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High school football roundup: Holmen, Onalaska win to remained tied for 2nd in MVC

BANGOR — The Bangor High School football team entered Friday night’s game with seven points allowed all season.

Yet, the third-ranked Cardinals coughed up a fumble and were fooled on a fake punt that gave Potosi/Cassville the chance to score 15 points in the first half of a nonconference game in Bangor.

Once Bangor coach Rick Muellenberg made some adjustments, however, the Cardinals found a way to roll to an impressive 44-15 victory over Potosi/Cassville.

“We told the guys at halftime it’s up to the defense,” Muellenberg said. “If we keep them off the board our offense will do the rest.”

He was right.

The Cardinals (7-0) held Potosi/Cassville (5-2) — a team averaging more than 48 points per game — scoreless in the second half and limited it to 226 total yards in the game after it scored on a short field twice.

“We talk about that every week how you can’t beat yourselves,” Muellenberg said. “And that’s what made first half so frustrating. There was a couple of things we could have prevented.”

The defense responded in the second half intercepting two P/C passes while the offense just simply wore it down behind Luke Reader, who had five total touchdowns (three rushing, two receiving) while rushing for 246 yards on 29 carries.

“He’s a special player,” Muellenberg said. “The big guys on the offensive line and the tight ends really played well tonight. Twenty-nine carries is the most he’s ever had, but we had to just keep giving him the ball. When he gets the ball that much he’s going to do good things. He seemed to get stronger as the night went on.”

Reader broke the game open in the third quarter when he scampered 60 yards for the touchdown to increase the Bangor lead from eight points to 15. Quarterback Drew Johnson was efficient, going 8-for-11 with 139 yards and two touchdowns. Overall, Muellenberg was happy with his team’s effort.

“They (Potosi/Cassville) are a real good football team,” Muellenberg said. “I thought our guys did a phenomenal job on both sides of the ball. Phenomenal effort. I’m real proud of our guys tonight.”


Holmen 46, Aquinas 20

HOLMEN — After a 46-point first half, the second-place Vikings (5-2, 4-1) were silenced by Aquinas after scoring 20 unanswered points.


Senior Drew Becker joined the 1,000-yard club after rushing for 231 yards on 12 carries to jump to 1,170 yards this season. Becker’s night included a 15-yard TD run in the first quarter to go with a 2-yarder in the first and another 2-yarder in the second.

Aquinas (0-7, 0-5) recorded its first touchdown after a 4-yard run from Nick Cambio in the third quarter. After a pass from Gavin Wetzel to Conley Malone secured the Blugolds’ second scoring play, Mason Viner finished up the scoring after a fumble recovery in the fourth quarter.

Onalaska 58, Tomah 28

ONALASKA — Senior Noah Skifton led an efficient Hilltoppers (6-1, 4-1) offensive effort, completing 13 of 16 passes to seven receivers, for a total of 232 yards and three touchdowns. Sophomore Nathan Lubinsky led Onalaska with 80 yards rushing and two scores, while Skifton added 65 yards and a touchdown on the ground. With the win, the Hilltoppers remain in a tie with Logan for second place in the MVC standings, a game behind West Salem.


Westby 28, Arcadia 0

WESTBY — The Norsemen (3-4, 2-1) relied on their run game and defense.

Junior running back Ryan Daines had 17 carries for 133 yards with three touchdowns. Meanwhile, the Norsemen defense picked the Raiders off three times to secure the shutout.

Daines had a catch-and-run for an 85-yard touchdown to get the Norsemen on the board before tacking on two more scores on runs from 14 and three yards out.

Alex Gluch went 9-for-13 for 187 yards and two touchdowns, while Austin Morry and Ryan Knight combined to run 117 yards on 17 carries.

The Raiders (3-4, 2-1) were held to less than 200 total yards with just 52 coming on the ground.

G-E-T 67, Onalaska Luther 7

GALESVILLE — The Red Hawks (7-0, 3-0) scored 40 points in the first quarter and were up 53-0 at the break.

Ben Behan scored three touchdowns to bring his season total up to 16. He also had 216 yards on seven rushes for a healthy 30.9 average per attempt.

Noah Matzke had 112 yards on 19 carries for the Knights (2-5, 0-3).

Viroqua 42, Black River Falls 6


VIROQUA — Steve Diehl had three of Viroqua’s touchdowns and scored two of them in the first quarter. Diehl ran for 87 yards on 10 carries. Ryan Hannah rushed for 132 yards on 17 carries for two touchdowns and Tyler Hannah had 148 yards on 21 carries. Sam Jett had the Blackhawks’ final touchdown, a 59-yard pass from Ryan Hannah in the fourth quarter.

Viroqua (3-4, 1-2) shut down Ryan Engebretson, who ran for 206 yards and two touchdowns in last week’s win over Onalaska Luther. Engebretson rushed for 10 yards on five carries. Elliot Bird stepped up and had 29 yards rushing on 12 attempts. Ethan Anderson scored the Tigers’ (1-6, 1-2) lone touchdown, catching an 11-yard pass in the third quarter.


Melrose-Mindoro 40, C-FC 0

FOUNTAIN CITY — Jeremy Anderson carried the ball 11 times for 149 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Mustangs (6-1, 4-0), who have won six straight games since Week 1 and 12 in a row in the conference.

Melrose-Mindoro has shut out three straight opponents and four this season, and Anderson pushed his season totals to 622 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns.


Brookwood 14, Hillsboro 13

ONTARIO — The Falcons (6-1, 4-0) needed to survive two overtimes in order to tie Bangor for first place in the conference.

A 25-yard run from Tanner Rynes brought Brookwood within a point of the Tigers. The lead came after a two-point conversion pass from Jack Mulvaney landed into the arms of Connor Schueller, who nudged his shoulder over the end zone for the extra points.

Mulvaney’s night featured seven completions for 94 yards while senior Ben DeWitt rushed for 104 yards on 25 carries.

Ridge and Valley

De Soto 36, North Crawford 26

GAYS MILLS, Wis. — Senior Evan Overby passed for 197 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 103 yards and a touchdown to lead the Pirates (5-2, 3-1).

Overby gave De Soto the lead for good by running for a 10-yard touchdown and the ensuing conversion for a 22-18 advantage in the third quarter. He followed that up with a 51-yard TD pass to Grant Chapes for a 30-18 lead.

Brock Venner added 60 rushing yards and Trevor Rebhahn 52 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Chapes had five catches for 102 yards.


Lancaster 62, Prairie du Chien 27

PRAIRIE DU CHIEN — Lancaster’s Evan Gates scored six touchdowns to help the Flying Arrows (6-1, 3-0) stay undefeated in the conference. Gates ran for 392 yards on 51 carries, scoring four touchdowns in the first half. Evan Straka scored Lancaster’s three other touchdowns and ran for 91 yards on seven carries.

Prairie du Chien’s (6-1, 2-1) Gavin Gillitzer passed for 229 yards and two touchdowns, one to Tyler Smock and the other to Carter Pederson. Smock and Gillitzer each also had a rushing touchdown.


Caledonia 42, Chatfield 13

CALEDONIA — Owen King threw six touchdown passes for Caledonia (5-0, 4-0), which extended its winning streak to 33 games and has won 39 straight games on its home field.

King threw two touchdowns to Andrew Goergen, the longest a 34-yard pass in the third quarter and finished with 141 yards on nine catches. Kyle Cavanaugh, Jordan Burg, Mason Staggemeyer and Nick McCabe had the other scores.

King had 274 yards for 1,122 this season with 20 total touchdowns.


Pine Island 49, La Crescent 12

PINE ISLAND, Minn. — Zach Todd threw two second-half touchdown passes for the Lancers (0-5, 0-4), but the four touchdowns scored by the Panthers’ Josh Navratil helped Pine Island (3-2, 3-1) jump out to a 27-0 halftime lead. Todd finished 15-of-34 passing for 216 yards, with Romy Whitford and Thomas Kiesau hauling in the scoring strikes.

Photos: 2017 high school football season in the La Crosse area

Rory O'Driscoll, La Crosse Tribune 

Sparta's Keegan Savor dodges a tackle from Central's David Hayden on his way to a touchdown during the second quarter of Friday's MVC game at UW-L.

High school football: West Salem's Ryan Beirne doesn't miss twice

Ryan Beirne missed one field goal on Friday night, and he wasn’t about to miss another that could keep the West Salem High School football team on top of the MVC standings with two weeks left in the regular season.

After missing a 36-yard attempt on the first play of the fourth quarter, Beirne was true on a 24-yard attempt with 2 minutes, 39 seconds to help West Salem complete a 10-0 win over Logan at Swanson Field.

The Panthers (6-1, 5-0) iced the game when Matthew Bigley intercepted a Matt Escher pass after Beirne’s field goal and allowed the team to run out the clock.

“It’s a lot like baseball when you have to put a bad at-bat behind you,” Beirne, who helped West Salem win a WIAA Division 2 state championship in June, said of missing the first attempt. “You just flush it. You have to do that.”

Junior Brendan Holt rushed for 107 yards on 29 carries, and Beirne added 66 on 15 attempts for first-place West Salem, which has won five games in a row since losing to unbeaten G-E-T in Week 2.

The Panthers also recorded their fourth shutout of the season and third in four weeks. They held Aquinas scoreless last week and became the first team shut out out the Rangers this season. The last time Logan didn’t score in a game was a 19-0 loss to West Salem last season.

Rory O’Driscoll, La Crosse Tribune  

Logan’s CJ Siegel attempts to hold off West Salem’s Jake Whitbeck as he runs with the ball during the first quarter of Friday’s MVC game at Swanson Field.

“The kids did a nice job on the defensive side of the ball,” West Salem coach Justin Jehn said. “They believe in our schemes, and it’s shown the last two weeks.”

One defensive focus was on Logan running back Christian Kapanke, who was held to 29 yards on 11 carries. Yards after contact are generally expected when Kapanke carries the ball, but the Panthers limited those drastically on Friday.

“He’s a hard runner,” Bigley said of Kapanke. “He’s small, quick and can really move. We had to try and stop him if we wanted to win.”

Bigley, who was all over the field defensively, made the biggest play of the night after Logan took possession for the final time. CJ Siegel returned the kickoff 39 yards to Logan’s 40, and Escher looked to his right for a pass on first down.

The senior linebacker jumped in front of it and returned the ball to Logan’s 35. Beirne ran 10 yards on fourth-and-4 for a first down with 58.8 seconds left and ran out the clock after the Rangers used their final timeout.

“I anticipated the pass because they had to get down the field,” Bigley said. “I just tried to get in the (passing window), and it went right in my hands. It was a great feeling to grab it and run.”

West Salem missed out on a golden opportunity at points early in the third quarter after the Rangers drove 74 yards to the Panthers’ 5.

A pass from Escher to Jericho Parcher set up a first down at the 5. Christian Kapanke then took a handoff and ran to his left before the ball was jarred from his grip and into the air. Jake Whitbeck grabbed it and ran from his own end zone to Logan’s 44-yard line.

But a holding call on a nice negated a nice run by Beirne and stalled out the drive.

The Panthers also moved the ball to the Logan 19 late in the third quarter and opted for a field-goal attempt on fourth-and-1. Beirne lined up for a 36-yard kick and pushed it right.

The Rangers had 82 yards of offense in the first half and hurt themselves by not being able to punch the ball into the end zone after long run by Siegel.

The senior burst through a hole on the left side and reached the sideline for a 25-yard gain, but he was tackled at the West Salem 9. A run for no gain and an incomplete pass were followed by a 7-yard by Escher.

That set up fourth down at the 2, and Siegel was stopped at the 1 by a couple of tacklers on a run to the right side.

It was Logan’s best scoring chance of the half. It also gained a first down on a fake punt when Gunnar Parcher completed a 13-yard pass to Jericho Parcher, but the next three plays resulted in 5 yards and led to a punt.

The Panthers drove 60 yards on eight plays to open the game and relied heavily on Holt, who carried seven times for 46 yards around a 24-yard pass from Beirne to Whitbeck. The pass came on a second-and-13 snap and followed a nice opening defensive play by the Rangers.

Photos: 2017 high school football season in the La Crosse area

High school football: La Crosse Central outlasts Sparta in wild MVC shootout

The play had worked earlier, so it made sense for the Sparta High School football team to go back to it again in a crucial situation.

The Spartans were down a score and faced a fourth-and-goal from the Central 5-yard line. Sophomore quarterback Cole Wisniewski caught the snap and tossed a lofting pass to senior tight end Keegan Savor in the end zone. Savor had caught a similar pass for a touchdown earlier, and leaped in the air for this chance … but then Red Raiders senior cornerback Donovan Stevens swatted it away.

The play ended the threat and sealed a wild 46-38 win for Central in front of an estimated crowd of about 850 people at UW-La Crosse’s Veterans Memorial Field.

The teams’ offenses combined for 958 yards of total offense, but arguably the most critical play was made by a defender.

“I’m really proud of Donovan,” Central coach Tony Servais said. “He’s one of our best corners, and I know he gave up a touchdown earlier and he was upset about that. He made a great play on the ball, and it was a great stop for our defense.”


The red-zone stand made a winner out of Central sophomore quarterback Johnny Davis, who posted a stat line more often seen in video games. He was 21 of 38 passing for 414 yards and five touchdowns, and added another touchdown on the ground.

As has been the case for most of the season, Davis found senior receiver Greg Kohler early and often. Kohler finished with eight catches for 178 yards and three scores.

“We just have a lot of athletes on our team that I know can go up and get the ball if I throw it to them,” Davis said.

Central appeared to have the momentum after it broke a third-quarter tie on a Kohler TD, using a two-point conversion to bring the score to 30-22. But Sparta junior Rrig Falmingar took the ensuing kickoff back 90 yards for a score and the Spartans (4-3, 2-3) matched the two-point conversion to tie it up.

The Red Raiders answered with a three-play, 63-yard drive — all through the air — to regain the lead, but then Sparta responded with a good drive and scored on Savor’s jump ball. Central took the lead for good on Kohler’s third TD, a catch in the back-left corner of the end zone on a fourth-and-goal from the 7.

Rory O'Driscoll, La Crosse Tribune 

Sparta's Keegan Savor dodges a tackle from Central's David Hayden on his way to a touchdown during the second quarter of Friday's MVC game at UW-L.

Fatigue seemed to set in late in the third quarter and early in the fourth, but both squads snapped out of it for the final push.

Wisniewski finished with 200 yards and two scores on 14 of 26 passing, and added 100 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries. Savor had 123 yards on three catches.

The first half was as wild, featuring a pair of lead changes and three ties. Both teams hit big plays throughout the opening 24 minutes.

Davis started the fireworks with a throw you won’t see often at a high school game, finding Kohler with a rocket 50 yards down field while running to his right to set up Central in the red zone, and then throwing a 16-yard scoring pass to the same target three plays later.

After Wisniewski tied it with an 2-yard plunge, Cross broke off a 39-yard gallop inside Sparta’s 5. Central scored on Davis’ 1-yard punch-in, but Sparta answered with a 13-play march of its own, capped by Bryce Jacobs’ scamper in from the 8.

The Spartans looked to have gained the momentum away when they stopped the Red Raiders in the red zone, and then Wisniewski hit senior Keegan Savor up the seam for an 86-yard catch and run. Central took just two plays to tie it up, as Davis found a wide-open Cross over the middle of the field and he did the rest to score from 67 yards out.

Photos: 2017 high school football season in the La Crosse area

Rory O’Driscoll, La Crosse Tribune  

Logan’s CJ Siegel attempts to hold off West Salem’s Jake Whitbeck as he runs with the ball during the first quarter of Friday’s MVC game at Swanson Field.