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Big night of Middle Border football involving Ellsworth and Prescott

Somerset's loss to Prescott last weekend opens many possibilities for the Ellsworth and Prescott football teams in the Middle Border Conference. Those possibilities will be explored further tonight as the Panthers host the Spartans and Prescott is at New Richmond.

Undefeated Prescott handed the Spartans (2-1, 0-1) its first conference home field loss since it joined the league in 2002 and its first win over Somerset in 10 years. The Cardinals took advantage of some unexpected Spartan generosity as Somerset fumbled six times. In fact, SHS has 14 fumbles this season alone.

"The game played out as we thought it had to for us to win," PHS head coach Matt Smith said. "They made mistakes and we capitalized on them."

But Prescott displayed its own prowess as football team against the top-ranked Spartans. They have the size up front with linemen like Nick Jacobsen and Blake Wuorenma; they have an efficient quarterback in Bryan Early, they have speed backs in Michael Lytle and Sam Smith and they have tough ground gainers like fullbacks Aric Sandvig and Harry Cutler.

Smith scored on a 55-yard run while Sandvig scored on a pair of one-yard runs and Lytle caught a 27-yard pass from quarterback Bryan Early, who was 5-for-9 for 90 yards. The Cardinals rushed for 132 yards. In effect, Prescott beat Somerset at their own game.

"I wouldn't say we have playmakers so much as we have athletes who play their roles and responsibilities very well." Smith said.

Smith he's glad after such a big win the Cardinals have to play another big game at New Richmond (1-2, 1-0)

"We told the kids to be happy and proud of what they accomplished but to also remember when it is all said and done, beating Somerset is just one win," Smith said, "because we have to play the exact same way with the exact same effort to beat New Richmond. Remember, they shut us out last season and beat us up pretty good (NR won 41-0). If we have a letdown we'll be in trouble."

The Tigers too might be in for a letdown for they needed overtime to rally from an early deficit and beat Durand 15-14 for their first win.

Ellsworth need not worry about letdowns as they had to survive to beat Amery 7-0 last week. But although the Panthers are 1-0 in the league (2-1 overall) competing for the league title is furthest thing from their minds right now head coach Clair Austin said.

"It's week to week for us and we cannot expect Somerset to keep making the mistakes which cost them against Prescott," Austin said. "We need to make this a competitive game first and foremost before worrying about anything else."

Austin believes Somerset will have the speed advantage but that Ellsworth can equal or negate this by playing more physical football, something he felt gave the Panthers the edge against Amery as their 132 yards rushing offset zero yards passing. EHS's defense held Amery to just 113 total yards.

"We've made tremendous strides in this area since the start of the season, I think our ground game, both on offense and defense, is evidence of this," Austin said. "Now it's a matter of continued improvement and continued tough play."

All of eastern Pierce County will be ablaze with Friday night lights. Spring Valley will look to stay undefeated as they host winless Glenwood City at Syverson Park in its first home game of 2011. Plum City, coming off its first win last week over New Auburn, also has its first home game of this season hosting Lake Holcombe (2-1, 1-0). Another first time winner last week, Elmwood, plays at home tonight as well, looking to upend undefeated Clayton.

The Raiders broke a 12-quarter scoreless streak against the Chiefs with a pair touchdown passes from quarterback Jaylen Case, one for 32 yards to Logan Wolf and the other 55 yards to Tanner Hoyt. Case and Hoyt hooked up again for a 73-yard TD pass and Case scored on his own from one-yard out to go along with a one-yard David Rhy touchdown run. Case burned Cornell on 9-of-13 passing for 292 yards while Rhy rushed for 65 yards on eight carries.

Elmwood will be taking on a Clayton squad led by quarterback Kyle Larson who has already thrown for 861 yards on 47-of-61 passing with 12 touchdowns and no interceptions. Bears' wide out Zach Schradle has 12 receptions for nearly 300 yards and five touchdowns.