|11/18/2019 11:08:00 AM|
Pointers share team concept while battling Mondovi to the end
Mineral Point's football team had a lot on their plate last Friday.
First, they had to contend with a long trip to Mondovi which took over three hours. That was their first mental challenge of the day.
Second, they had to contend with one of the best football teams in Division 6 in the Mondovi Buffaloes, the number one seed in their half of the bracket. The Pointers were seeded second, thus having to make the trip.
What the Pointers found was a very strong defense and some huge linemen that gave them trouble all night. They proved, though, that the southwest corner of the state is in good hands with representation, took the lead twice, then saw their season end in the waning moments 29-22.
The Pointers found that passing the football was their best way to move up and down the field. They put up 41 passes with one of them ending up in Mondovi's favor. That was the one deep in Buffalo territory and Mondovi defender Carter Johnson stepped in front of the intended Pointer receiver to pick it off. Nothing stood in his way and he stepped off the final three yards for the winning score.
How tough was the Mondovi defense?
"Mondovi is a great defensive team and they were the best team defense we faced all year" said Mineral Point coach Andy Palzkill. "We were unable to run the ball with our base plays and had to be creative to find ways to move the ball on the ground. They also took away some of our base pass concepts with their alignment and coverage. Mondovi had a few kids that we struggled to block. This created big problems for us all night. I thought we found ways to move the ball and we had chances to score on a number of possessions. Unfortunately, those turnovers did not allow us to capitalize on a handful of scoring opportunities."
"Those turnovers" were six in total and they proved to be costly in the end.
"Mondovi was a great football team and they beat us plain and simple," Palzkill added. "I am very proud of the way our athletes handled themselves throughout the game. We were in a position to win. Unfortunately, committing six turnovers is too much to overcome in any football game, let alone a Level 3 game against a quality opponent."
But the Pointers can take pride in the fact they showed they belong and provided the team, the school and the community a wonderful ride. Palzkill knows even though the outcome was not what they wanted, the group of young men learned plenty throughout the season.
"I have so much belief in this group of young men and I feel bad for them that the game had to end in the manner that it ended," Palzkill said. "These kids didn't deserve to lose like that, but that is a life lesson. Sometimes bad things happen to good people and you have to learn from that as well. Certainly, this team should be proud of their accomplishments. If they can take the things they have learned throughout their football career and apply it to their lives, they will be successful people. Helping to shape quality young men is more important to me than wins and losses."
It was quite a game, a real battle of heavyweights played out before an appreciative fan base on both sides.
The Pointers got through for the first touchdown of the game when Will Straka got in from two yards out early in the first quarter for a 6-0 lead.
Carter Johnson then led the Buffaloes a stampede down the field and capped it with a one yard plunge. Raith Bauer's kick made it 7-6.
The see/saw stayed in motion and tipped in favor of the Pointers with a second quarter aeriel score, An Isaac Lindsey to Blaise Watters pass spanned nine yards and made the score 12-7.
The tip went next to Mondovi who got a 16 yard scamper from Tanner Marsh and an extra point kick from Bauer to regain the led 14-12 while stood up at halftime.
Bo Hanson then gave the Pointers the lead again with a 25 yard field goal in the third quarter to make it 15-14.
Lindsey called his own number near the end of the period and got in from the 11. Hanson's kick gave the Pointers a 22-14 advantage going into the final 12 minutes.
Not to be denied on home turf the Buffaloes tied the game on a one yarder by Marsh and a Johnson to Cade Brenner two point conversion.
The two teams slugged it out until Johnson's pick six that happened with too little time left for the Pointers to mount an answer. Bauer's kick made it the 29-22 final score.
Lindsey, under pressure all night, made good on 22 of 41 passes for 274 yards. Watters caught nine of them for 111 yards, Liam Stumpf three for 58, Straka three for 53, Dom McVay four for 27, Hanson two for 18 and Grant Bossert one for seven.
Rushing yards were hard to come by but the Pointers did pick up 117. Straka led with 63 on 17 attempts, Lindsey totaled 41 on 10 tries, Watters seven on five attempts with McVay getting six on three runs.
Marsh was the workhorse for the Buffaloes with 168 yards on 21 attempts. Johnson held onto the ball 22 times and picked up 79.
When it came to defense for Mondovi, Johnson had seven tackles, a forced fumble and two interceptions. Jackson Falkner and Marsh each had six tackles with Marsh adding an interception and Falkner a forced fumble. Brenner also accounted for an interception.
While it was the end of the season for the Pointers they must remember the only team to end the season with a win is the state champion. With over 200 teams starting the post season getting to the quarterfinals is a great accomplishment.
Palzkill knows this team is one which will be remembered, not only for winning but for many reasons.
"This football team, and this group of seniors, have so much to be proud of in terms of their impact on Mineral Point Football," Palzkill said. "This season was a culmination of work that a great number of people have put into our football program. The conference championships are probably the achievements that can be pointed to, however, the relationships that we developed and the team atmosphere that was created will never be forgotten. This team was a true family......the athletes did not care who got the credit, they just wanted to have fun and win games. I think they did both of those things very well."
He added that the preparation for the games all season was what made the team successful as they did it together.
"I feel that our team has earned respect due to the way that they prepared to be successful week in and week out," the coach said. "It is hard for me to choose one or two athletes in this game because everyone was prepared and all of the athletes gave us a chance to win. As a coach, I can't ask anything more than for our players to give us their best effort. I am confident that this team gave us everything they had in the Mondovi game. That is a true definition of success in my mind."
"Words can't describe how much I appreciate this group of athletes and coaches," Palzkill continued. "This season has been an absolute joy for me. I just want to acknowledge our coaches, players, and parents!. Thank you for all of your support and for giving everything you could give to this football team. I had a vision eight years ago when I became the head coach at Mineral Point High School. This team has turned into that vision and I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to coach these young men."
The game also was the last for the Pointer seniors who have been part of three SWAL championships.
'The worst part of losing last Friday night is having a VERY SPECIAL relationship come to an end," said Palzkill. " Our coaches and this group of seniors truly cared about each other.......we all did the work and relied upon each other. In my opinion, the best way to honor this group is to talk about them collectively. They are the epitome of the word TEAM. They grasped everything about the team concept. They have achieved success never dreamed about before in regards to Mineral Point Football. What an amazing group of young men and what an incredible impact they have left on this football program."
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