The Holmen High School football team was waiting for its moment.

With senior fullback Mitchell Torud extending drives with runs between the tackles, it was only a matter of time before the Vikings found the right spot to unleash halfback Drew Becker.

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Mitchell Torud mug

Torud

A second-and-5 snap from Holmen’s own 39-yard line midway through the fourth quarter proved to be that time, and Becker took a pitch to the right, found an opening and was off to the races.

The Coulee Region’s leading rusher went 61 yards for the tie-breaking touchdown in the Vikings’ 20-13 MVC victory over Logan at Swanson Field on Saturday.

Holmen (6-2, 5-1) kept alive its hope for a piece of the conference championship by letting its defense do the rest and deal the Rangers (3-5, 2-4) another tough loss.

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Drew Becker mug

Becker

The Vikings ended a two-game losing streak at Swanson Field with a defensive stand after Logan moved to the 23-yard line in the final minute of a game that was stopped Friday night due to lightning and heavy rain.

Seth Hauser made a quick stop on a pass to CJ Siegel that lost a yard and a holding call moved the ball back to the 36 with 24 seconds left.

Kyle Burkhardt and Tatum Grass teamed up to sack Matt Escher for a 10-yard loss on third-and-20 before an incomplete pass ended the drive.

“We just had to play better and smarter than we did early in the game,” said Burkhardt, an offensive and defensive lineman.”The sack was a game-changer, and it took the wind right out of them.”

Becker finished with 107 yards on 12 carries, and Torud added 77 and a touchdown on 20. Quarterback Isaac Handland had five carries for 81 yards and scored on a 61-yard run during Holmen’s first possession on Friday night.

The Rangers were physical and prepared for the task at hand defensively. Holmen’s first nine plays on Saturday resulted in 11 yards, and it didn’t register a first down until Torud converted a fourth-and-1 on its third possession.

“They attacked us, and we bobbled it around a little bit,” Holmen coach Travis Kowalski said. “We also turned the ball over and gave them a chance.”

The turnover came on a fumble that Logan’s Ambrose Metz-Beard recovered on the Holmen 2-yard line with 8:50 left in the third quarter. He carried twice to move the ball to the 1 before Escher pushed the ball in.

Gunnar Parcher’s extra point gave Logan, which was trying to beat the Vikings for a third straight time, a 13-6 lead with 7:29 left in the third.

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Caey Knoble mug

Knoble

“That’s kind of been the story of our season,” Logan coach Casey Knoble said. “We get the lead, but we can’t hold it. In the four (MVC) games we’ve lost, we’ve led in the second half in three of them.”

The Vikings deserve credit to limiting Logan’s offense after that. Burkhardt nearly sacked Escher early in the fourth quarter and made a big tackle to limit Siegel to 3 yards on a play that looked like it would be much bigger.

Grass sacked Escher in the third quarter, and Jack Westcott hit Kapanke for a loss on another play. Isaac Lahr and Abe Molling also teamed up on a sack that was negated by offsetting penalties.

“Everyone tackled and flew to the ball,” Torud, who scored his 12th touchdown, said of the defense. “Burkhardt was everywhere. He brought the pass rush and did a great job.”

Holmen can still get a share of the MVC championship by beating Sparta and getting an Onalaska (7-1, 5-1) win over West Salem (7-1, 6-0) on Friday. Those results would produce a three-way tie for the title.

Logan is left with regular-season finale against last-place Aquinas and the hope that a win there is enough to be selected for a 13th consecutive appearance in the WIAA playoffs. It needed to close out with wins over the Vikings and Blugolds to assure itself of a playoff spot.

“We’ll go play Aquinas and see what happens,” Knoble said. “If we don’t make it, we made our own bed.”

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