TOMAH — With the temperature at kickoff in the mid-70s and the humidity at 90 percent, depth was a valuable asset Friday for the Holmen High School football team.
"We play 11 guys on defense, 11 different guys on offense, 11 different guys on our kickoff, 11 different guys on our kickoff return and 11 different guys on our extra points," said Holmen coach Travis Kowalski.
That depth proved decisive as the Vikings rolled to a 49-0 MVC victory over the Tomah Timberwolves at E.J. McKean Field.
Holmen (3-0 MVC, 4-1 overall) prevailed in a battle of attrition thanks to a running game that amassed 306 yards on 54 carries. Vikings' running back Brett Holden scored four touchdowns on runs of 11, 4, 5 and 17 yards.
"Our backs ran hard tonight, and the line blocked really well," Kowalski said.
The depth disparity was exacerbated by Tomah injuries at key positions. The Timberwolves began the game down four starters, including their leading rusher and second-leading pass catcher.
"They could have made a difference and helped us shorten the gap," Tomah coach Brad Plueger said. "Football is a game of numbers -- that's why you want lots of kids in each class. Sometimes you have to tip your hat to a bigger and faster team."
It was the first time this season the Timberwolves faced an opponent that didn't spread the field. Holmen puts its quarterback under center and runs an option offense, which comes off as exotic in the era of the spread.
"Everyone runs against the spread all season long, and then they come against us and they've got to get ready for the run," Kowalski said. "It's a huge advantage because teams aren't used to this."
The Vikings completed just one pass for one yard, although they did draw a pair of pass interference penalties.
"We just have to complete them," Kowalski said. "The guys were wide open down the field."
Tomah (0-3 MVC, 2-3 overall) produced just 92 yards of total offense and six first downs. Wide receiver Boone Mathison, who racked up 333 receiving yards in Tomah's first four games, was held to two receptions for 24 yards.
The Vikings picked off three Tomah passes -- two by Ryland Wall and one by Dylan Westcott.
Plueger said the Timberwolves played better after halftime.
"Our kids competed in the second half," he said. "Our kids are staying together. Nobody is pointing a finger, and I think our guys will respond next week."