Wolverines Back On Winning Track Over Wolves
LAKE PARK – The West Bend-Mallard Wolverines came up with a satisfying win Friday night over Harris-Lake Park. In a 40-32 triumph, the Wolverines improved their record to 2-4 in Eight Man District Two and 3-5 overall on the season.
The Wolverines got on the board right away on Friday as Matt Ruppert fielded the opening kickoff of the contest and raced 70 yards for a touchdown less than :15 into the contest. After the conversion try failed, the Wolverines had a 6-0 lead to start things out.
West Bend-Mallard then went on the defensive and got the ball back on downs. After one play from their own 20, the Wolverines struck again, this time off a 60 yard dash by Ryan Banwart down the far side of the field. The conversion attempt came up short again, giving West Bend-Mallard a 12-0 lead with 10:00 to go in the opening quarter.
Once again, the Wolverine defense went to work and even though Harris-Lake Park drove to the Wolverines’ 20 yard line, the purple and gold put up a wall that stopped the Wolves again, forcing them to turn the ball over on downs.
Starting a second time at their own 20, the Wolverines began the long trek down the field, carving away chunks of yardage until quarterback Darin Banwart tucked the ball in himself and dashed in from 11 yards out to score with 2:15 to go in the quarter. Banwart threw to Travis Goeders for the two-point conversion to make the score 20-0.
West Bend-Mallard kept the pressure on the Wolves on their next possession after the resulting kickoff. Darin Banwart stole the first down pass play of the Wolves deep in Harris-Lake Park’s territory, inside the 35. The Wolverines got to the 20 yard line and Banwart targeted Travis Goeders in the end zone with a 19 yard strike for a score with :10 to go in the first quarter. The conversion kick was knocked down, but it was for naught as the Purple and Gold held what seemed to be a comfortable 26-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
But in eight-man football, momentum changes can be swift, and such was the case.
Harris-Lake Park need just two plays in the second quarter to break their goose-egg on the score board off a 48 yard run by Ty Ahrenstorff. A fake conversion kick turned into a two-point conversion to make the score 26-8 as the Wolverines tried to shake off the quick strike by the Wolves.
West Bend-Mallard would take the kick and tried to set up a drive, but a fumble by Ryan Banwart gave the Wolves a golden opportunity deep in Wolverine territory.
Despite back-to-back penalties, Harris-Lake Park fought back to score off a 28 yard run by Ahrenstorff with just over 9:00 remaining in the half. The conversion try failed, making the score 26-14,
West Bend-Mallard would be forced to punt the ball away on their next possession, giving the Wolves the ball back, but Harris-Lake Park was forced to punt the ball away. The Wolverines returned the favor, but as time began winding down, Harris-Lake Park got a 13 yard touchdown run from Mychal Sheridan with less than a minute remaining in the half. The conversion try was no good, cutting the Wolverines’ lead to a 26-20 margin.
West Bend-Mallard would try a desperation scoring attempt as the clock spun down, getting to the Wolves’ 20 yard line with :20 to go, but Banwart’s pass attempt to Goeders in the end zone was incomplete as the horn sounded to end the first half.
With a ballgame on their hands, the Wolverines could take nothing for granted in the second half. Harris-Lake Park took the kick to start the second half, but turned the ball over when Matt Ruppert stepped in front of a pass at the Wolves’ 31 yard line. Ruppert tucked the ball in and rumbled 31 yards for the touchdown off the turnover with 10:38 to go in the third quarter. Ryan Banwart ran in the conversion to give West Bend-Mallard a bit of breathing room for a 34-20 lead.
The hosts would answer the quick score by putting together a 60-plus yard drive, capped off by Ty Ahrenstorff making an eight yard touchdown run. The conversion pass was blocked by Todd Goeders to make the score 34-26.
A three and out followed for the Wolverines on their next possession, but a great punt put the Wolves on their own one-yard line., and a determined defensive stand by the Purple and Gold forced a punt by the Wolves in their own end zone.
Darin Banwart would return the punt to the Wolves’ 30 yard line, but the Wolverines couldn’t engineer a drive as the third quarter wound down
Harris-Lake Park would work their way downfield after getting the ball back deep in their own territory, and worked to the Wolverines’ 15 yard stripe.
With the final period just seconds old, Harris-Lake Park scored off a 15 yard pass from quarterback Brent Jacobson to Kyle Kruger. Mychal Sheridan would run in the conversion to make the score 34-32 and too much time remaining on the clock.
Like the old adage, “things always look darkest before the dawn,” the Wolverines regrouped.
West Bend-Mallard took the kickoff and started their possession at their own 30 yard line with just over 11:40 to play in the game. From that point on, the Wolverines gave a demonstration of classic, grind-it-out on the ground, clock consuming football.
The offensive line stood solid, giving the Wolverine backs a change to gain the yardage they needed to give the faithful hope.
The effort would be rewarded when Darin Banwart would sneak in on a quarterback keeper from a yard away for the score. The conversion failed but the Wolverines had a 40-32 lead with 7:30 to go in the game.
Now it was up to the defense. West Bend-Mallard would bend a few times as Harris-Lake Park drove downfield after the kickoff, but never broke. The final defensive stand would come with just over 3:20 to go as the Wolves faced a fourth and long inside the The Wolverines’ 20 yard line. Jake Goodchild would flush the Wolves quarterback from the pocket, forcing him to throw wildly and incomplete, giving the ball back to the Purple and Gold.
The defensive stand was just what West Bend-Mallard needed as they took the conservative approach and ground the ball out on the ground, eating up the clock and he yardage to take the 40-32 win at the final horn.
Quarterback Darin Banwart carried the ball 24 times to gain 104 yards on the night, while Ryan Banwart tallied 100 yards off 11 rushing attempts. Jack Riesenberg added 10 yards off five carries, while Andy Riesenberg made two rushes for six yards and Matt Ruppert had a four yard carry.
Overall, West Bend-Mallard picked up 224 yards off 43 rushing plays in the contest.
Darin Banwart completed three of 12 passes for 77 yards, with Travis Goeders making all three of the receptions for the Wolverines.
Defensively, the Wolverines were led by Matt Ruppert with 19 tackles, while Logan Streit added 17 stops to the effort. Darin Banwart made 13 tackles and Todd Goeders added 10 stops to the effort. Andy Riesenberg an Aaron Johnson both made nine tackles in the winning effort, while Jack Riesenberg came up with eight stops.
For the Wolverines, the long season will come to a close this Friday night when they make the short journey to take on Twin River Valley for the final regular season contest of the year.