Westby opened up its Coulee Conference schedule at Viroqua on Friday, Sept. 15 with a huge 27-8 win. Head Coach Andy Hulst said the Viroqua matchup is always a tough game because of the rivalry factor and he was pleased to see the team come out fired up and ready to play.
Hulst said the team knew they had to put points on the scoreboard early and limit its mistakes. The Norsemen put up 14 points in the first quarter and led 21-0 at the half.
“The defense was solid all night and didn’t give up much, especially in the first half,” Hulst said, “ Westby was able to build a quick lead, which is key against Viroqua because their offense burns up the clock, but does not play well from behind.”
In the first quarter the Norsemen went 77 yards, in six plays, with Ryan Daines putting up the first points in the game. Grant Dayton kicked the extra point as Westby took a 7-0 lead.
Viroqua was forced to punt the ball on the next series and the Norsemen found themselves with excellent field position at the Viroqua 39-yard line following a short kick by the Blackhawks.
A 24-yard run by Devontae Spears to the 15-yard-line, set up Daines who carried the ball inside the red zone to the 3-yard-line on the next play, before Alex Gluch put the Norsemen up 13-0 on the quarterback keeper. Dayton hit his second extra point giving Westby a 14-0 lead at the end of one quarter of action.
Hulst is a firm believer that playing a tough non-conference schedule gives Westby an advantage when they enter the Coulee Conference lineup and he hopes the fire he witnessed in the players against Viroqua continues. That fire continued in the second quarter as the Westby defense shut down the Viroqua offense. In one series the Blackhawks made it into the Westby red zone, but the Norsemen read Viroqua like a book and stopped them short of scoring forcing a turn over on downs.
With the momentum on Westby’s side they perfectly executed a hook and ladder play that put the Norsemen up 21-0, following the extra point by Dayton. Prior to the score, Gluch passed to Carter Bergdahl, who pitched the ball to Hunter Ward, who has the speed to take the ball 49 yards down the field for the score. Westby led 21-0 at the half.
Viroqua put its only points on the board in the third quarter when Tyler Hannah put up eight points off a touchdown and successful 2-point conversion cutting Westby’s lead to 21-8 at the end of the third quarter.
Westby sealed the deal with a touchdown in the fourth quarter. The Norsemen burned six minutes off the clock and scored when Gluch ran three yards into the end zone. The scoring drive took 13 plays and covered 66 yards. A 2-point conversion by Gluch failed. Westby won the game 27-8.
For Westby: Alex Gluch passed for 121 yards and rushed for two touchdowns to lead the Norsemen (2-3, 1-0) past the Blackhawks. He completed 12 of 15 passes. Ryan Daines carried 22 times for a game-high 112 yards.
“I see improvements every week with our young team and I hope to keep improving as we go into our last few weeks of the season,” Hulst said.
Westby will have its work cut out for them when they head to powerhouse G-E-T on Friday, Sept. 22. Hulst said the Red Hawks are favored to win the Coulee Conference and it will be a very physical game.
“G-E-T overpowers its opponents on the ground with their size and strength and our guys know that going in,” Hulst said.