Prep Football Review: Thunder, Cardinals, Beavers miss their chances for wins

Fall Creek nailing down playoff bid

While other Tri-County Area teams missed opportunities last week Friday, Sept. 16 to claim important wins, Fall Creek did not.

By winning their Homecoming game 27-12 over Neillsville/Granton. the Crickets now have wins against teams that on paper were their main competition for playoff bids in the Cloverbelt Conference outside of top-ranked Mondovi and Eau Claire Regis.

The Crickets have wins over Stanley-Boyd and Neillsville/Granton and still has games left with Elk Mound and Osseo-Fairchild win combined records of 1-9. Four wins gets them in automatically, a win over Durand-Arkansaw may well given them a Level 1 home game.

And as long as we're thinking big here, FC is still in contention for the Cloverbelt championship with a game vs. No. 1 ranked Regis this weekend to be played in Altoona starting a 2 p.m. Sept. 24.

The Crickets, 4-1 overall and 3-1 in the league, put the game away against the pesky Wardogs (2-3 overall and 1-2 in the league) with 13 critical points in the third quarter after leading just 14-6 at halftime. FC quarterback Eli Laube threw a 55-yard scoring strike to Ryan Whittlinger then another TD pass, this one of 13 yards, to Jake Wathke

Laube threw for 208 yards and four touchdowns. He also threw TDs to Leo Hagberg for 10 yards and another to Wathke just before halftime for 18 yards. Whittlinger had a team-best 77 yards receiving, Wathke caught a team-most five passes for 57 yards and Hagberg had four catches for 56 yards. FC won despite the fact Neillsville/Granton was far more balanced statistically with 121 rushing and 190 passing yards while Fall Creek had just 63 yards rushing.

Whittlinger and Nate Kurtz led the Crickets in tackles with seven while Ben Kelly and Brian Birdsall each had six.

Meanwhile the rest of the Tri-County Area's teams have to regroup.

Augusta was especially hurt as they were unable to hold onto a 28-21 lead against No. 5 ranked Alma/Pepin and lost 45-36 at Pepin.

The back n' forth, haymakers thrown ballgame turned towards the undefeated Eagles in the second half. AHS went ahead 28-21 with 7:28 to go in the third quarter when quarterback Brennen King threw a 18-yard TD pass to Levi White. The two-point conversion run by Ben Dickinsen was successful and the Beavers (3-2 overall and 2-1 in the league) held the lead.

But A/P running back Demetrius Bergmann scored on running plays of three and four yards and Eagles' quarterback Drew Seifert tossed a 32-scoring pass to Cainnin Mann to put their team in front 45-28. Augusta scored with 1:36 to go as King delivered a five-yard TD toss to Joe Shong and Dickinsen again scored on a two-point run. But Eagles got the ball back and ran out the clock.

Both teams featured explosive offenses as Augusta amassed 446 yards (300 rushing, 146 passing) and Alma/Pepin had 445 yards (212 passing and 243 rushing). Dickinsen rished for 143 yards on 12 carries including a four-yard TD run in the first half. Teammate Jackson Laxson rushed for 92 yards on 19 carries including TD runs of eight and four yards in the first half. White led the team with four catches for 88 yards and King was 8-for-13 behind center. Seifert was a near-perfect 12-for-16 passing while Bergmann rushed for 135 yards and three TDs. Madox Stewart caught five passes for 137 yards for the Eagles including TD catches of 54 and 35 yards. Stewart also converted on four extra-point attempts.

Eleva-Strum looked their game with Independence/Gilmanton for a chance to get their first league win of the season but unfortunately they'll have to wait until this Friday when they host winless Melrose-Mindoro. The Indees snapped a long losing streak by winning 19-12 at home last Friday.

I/G scored on the kick-off return to open the second half 84 yards by Ben Pyka and it's all they would need to thwart the Cardinals (1-4 overall and 0-3 in the Dairyland, same as Indy/Gilmanton). Central quarterback Brennan Hammer scored on a one-yard run and threw a 21-yard TD pass to Lagarrian Smith, both scores coming in the second quarter but I/G still led at halftime 13-12.

Ryan Julson rushed for 161 yard on 30 carries and Reede Brown rushed the ball seven times for 36 carries. Hammer rushed for 36 yards. Smith caught three passes for 49 yards. E-S's Jacob Olson led the team in tackles with seven while teammates Brayton Olson and Tyler Kirschmann both had six tackles.

Osseo-Fairchild missed its chance on Homecoming to snap its long losing streak and unfortunately was shutout again, 15-0 against Elk Mound.

O-F played good defense throughout the contest with Lucas Frase snagging an early interception and preventing a long touchdown run by running back Parker Dutzle by forcing a fumble and recovering it. But EM, who notched their first win of the season, eventually wore down the Thunder with the running of quarterback Kaden Russo and running back Carter Veith, who finished with 176 yards rushing on 30 carries. Russo scored on a four-yard TD run in the third quarter and Vieth put EM in front at halftime with a five-yard TD run. All told, the Mounders finished with 300 yards rushing.

O-F had two promising scoring drives in the second half saw one stall out due to penalties and the other end with an interception. Now O-F has to get that first win on the road at Stanley-Boyd this Friday.


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