August 25, 2023 at 9:50 a.m.

Veteran Viroqua squad trips up Dodgers

A veteran Viroqua football team found several ways to score Thursday and handled Dodgeville 48-6 in a non-conference opener for both teams.

Things started slipping away from the Dodgers early when the Blackhawks returned a punt 63 yards for a score after the visitor’s first possession. They added a score through the air with 2:42 left in the first quarter.

Before it was over Kayden Sullivan and Owen Zahm hauled in receiving touchdowns with Benson McDowell and Oliver Pelock both taking the ball in for rushing scores with McDowell scoring twice.

The Hawks also had two punt return touchdowns, adding a 70 yard return in the fourth quarter to the 63 yard scamper in the first.

The Dodgers found the end zone in the second quarter with 5:24 left in the frame when Brady Jabs locked in with Jack Heimerl for a 20 yard tally. The Dodgers had some success through the air but the bigger, more experienced Blackhawks made the run difficult. In fact they sacked Jabs three times.

Dodgeville coach Jakob Kastenholz knew coming into the season that inexperience would be an early factor.

“Viroqua played really well and deserves and lot of credit,” the second year coach said. “They executed what they wanted to execute.”

“Viroqua is a veteran team and return most of their starters from last year,” Kastenholz continued. “We lost a lot of starters and it showed but as we get more playing time the guys will develop and get things cleaned up.”

The bright spot of the game for the Dodges was their passing attack.

“Our passing game will be a strong suit this year but we also need to establish a run game, and be consistent using the short pass  to get down the field” Kastenholz said. “The deep ball and big plays are exciting but not sustainable.”

Kastenholz said some of the younger players found their groove in the opener.

“We had several big performances from our freshman and sophomores,” the coach noted.  “Freshman Isaac Vondra played really well at nose guard in his first varsity experience. Sophomore linemen Ty Swenson, Brantley Holtzman and Isaac Meudt had strong performances and defensively Nathan Johnson, Jack Graber and Aiden Duran played well. We are excited to see these guys progress with time and experience.”

“The Dodgers are at work shoring up the run game and quick pass attack in preparation for a home non-conference battle with Pecatonica/Argyle Friday.  They are relatively healthy with only two players out who are expected back soon.

“Pec/Argyle runs an offense similar to us and they have some skill guys on the perimeter,” Kastenholz said. “They have an athletic quarterback and we expect to see them run some options as well.”