Almond-Bancroft football blanks Rosholt
Portage County Gazette
By John Kemmeter
The Almond-Bancroft High School football team used a big night from junior running back Jackson Beggs and an opportunistic defense to win on the road at Rosholt Friday Sept. 21.
Beggs rushed for 267 yards and four touchdowns on 24 carries, while Rosholt (2-4, 2-2) came up empty on three possessions inside the Almond 25-yard line, as Almond (5-1, 2-0) won 35-0 in the Central Wisconsin Conference (CWC) Small showdown.
“We played very well in the first half,” said Almond-Bancroft football head coach Andrew Bradley. “Jackson had almost 200 yards in that first half, so offensively we were really good in the first half, and credit to our offensive line.
“And Jackson ran very hard today,” he said.
“Our opening drive, we started moving the ball, we mix some run and pass combination, and as soon as we got down in the red zone areas, we just shot ourselves in the foot and we just couldn’t finish it,” said Rosholt football co-head coach Mark McHugh. “When they took possession of the football, they did a good job at the line of scrimmage. We over-pursued quite a bit, and they took advantage of that with their quick backs.”
On the opening possession of the game, Rosholt drove to the Almond 15-yard line, before Almond senior safety Jon Perrin picked off a third-down pass from Rosholt sophomore quarterback Isaac Cychosz at the nine-yard line.
The Eagles capped the ensuing drive with a 20-yard touchdown run from senior running back Zach Bunders to take a 7-0 lead with 5:15 to go in the first quarter after the extra-point kick from senior Noah Kollock.
Almond struck again on its next possession, as Beggs broke free for a 68-yard touchdown run with 2:59 to go in the first quarter.
It stayed that way until late in the second quarter, when Beggs scored on a 21-yard touchdown run to make it 21-0 with 3:21 remaining in the second quarter, while Almond junior linebacker Gage Meddaugh intercepted a pass deep in Rosholt territory to set up a four-yard touchdown run from Beggs with 36 seconds to go in the half that gave the Eagles a 28-0 lead at halftime.
“I wasn’t thrilled, they did get some yards on us, but once they got down on our end of the field, we did a nice job of bearing down and stopping them,” said Bradley. “We did come up with two big interceptions, one right away early in the game, and then one at the end of the first half and kind of took away their passing game.
“But we’ve got to be able to stop the run a little bit better,” he said.
“At halftime we made some adjustments defensively, we came out in the second half and I thought we played a lot better with them,” said McHugh. “And we did move the football some in the second half.
“It’s just, we dug ourselves a hole early, and it was hard to dig out,” he said.
The Eagles maintained a 28-0 lead heading into the fourth quarter, where Rosholt drove to the Eagles’ 17-yard line, before Almond junior defensive lineman Edward Pena came up with a sack on fourth down to turn the ball over on downs, and Beggs scored on a 15-yard touchdown run with 8:07 to play in the quarter to cap the scoring on the Eagles’ 35-0 win.
Junior running back Tony Lemke had 60 yards rushing on 20 carries and sophomore running back Josh Zick had 34 yards rushing on 11 carries before he left in the first half due to injury for the Rosholt offense, while Cychosz was sacked four times and completed 4-of-12 passes for 28 yards, with zero touchdowns and two interceptions.
Meanwhile, junior defensive lineman Isaac Kaminski had five tackles and one sack, and Cychosz had an interception at safety to lead the Hornets’ defense.
“At halftime, obviously they know what the score was there, but no one quit,” said McHugh. “We talked about what we need to do in the second half, ‘forget about the first half,’ and they did that.
“They’re a resilient group, they really are,” he said. “They’re not going to give up, they’re going to still come at you, and we talked about it after the game, about using this momentum in the second half to come into next week and going forward.”
Pena finished with seven tackles and three sacks, Bunders had eight tackles at linebacker, and Beggs added five tackles and a sack at linebacker, as the Almond defense totaled nine tackles for loss and allowed 117 yards of total offense.
Perrin completed 2-of-9 passes for 32 yards at quarterback, with zero touchdowns and one interception, while the Eagles finished with 317 yards rushing on 39 carries, as Beggs racked up 267 yards and four touchdowns on 24 carries.
“It was great,” said Beggs of the win. “The line was perfect, we were blocking very well, and just all in all, we were really good.”
“We’re playing well, and it’s been a nice run,” said Bradley. “That first game against (fourth-ranked) Fall River (an 8-6 loss), we did not play well, but since then we’ve been rolling.
“And credit to the kids, they’ve been coming to practice every day, wanting to get better, and we have got better every week,” he said. “That’s what you’re trying to do each week, not just win, but get better, and we’ve been doing that. So I’m excited about where we’re at, but we’re still looking to get better each week.”