SPRING VALLEY — On paper, Friday’s game against Boyceville was poised to be Spring Valley’s biggest test in the Dunn-St. Croix Conference in years.
The Cardinals hadn’t lost a conference game since 2019, and the up-and-coming Bulldogs figured to be their biggest threat this fall. But even Boyceville, ranked No. 3 in Division 6, got a taste of what the Cardinals have been dishing out for years.
With a convincing 35-6 victory on Friday, Spring Valley proved the Dunn-St. Croix will be its league until someone else can prove otherwise.
“I thought our guys definitely played their best football of the season so far,” Spring Valley coach Ryan Kapping said. “We were young coming into the season, and we challenged them to improve every week. I think we grew up a lot tonight.”
The Cardinals’ speed on the perimeter made a world of difference as receivers Justin Rielly and Tyler Bowman marauded around the field for big play after big play. Quarterback Connor Ducklow got the ball in their hands, and they did the rest.
Rielly caught six passes for 204 yards and two touchdowns, and Bowman added a pair of receptions for 60 yards.
“What helped us most was we had our run game going right away,” Bowman said, “and that’s when if you’re a skill guy like me or Justin out on the edge, the game gets fun. Because then we’re able to get the ball on the outside because everyone’s getting sucked into the middle.”
Spring Valley’s high-octane offense meant Boyceville (3-1, 1-1) would need to put up plenty of points of its own to have a chance, but the Bulldogs couldn’t overcome 15 penalties. The infractions cost them 95 yards.
“Whenever we got something going and had a sustained drive, a penalty would knock us back,” Boyceville coach Michael Roemhild said. “That’s just something that when you play against a team like Spring Valley, it won’t matter what you do offensively or defensively.”
Ducklow was efficient for the Cardinals, hitting on 9 of 11 passes for 280 yards and three touchdowns. In addition to his feats in the passing game, Rielly ran for 73 yards and a score on nine carries.
Ira Bialzik was 8 of 10 for 97 yards through the air for Boyceville. Sebastian Nielson ran 16 times for 118 yards. But more often than not, the Bulldogs faced long distances to the first-down marker due to penalties. It made things too tough, and Spring Valley was happy to capitalize.
Hudson opens up BRC race
The Big Rivers Conference title race is wide open this season. The Hudson football team made that clear on Friday.
The Raiders scored 26 unanswered points to pull off an upset of Menomonie at Williams Stadium, beating the Mustangs 26-7 to hand them their first conference loss.
Nick Haviland scored on a 4-yard touchdown run to put Menomonie ahead 7-0 in the first quarter, but it was all Hudson from there.
Troy Bounting had two touchdowns for Hudson, and Carter Mears added one of his own. The Raiders also made two field goals.
With Friday’s results, only Rice Lake and New Richmond are 2-0 in the Big Rivers. Hudson, Menomonie, Chippewa Falls and Superior are all 1-1.
Harelstad runs rampant
Marcus Harelstad had a career night for the Bloomer football team on Friday, running for four touchdowns in the first half in a 56-28 win over Cameron.
Harelstad carried the ball 28 times for 247 yards, and added 40 receiving yards for good measure.
Harelstad wasn’t the only aspect of Bloomer’s offense that was clicking. Jack Strand completed 11 of 15 passes for 220 yards and two touchdowns. Five of those completions went to Jay Ryder, who finished with 123 yards and a score.
Crickets, Cards stay hot
The Fall Creek volleyball team kept rolling over the weekend, adding another tournament title to its resume.
The Crickets, ranked No. 2 in Division 3, went unbeaten in seven matches to take first place at an invitational in Sparta. Fall Creek swept Wonewoc Center 25-17, 25-8 in the championship match.
Gianna Vollrath hit 49 kills and made 45 digs over the course of the tournament. Sam Olson dished 50 assists and chipped in with 29 kills, while Anika Steinke passed 47 assists. Fall Creek improved to 26-1 on the season.
Chippewa Falls stayed hot too, winning a tournament title in Merrill over the weekend. The Cardinals won four matches, with three victories coming in straight sets.
Chi-Hi defeated Merrill, Tomahawk, Marathon and Northland Pines. Sami Perlberg led the attack with 29 kills, while Sophie Robinson was close behind with 24 of her own. Paige Steinmetz made 33 digs.