenzel to put the locals in front 15-12 at the intermission.
Parker Dutzle put Elk Mound back in the end zone to start the second-half of play. The Mounder running back busted loose for a 56-yard scoring run at 9:44 of the third quarter. Russo booted the PAT for a 22-12 Mounder lead.
Just 43 seconds later, Parker Dutzle snared a Kurtz pass and returned the interception 21 yards to the end zone. Russo kicked another point after through the uprights to extend the Mounder lead to 29-12.
Russo found himself in the end zone only 13 seconds later after he picked off another Kurtz pass and returned it for six with 8:48 still to play in the third. He thenadded another PAT kick to make it 36-12.
But the Mounders were not finished. With just over two minutes left in the quarter, Dutzle scored his second rushing touchdown of the evening and third in the game, from two yards out. Again, Russo’s Point-After-Touchdown kick sailed through to give the Mounders a commanding 43-12 lead.
In the final stanza, Elk Mound upped that advantage to 50-12 when Vieth scored his second 1-yard touchdown of the night with 9:29 left in the game and Russo stayed perfect with his sixth extra point.
Fall Creek scored with 3:03 on a 1-yard Cullen Kramer run and tacked on the two-point conversion on a pass from Kurtz to Kramer to account for the final score of 50 to 20.
Jerome finished 8-for-15 passing with 134 yards and a touchdown to Diermeier who was the top receiver for the locals with four catches for 108 yards. Dutzle, 10 carries for 81 yards and two touchdowns, and Vieth, 73 yards and two scores on 15 hauls, accounted for all but one of the locals 155 rushing yards.
Elk Mound will play at Mondovi this Friday. The Buffaloes were a 24-20 winner over Regis last week and are tied atop the conference standings with the Ramblers, Stanley-Boyd and Neillsville/Granton all of whom sport 3-1 records in Cloverbelt play.