PREP FOOTBALL: Dutchmen run over Mustangs
ELLSWORTH -- It was a picture-perfect atmosphere Friday night for small-town high school football under the lights, as the state's top-ranked Edgerton/Ellsworth Flying Dutchmen hosted the Granada-Huntley-East Chain/Martin Luther Mustangs in a Southern Confederacy Conference 9-man clash that capped Homecoming week at Ellsworth High School.
Scoring four touchdowns within the first 10 minutes of the opening quarter, the Flying Dutchmen -- who average a whopping 61 points per game -- continued to roll and claimed an impressive 68-0 victory to remain undefeated (4-0) half-way through the regular season.
It was the first shutout of the year for E/E, which racked up 483 yards of total offense (359 rushing, 124 passing) and limited G-H-EC/ML to minus-19 yards (minus-46 rushing, 27 passing) in the first half.
"This was another well-played game by our guys, as we had fun and got everyone a chance to play," summed up E/E head coach Andrew Fleischman. "We executed well and received solid contributions from a lot of kids, which makes it even more enjoyable. Overall, it was just a great game in a great atmosphere for our team and our fans."
Junior quarterback Isaac Heard engineered the Flying Dutchmen's high-powered offensive attack, accounting for six total touchdowns. Heard (8-for-9, 124 yards passing; four carries for 74 yards) rushed for a pair of scores and tossed four TD passes -- two apiece to Casey Schilling and Johnny Menning -- to highlight E/E's well-oiled machine.
Derek Voge (seven carries for 51 yards), Devin Hulstein (five carries for 79 yards) and Mitch Leuthold each added a rushing touchdown for E/E, while Jorge Lopez (three carries for 62 yards) returned an interception for a score to round out the dominant overall performance by the Flying Dutchmen.
"We don't rely on just one or two players," Fleischman said. "We spread the ball around and try to keep everybody involved, which helps make us a multi-dimensional team. All of our guys run hard with the ball and do a nice job of blocking for each other, helping us sustain drives and put points on the board."
Fleischman also pointed out how well E/E's offensive line played, with Menning (right end), Austin Mertens (right guard), Austin DeJong (center), Wyatt Schaap (left guard) and DC Claar (left end) combining to open up running lanes and provide ample time to pass.
Menning creates havoc defensively
In addition to hauling in a pair of touchdown receptions, Menning was constantly in the Mustangs' backfield applying pressure from his defensive end position.
Menning, who finished with 10 tackles and five quarterback sacks, registered back-to-back sacks on G-H-EC/ML's opening possession of the game -- forcing a three-and-out by the Mustangs and giving E/E's offense great field position.
The Flying Dutchmen, who averaged 10.6 yards per carry, went 23 yards on five plays to score their first touchdown, as Voge plunged into the end zone from two yards out. E/E's two-point attempt was no good, leaving the score at 6-0 with 8:15 remaining in the first quarter.
Another quick three-and-out by the Mustangs was followed by a 45-yard touchdown strike from Heard to Schilling (three catches for 86 yards) on the first play of E/E's ensuing possession. Voge added the two-point conversion, increasing the lead to 14-0 with 6:45 on the clock.
Austin LaFollette picked off a pass on G-H-EC/ML's next series, leading to a third touchdown for E/E. Blake Jouwstra ran for eight yards before Heard dashed 10 yards up the middle untouched into the end zone (two-point no good), extending the Flying Dutchmen's lead to 20-0 at the 5:14 mark.
Menning, who had four sacks in the first quarter alone, dropped the quarterback again to force another punt by the Mustangs.
E/E then scored on its fourth straight drive, as a 12-yard burst by Jouwstra and an 18-yard reception by Schilling helped lead to a 12-yard touchdown surge by Hulstein. Heard passed to Jouwstra for the two-point conversion, giving the Flying Dutchmen a huge 28-0 cushion with 2:34 to go in the opening period.
"We played a tremendous first quarter," Fleischman said. "It was nice to get out to a great start like that."
The Mustangs (1-3) picked up their initial first down on the ensuing possession, as Dylan Petrowiak completed a 22-yard pass to Caleb Nowicki. G-H-EC/ML was on the move as the game entered the second quarter.
Petrowiak ran for 10 yards on a keeper for another first down and later connected with Nowicki again -- this time for 16 yards on a fake punt -- to help the Mustangs reach E/E's 31-yard line.
G-H-EC/ML, though, was forced to punt after three straight negative-yardage plays.
E/E's next drive featured a 22-yard run by Hulstein, a 22-yard keeper by Heard, a 21-yard scamper by Voge, and a four-yard touchdown strike from Heard to Menning -- pushing the gap to 34-0 (two-point no good) with 7:13 remaining.
That same connection -- Heard to Menning -- hooked up for the Flying Dutchmen's next touchdown, an 18-yard score on a play-action pass. E/E had a 40-0 advantage with 3:50 showing, as the two-point attempt was no good.
Heard completed E/E's first-half scoring with a 40-yard touchdown sprint on an option keeper to the right with 1:18 to go. The Flying Dutchmen again failed to convert the two-pointer, taking a 46-0 bulge into halftime.
E/E added three more touchdowns in the second half in addition to preserving the shutout defensively. Heard tossed a 23-yard touchdown pass to Schilling (two-point no good) to make it 52-0 at the 9:13 mark of the third quarter.
Leuthold ripped off a 37-yard touchdown run with 9:23 left in the fourth, while Lopez picked off a pass and returned the interception 20 yards to the end zone for the final score with 7:48 remaining. Tyler Kurrasch scored both of the fourth-quarter two-point conversions, increasing the Flying Dutchmen's total to 68 points.
G-H-EC/ML finished the night with 79 yards of total offense, with Jared Green gaining 49 of those on the final play of the game.
"We know that our toughest games are ahead of us," Fleischman said. "We are excited about the progress that we are making, and we're sure happy with how we played in front of our home fans tonight."
E/E travels to play Madelia next Friday, while the Mustangs will host Alden-Conger.
G-H-EC/ML 0 0 0 0 -- 0
E/E 28 18 6 16 -- 68