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Football: Wolves win thriller; Cardinals reignite winning streak; Peterson hurts Panthers

The Ellsworth Panthers suffered a 44-16 loss to the Somerset Spartans on Friday, Sept. 14. Sawyer Hamilton (pictured) recorded the Panthers' first of two touchdowns on a 4-yard carry in the second quarter of the Sept. 14 game. Dave Newman / RiverTown Multimedia

Elmwood/Plum City Wolves fans are probably still trying to process their team's Friday, Sept. 14, game.

The Wolves (3-2, 3-1) secured a 44-36 overtime victory over the Pepin/Alma Eagles and showed off their ability to cash in during crunch time in considerably the most thrilling game of the co-op's short history.

The Wolves held a 22-14 lead at halftime with touchdowns from Nic Forster (42-yard carry), Dalton Binkowski (3-yard carry) and Noah Gansluckner (7-yard carry), but the Eagles shot back with the first two touchdowns of the second half to take their first lead of the night with 4:13 to go in the fourth quarter.

Twenty-one seconds later, Forster struck again this time with a 56-yard touchdown carry to bring the Wolves within two points of the Eagles, but the Wolves' conditions worsened once Wyatt Lenhartz ran in his second touchdown of the night with 3:01 to play. Luckily for the Wolves, the Eagles missed their extra point kick and left the Wolves with an opportunity to send the game to overtime, which they took full advantage of.

With 35 seconds left in their final drive of regulation, quarterback Zack Phillips found an open Tyler Maxwell who completed a 35-yard touchdown reception before Forster sent the game to overtime by finding the endzone in the Wolves' 2-point conversion attempt.

In overtime, the Wolves used a 1-yard push from Binkowski to find the paydirt before securing the OT win by recovering an Eagles fumble thanks to the defense of Gansluckner and Binkowski.

Binkowksi recorded a season-high 17.5 tackles to lead the Wolves defense and was followed by Josiah Boyce who added eight tackles and one interception to the Wolves' defensive charge.

Zack Phillips was 5-for-8 in pass attempts and recorded 107 passing yards, including the 35 that led the Wolves to OT.

Forster was the Wolves' top rusher with 152 rushing yards on 14 carries, and Maxwell pulled in five passes for 72 yards to lead his team's receivers.

The Wolves are now the top team in the South Lakeland Conference and they'll attempt to continue to improve their conference record on Friday, Sept. 21, when they host Flambeau (1-2, 0-2) at 7 p.m.

Spring Valley 26, Glenwood City 16

The Spring Valley Cardinals used an explosive, 20-point first quarter to leave the Hilltoppers in the dust in their second Dunn-St. Croix Conference game of the season on Friday, Sept. 14.

Dakota Kerr got the excitement going for the Cardinals (3-2, 2-0) by scoring on a 1-yard carry with 9:53 left in the first quarter, and Dylan Bosshart added to the Cardinals' lead four and a half minutes later with a 46-yard touchdown run. Bosshart was the Cardinals' top rusher of the night with 83 yards on eight carries.

Aaron Borgerding concluded the Cardinals' first-quarter scoring with a 3-yard keeper in the final minute of the quarter, and the junior quarterback found the paydirt again in the following quarter with an 8-yard carry. Borgerding finished the game with 72 rushing yards on 18 carries and 29 passing yards on two completions.

The Hilltoppers got their own shots in with touchdowns from Caleb Peterson and Hadin DeSmith but were unable to get within 10 points of the Cardinals in the scoreless fourth quarter.

"It was a good team win," Cardinals' head coach Ryan Kapping said after his team's win. "A lot of guys made big plays and we were able to get some key stops in the second half. The defensive line did a pretty good job most of the night taking on pullers and giving the linebackers a chance to make tackles."

Borgerding and Santana Schlegel each recorded seven solo and two assisted tackles to carry the Cardinals' defense.

Spring Valley will travel to Boyceville (0-5, 0-3) on Friday, Sept. 21, for their third conference game of the season.

Somerset 44, Ellsworth 16

The Friday, Sept. 14, Middle Border Conference matchup was anyone's game at the conclusion of the first half of play between the Ellsworth Panthers and Somerset Spartans.

Then Jack Peterson took over.

The senior fullback rushed for two touchdowns in the second half and a total of 242 yards on 22 carries in his team's third win of the season. The Spartans were also boosted by quarterback Will Piletich who rushed for 83 yards on 14 carries and threw for one passing touchdown to put the game away at 22-8 in the third quarter.

The Panthers (1-4, 1-2) scored on carries from Sawyer Hamilton and Max Grand, but their 148 total rushing yards were no match for Somerset's 445.

Logan Melstrom recorded 60 rushing yards for the Panthers on 10 carries, and Hamilton completed four receptions for 53 yards.

Quarterback Cole Woodland was 7-for-15 on pass attempts with 91 total yards, and Mason Anderson added 35 yards to the Panthers' 126 total passing yards.

The Panthers will return home on Friday, Sept. 21, where they'll host Baldwin-Woodville for their homecoming game.