ELMWOOD — Looking for their first win of the season, a couple of bad breaks were all it took to prevent Elmwood/Plum City from reaching that milestone.
Hosting Boyceville on Friday, the two teams were both inclined to play tough-nosed football on both sides of the ball. With neither team presenting much of a threat through the air, it was all about which team was more effective in the trenches.
Early on, Boyceville was the winner in the trenches and scored the game's first points with a 1-yard touchdown run by Tyler Dormanen halfway through the second quarter. Less than a minute later, E/PC struck back with a 58-yard touchdown run by Luke Webb who also converted on the two-point attempt to give the Wolves an 8-6 lead.
The score remained the same until the final minutes of the third quarter. Lining up to punt, E/PC's long snapper sailed the ball over the punter's head which gave Boyceville good field position. Shortly after, Dormanen ran in his second touchdown of the night to give the Bulldogs a 14-8 lead after the successful two-point try.
With three minutes to go in the fourth quarter, Boyceville lined up to punt the ball. Similar to what happened to E/PC, the ball sailed over the punter's head. The difference this time was that the ball went so far behind the punter that the Wolves defense wasn't able to get to the ball before the Bulldogs' punter. Jacob Granley (Boyceville's punter) managed to scoop the ball and boot the ball away before E/PC defenders could reach him. The Wolves couldn't march down the field before time expired.
"It’s just one of those things where if that ball bounces a different way, we’d have the ball at their 20-yard line with three minutes to go," E/PC head football coach Mike Birtzer said.
Birtzer was careful not to pin the loss on the two botched snaps however. He said a series of mistakes including fumbled snaps and fumbling ballcarriers were all part of the reason for the loss. And although the Wolves have opened the season with three-straight losses, he sees a lot of improvement in a short amount of time.
"We’re starting to get our offense, this is a new offense. They’re starting to read the things they need to," Birtzer said. "Defensively, we are starting to get more aggressive."
Notable performances by the Wolves on Friday include: Luke Webb rushing for 176 yards and one touchdown on 31 carries. Trevor Asher led the team in tackles with 11. He also intercepted a pass. Ethan Rupakas also intercepted two passes.
E/PC, 0-3, hosts Colfax next Friday for homecoming.
Ellsworth still undefeated
For the first time since 2013 Ellsworth defeated St. Croix Central and for the second time in as many years, the Panthers are starting the season 3-0. Hosting St. Croix Central on Friday, Ellsworth came away with the 26-22 win.
Ellsworth drew first blood when Mason Anderson connected with Jack Janke for an 80-yard touchdown. St. Croix Central scored a touchdown late in the first quarter to take the lead 7-6 after Ellsworth missed its extra point attempt.
In the second half, St. Croix Central was the first to score and increased their lead to 15-6 in the process. Anderson and Janke connected once again midway through the third quarter to trim the lead to 15-13.
Driving down the field after a 30-yard run by Shane Lange and long pass, Ellsworth was set up to take the lead until Janke fumbled the ball through the back of the endzone. St. Croix Central responded with a touchdown of its own to make it a two-score game once again.
Then, with less than six minutes on the clock and facing a nine-point deficit, Ellsworth put the rubber to the tarmac. Shane Lange scored on an 80-yard touchdown run to put the game within one score. In St. Croix Central's next possession, Janke intercepted a pass to give the Panthers possession.
"Janke fumbled through the end of the endzone, so it was nice that he got a little redemption with that pick," Ellsworth head football coach Rob Heller said.
With three minutes to go before the final whistle, Anderson found Ryan Matzek for a 4-yard touchdown to put Ellsworth ahead for good, 26-22.
"It feels awesome to get the win over St. Croix Central. I told the team 'You beat a team that nobody expected you to beat. This is a game you talk about years down the road," Heller said.
Notable performances included: Anderson went 10-of-14 for 283 yards and three touchdowns. Lange led with 118 yards and Ashten Quade had 16 carries for 54 yards. Janke led the receivers with six catches for 178 yards and two touchdowns. On defense, Jurrell Gooden led the team with 13.5 tackles.
Ellsworth, 3-0, hosts Amery next Friday.
Spring Valley with another blowout win
Spring Valley scored early and often against Colfax on Friday night. The Cardinals had a 41-0 lead heading into the break. They were brought back down to Earth in the second half, however, as the teams split touchdowns to give Spring Valley the 47-8 advantage.
Connor Ducklow went 3-of-4 passing with 36 yards and one touchdown. Nathan Fesenmaier logged 136 yards on 16 carries and Brayden Wolf added 75 yards on 11 carries.
Spring Valley, 2-0, travels to Turtle Lake for their next game.
Prescott gets a win
Prescott earned its first win of the season with a 49-6 defeat of Altoona on Friday.
No statistics were provided.
Prescott, 1-2, next plays Osceola at home on Oct. 16.