L-Cats overpowered by Menomonie in season opener
MENOMONIE — When the worst-case scenario was unfolding in Lake Mills’ football opener Thursday night, the L-Cats might have found another quarterback.
Host Menomonie overpowered the visitors in a 33-7 clash between Level 3 contestants from a year ago. The Mustangs, two divisions higher in Division 2, piled up a 380-84 advantage in total yardage.
Senior quarterback J.T. Toepfer was sacked on the L-Cats’ third play from scrimmage and appeared to have his head hit off the turf. He played one more series before giving way to sophomore Adam Moen, who completed only 10 of 28 passes for 76 yards with three interceptions.
Moen had no shortage of challenges in his debut taking snaps. He had limited practice time as a backup and was playing a perennial state power on the road while trying to run a spread offense in rain that lasted almost until the fourth quarter.
What he displayed was a natural feel in the pocket, an ability to extend plays and elusiveness. If he has to be called on again, particularly if Toepfer has what looks like a concussion, the L-Cats should not be sunk.
“I saw good stuff and he competed the whole time,” Lake Mills coach Dan Ferkovich said. “He had very few reps in practice and he’s on the sidelines taking most of the blame, which was definitely not the case. He battled.”
Lake Mills was able to stop the first two Mustang possessions on downs, the second one coming after the hosts got inside the 5. Jacob Hanson and Harley Jones sacked quarterback Jake Ebert to end the threat.
The L-Cats were on the verge of another stand inside the red zone, but after a penalty backed the Mustangs up to the 12, Thomas Poplawski was able to cut back on his third down run and find the end zone.
“They wore us down,” Ferkovich said. “We missed some opportunities to make more plays in the backfield but we did a lot of good things defensively.”
When Dylan Boecker picked off Moen on the next possession, that led to an 8-yard TD run from Poplawski with 8:06 left in the half. Lake Mills finally moved the ball with four straight completions from Moen and his run taking the ball to the Mustang 21 before the drive stalled with a sack.
On the next play, Ebert hit Logan Sorenson for a 66-yard scoring strike with 34 seconds left before halftime. Sorenson would also rip off a 70-yard run to set up a 2-yard TD run from Zach DeMarce midway through the third quarter.
Sorensen’s lengthy punt return set up the final Menomonie score. After a chop block penalty pushed the hosts back near midfield, Jed Ogea picked up 37 yards on a fake punt run to set up a 4-yard run for DeMarce, who finished with 104 yards on 19 carries.
Lake Mills finally converted on the second of two Mustang miscues deep in their own territory. Moen took a keeper in from 3 yards out with 3:15 remaining.
“This is really going to help us down the road,” Ferkovich said.
The L-Cats visit New Glarus/Monticello next week.
Lake Mlls 7
Lake Mills 0 0 0 7 — 7
Menomonie 7 12 14 0 — 33
Yards rushing (att-yds.) 17-3 37-273
Yards passing 81 117
Attempts 31 13
Completions 11 7
Had intercepted 3 0
Total yards 84 390
Penalties, yards 4-19 8-70
Fumbles, lost 2-0 5-2
M — Poplawski 12 run, Poplawski kick
M — Poplawski 8 run, kick failed
M — Ebert 65 pass from Sorenson, pass failed
M — DeMarce 2 run, Zbornik pass from Ebert
M — DeMarce 4 run, pass failed
LM — Moen 3 run, Mitchell kick