BUFFALO?CENTER - The quest for a perfect season continued Friday night for West Bend-Mallard/Gilmore-City-Brad-gate's Wolverines as they claimed a 54-0 shutout victory over North Iowa in Eight-man football action. The win improves the Wolverines to 6-0 on the season as they prepare to host Corwith-Wesley-LuVerne this Friday night in West Bend.
The Wolverines won the toss and took the opening kick downfield, only to see a determined North Iowa defense stop the purple and gold at the goal line. WBM/GCB put their defense on the field and appeared to tally a safety, only to see the ball spotted on the one-foot line, and the Bison were able to punt out of danger.
After taking the punt, the Wolverines marched 37 yards in a dozen plays to eat clock and put six on the scoreboard off a five-yard run from Davey Jergens. The point after touchdown try failed, giving the purple and gold a 6-0 lead.
PULL?IT?IN?TIGHT - The Wolverines’ Nathan Grimm (34) is off and running for a 13-yard score after catching the pass from Jesse Zinnel in WBM/GCB’s 54-0 shutout over North Iowa Friday night. -- Tim Dahlhauser photo
North Iowa would go three and out, punting the ball back to the Wolverines with just seconds to go in the first quarter.
With a 6-0 lead to start the second quarter, WBM/GCB would run into penalty problems that forced a punt, but the defense returned the favor to the Bison and handed them an eight-yard sack, courtesy of Cole Banwart that forced a short punt that the Wolverines fielded at the Bison 25.
On first down, Davey Jergens took the handoff from Jesse Zinnel and ran 25 yards into the end zone for the score. Jordan Buhs ran in the two-point conversion to give WBM/GCB the 14-0 advantage with 9:37 to play in the half.
Another three and out for North Iowa would set the Wolverines up at midfield, and nine plays later, Jesse Zinnel went to the airways and put the ball in the hands of Jack Zinnel and Jordan Buhs before delivering a 13 yard strike to Nathan Grimm for a touchdown. Jordan Buhs would deliver the two-point conversion for a 22-0 lead with just over 5:30 remaining in the first half.
Another three and out put the Wolverines in good field position and five plays later, Jesse Zinnel put the ball in Jason Zinnel's hands for two passes and then kept the ball for a short sneak and score with 3:02 to go in the half. Zinnel finished up the drive with his own conversion run for a 30-0 lead with plenty of time left in the half.
With the defense hitting on every cylinder, the Wolverine defense was almost unstoppable, forcing the third straight three and out for North Iowa.
Following the punt, the Wolverines handed the ball to Davey Jergens, who wiggled free of a pair of would'-be tacklers and raced in from 35 yards out. Jesse Zinnel snuck the ball in for the conversion that would end the half with West Bend-Mallard/Gilmore City-Bradgate holding a 38-0 lead.
The action cooled at the start of the second half, as the two teams would trade punts on their first possessions of the half. North Iowa would manage to engineer a drive that showed some promise, driving down to the 14 of the Wolverines, but a huge tackle by Cole Banwart and Carson Wirtz led to a four-yard loss that snuffed the drive.
In desperation on fourth and 14. North Iowa passed, only to have Jason Zinnel pick off the throw and return it19 yards out to the Wolverines' 27 yard line to kill the threat.
With the bal and new life, WBM/GCB got a 43 yard run from Jordan Buhs down to the Bison's 10-yard line as the third quarter ended.
The Wolverine reserves took over at the start of the final quarter, and Tyler McKimmey picked up where the varsity led off, finishing off the drive with a five-yard touchdown :36 into the final quarter. Davey Jergens ran in the conversion for a 46-0 lead.
North Iowa took over and tried to move the ball again, only to have Jason Zinnel steal his second pass of the contest, which he returned to the Bison 19-yard line. Tyler McKimmey would get the ball to the 15 on the first down, and Jason Zinnel then picked up the 15-yard scoring run with 8:54 to go in the game. Tyler McKimmey ran in the conversion for the Wolverines' final points of the game and the 54-0 lead.
It is said in football that defense wins championships, and it also helps win games, too. The Wolverines' 54 points was due in a large part to outstanding defensive play on Friday night as they allowed North Iowa a meager 81 yards of total offense in the contest. The Bison made 23 rushing attempts in the game and gained 64 yards on the turf. In the air, the Bison were three of 12 with two picks.
Leading the way for the Wolverine defense was Jason Zinnel, as he came away with two pass interceptions, as well as making five receptions on offense. Nathan Grimm was all over the field, flowing to the football and collecting 12 tackles and a quarterback sack.
Jesse Zinnel would get in on six tackles along with teammate Cole Banwart, who also added a sack and a half. Carson Wirtz came up with five tackles and a half of a quarterback sack.
For West Bend-Mallard/Gilmore City-Brad-gate, the evening ended up with 401 yards of total offense, including 46 carries for 283 yards on the ground and 10 of 16 passes for 118 yards in the victory.
Davey Jergens was the workhorse on the ground, picking up 121 yards off 14 carries in the contest, while Jordan Buhs made just three rushing attempts, but gained 49 yards in the process. Tyler McKimmey added a six rushes to gain 44 yards.
Jesse Zinnel completed 10 of his 16 passing attempts , with brother Jason Zinnel making five catches to gain 59 yards. Jack Fehr added two catches for 15 yards, while Jordan Buhs, Davey Jergens and Nathan Grimm all made receptions.
This Friday night, the Wolverines will host Corwith-Wesley-LuVerne for the final time in West Bend as CWL will enter into whole-grade-athletic sharing next school year with Algona.