In high school football, like in all levels of football, the goal is to get off to a fast start.
Some of the teams in Northwest Wisconsin did just that last weekend and others are continuing through three games.
Spring Valley’s Branden Williams took the opening kickoff and ran it back 88 yards to pay dirt that lead to a 35-14 win over Durand. You just can’t start any faster.
Another to score on their first touch was Osseo-Fairchild as Brice Shimon went all the way with the opening kickoff to lead to a 28-12 win over Cadott. It’s a demoralizer for opponents.
Ryan Kleinhans had a hand in two first quarter touchdowns and that was all that was needed in Whitehall’s 13-6 win over Independence/Gilmanton.
Superior greeted Eau Claire North with a 42-point first half tornado – and then eased to a 49-7 win over North. That’s not being a very nice host.
Eau Claire Regis has been consistent. The Ramblers took a 35-0 halftime lead on Stanley-Boyd and won 42-8. In was the third straight running clock forced and gave the Ramblers a 133-0 first half start on its opponents. Start the mercy rule earlier.
Mondovi’s onslaught is starting to scare its foes. That 48-0 win over contending Elk Mound leaves the Buffaloes with 128-0 edge on opponents through three games. And how about that defense? It limited 200-yards-a-game rusher Blaze Todd to 19 yards in 17 trips. Must have been a brick wall.
They are likely headed for a Dunn-St. Croix showdown with Spring Valley and the Cardinals aren’t doing bad, either. They handled Durand 35-14 Friday night and have outscored their three foes by 117-41.
Look out for Bloomer in the Heart O’ North. That 50-14 win over Spooner last week keeps the Blackhawks unbeaten with a 122-35 margin on opponents.
Speaking of fast starts, when’s the last time Eau Claire Memorial opened with three wins? Well, not long ago as they won their first five in 2017 but only once more since at least 2008 and that was in 2011.
On the other end of the spectrum, when’s the last time Rice Lake, or Hudson, lost their first three games?
You might say never. And you’d be close. Going back to 1997, the only time Hudson dropped three in a row to open the season was 1999. Rice Lake? If you said never, you might be right. Not once through 1997 and probably back before the start of LaVern Pottinger’s wishbone introduction.
You don’t always have to get off to a fast start to win. Memorial trailed 13-8 at halftime but leaned on Bryson Johnson’s 203 pass yards and two TDs and a defense that allowed just 73 yards rushing and 122 total to get the job done.
And who said Menomonie, with a tradition of a smash-mouth ground game, can’t pass the ball? Those 328 yards produced by Tyler Werner and Ryan Kahl rank the second-most in school history according to L-T records. Can’t load the box on the Mustangs any more.
You can’t run any longer than 99 yards. And that’s what Austin Bacon of Spencer/Columbus did against Fall Creek. Other long jaunts last week were 90 on a kickoff return by Augusta’s Traven Fabian, and from scrimmage 88 by Boyceville’s Logan Knudtson, 79 by Regis’ Gus Theisen, 72 by Spring Valley’s Williams and 71 by North’s Sammy Barby.
Seth Kohel is running all across Northwest Wisconsin – with a football. His 234-yard jaunt led River Falls’ 34-20 win over Hudson. Brendan Sempf was the only other 200-yard rusher reported with 209 in Boyceville’s 21-18 win over Glenwood City. Zander Rockow led Thorp’s win with 198, Colby’s Tyler Klement amassed 166, Glenwood City’s Daniel Loring 164 and Durand’s Simon Bauer 141.
Bloomer’s Isaiah LeGesse tossed for 247 yards and four scores but don’t overlook Mondovi’s Carter Johnson, who hit on 7 of 10 for 212 yards and four scores. Or his favorite receiver. Owen Schultz totaled 183 yards. Must have had a lot of catches. Nope. Three. All touchdowns.
The numbers are piling up but the list of the fast start unbeatens is starting to dwindle. More will hit the dust this week.