PRESCOTT — The play on the field did not denote the final numbers on the scoreboard between rivals Ellsworth and Prescott. On Friday, the Panthers traveled to Prescott and came away with a 35-12 victory.
Through the first half, however, it was anyone's guess who would earn the win. Prescott opened the game by driving down inside Ellsworth's 20-yard line but proceeded to fumble the ball away.
"We came out just how we expected — we drove the ball right down the field," Prescott head football coach Jordan Hansen said. "We talked about not shooting ourselves in the foot and we did that the first drive — we fumbled the ball. We gotta punch it in there."
Prescott responded well after the turnover, however, as they forced an Ellsworth punt and then scored the game's first points on a 30-yard touchdown run by Grant Stanton.
Ellsworth answered right back with a touchdown of its own on the ensuing drive after a 4-yard touchdown run by Ashten Quade. But, Prescott again claimed the lead after a time-consuming eight-minute drive culminating with a 2-yard Aiden Russell touchdown run.
With momentum on their side — marching down the field into scoring position in its first three drives and playing stout defense — Prescott appeared destined to carry its 12-7 lead into halftime. Ellsworth had a differing viewpoint. On the kickoff after Prescott's touchdown, Bo Hines took the ball 78 yards to the endzone to give the Panthers a 14-12 lead into the break.
"We were in trouble. We were kind of floundering a bit, treading water," Ellsworth head football coach Rob Heller said. "For a sophomore to come in — Quade was banged up, he was supposed to be the returner — Bo Hines stepped up and had a big moment as a sophomore. That’s a big momentum changer for us."
The kick return ended up being the turning point in the game. Prescott went three-and-out to open the second half and Ellsworth quickly scored with a 50-yard touchdown run by Quade. In the Cardinals next drive, Stanton threw an interception to Jack Janke.
"We talked about this last week and that’s something that we haven’t been doing a good job of as a program these past few years is making adjustments at halftime," Heller said. "It seems like the teams we’ve been playing have been making the adjustments and the first two games this year the kids have been responding really well at halftime, making adjustments and just executing a little better."
Prescott caught a break after its turnover by forcing one of its own that next drive as Ellsworth's Mason Anderson threw an interception inside Prescott's 20-yard line. The Cardinals were unable to turn the change of possession into points however and were forced to punt after just one first down.
The Anderson-to-Janke connection heated up in Ellsworth's next drive as the duo combined for three clutch catches — two resulted in third-down conversions and the final catch resulted in a touchdown to give the Panthers a 29-12 lead.
Quade punched in his third touchdown of the game late in the fourth quarter to ice the game.
"Tip of the cap to Prescott, they came out and played their butts off and treated it like a rivalry game. They’re a good football team," Heller said. "If I had a game ball to give, I’d give it to the offensive line. Those guys did a really good job making adjustments and then just really grinding out that W in the second half for us."
Quade led Ellsworth with 167 yards and three touchdowns on 21 carries. Anderson went 6-of-11 passing for 80 yards and a touchdown. Janke was the Panthers leading receiver with four catches for 64 yards and a touchdown.
Prescott was led by Russell's 40 carries resulting in 158 yards and one touchdown. Stanton also ran for 47 yards on five carries.
Ellsworth, 2-0, hosts St. Croix Central next Friday while Prescott, 0-2, will travel to Altoona.
Spring Valley 52, Colfax 6
Spring Valley had more points than plays on Friday in their 52-6 win over Colfax. In fact, the Cardinals scored more points in the first quarter— 33 — than total plays executed in the entire game.
"We came out and executed like we want to," Spring Valley head football coach Ryan Kapping said.
In that first quarter scoring spree, Spring Valley had touchdown runs from three different players, a safety and returned an interception for a touchdown. The onslaught continued in the second quarter as the Cardinals returned a punt for a touchdown and Brayden Wolf scored his second rushing touchdown of the night to increase the lead to 46-0.
The second half was much less eventful on the scoreboard as Spring Valley scored one touchdown in the third quarter, while Colfax finally got on the board in the fourth quarter with a touchdown of its own.
Of the 32 total plays Spring Valley ran on offense, 31 of them were run plays — of those, eight players ran the ball more than twice.
Justin Rielly led with 91 yards on three carries, while Wolf only carried the ball three times but scored twice on 66 yards. Nathan Fesenmaier also rushed for 55 yards on four carries.
The win came in Spring Valley's first live action of the season as its game last week was canceled.
"We have a really strong group of upperclassmen leaders. They didn’t get down when things were cancelled last week," Kapping said. "I thought defensively we were a little unsteady to begin with, but the good news is that most years you see a lot of improvement from Week 1 to Week 2."
Spring Valley, 1-0, hosts Clear Lake next Friday.
Cadott 49, Elmwood/Plum City 16
Elmwood/Plum City may have lost to Cadott by 33 points on Friday, but there were plenty of encouraging signs in the 49-16 loss.
For starters, E/PC outgained Cadott on the ground as the Wolves rushed for 240 yards. E/PC also had the advantage in plays run and time of possession. Those were the positive takeaways.
The not-so-good? E/PC allowed Cadott to convert on over half of their third down attempts. The devastating? E/PC fumbled the ball eight times — five of which were recovered by Cadott.
Trevor Asher led E/PC offensively with 216 yards on 31 carries for two touchdowns. Luke Webb was unable to complete his only pass and ran for 29 yards on eight carries.
E/PC, 0-2, hosts Boyceville on Oct. 9 for its next game.