Indians take it to Huskies

MENOMONIE -- Gerry Moseler would have liked what happened Friday night at Williams Stadium. Menomonie honored Moseler, a longtime assistant coach who died last week, by playing the type of old-fashioned, smashmouth football he loved so much in a ...

MENOMONIE -- Gerry Moseler would have liked what happened Friday night at Williams Stadium.

Menomonie honored Moseler, a longtime assistant coach who died last week, by playing the type of old-fashioned, smashmouth football he loved so much in a 35-0 victory over Eau Claire North in a Big Rivers Conference game.

"It was a tough week for us as a coaching staff," Menomonie coach Joe LaBuda said. "We lost a dear friend of ours. He would have loved this type of game, and we said all week that's the type of game we wanted to play."

Menomonie (3-1, 2-0) didn't do anything fancy, although it didn't need to. The Indians piled up 279 rushing yards -- 137 by Brady Benn -- and dominated time of possession. North (1-3, 1-1), which beat Rice Lake last week behind a school-record 302 passing yards from Brett Bodenburg, ran just four plays in the first quarter.

One of them was a fumble on a backwards lateral scooped up by Menomonie's James Mooney and returned 11 yards for the Indians' second touchdown of the game.


Another North fumble gave Menomonie a short field to start the second quarter, and the Indians scored on an 18-yard screen pass from Kasey Kruse to Treysen Vavra.

"You can't put yourself in a hole when you're playing good football teams," North coach Dean Rosemeyer said. "I don't think we were flat, but I think we were outhit early and didn't recover. We were on our heels. And when you're on your heels, you're going to make mistakes."

Not wanting to give Bodenburg time to sit in the pocket and pick his defense apart, LaBuda turned up the pressure early. Menomonie's defensive backs lined up right at the line of scrimmage across from North's wide receivers and the Indians' linebackers shot through the gaps. Menomonie had three sacks in the game, including one on North's first play from scrimmage.

"He's too good a thrower to sit back," LaBuda said. "We had to come after him and get pressure."

Bodenburg and North eventually settled down midway through the second quarter and put together a couple of first downs. But the drive stalled at midfield and North was forced to punt.

Three straight runs by Benn brought the ball back to midfield. Kruse finished off the drive by lofting a 28-yard pass to Jimmy Benrud in the end zone for a 28-0 lead.

The game, for all intents and purposes, was over.

"Their defense played exceptionally well," Rosemeyer said. "They played hard. They played physical. We knew they were going to stunt. We knew they were going to come after us.


"We just couldn't handle it."

Rosemeyer pulled Bodenburg in the second half. North's senior quarterback has been dealing with an abdominal strain, according to Rosemeyer, and the coaching staff didn't want to risk it.

John Poppe, who plays all over the field for the Huskies and takes a few snaps at quarterback even when Bodenburg is in, took over under center and led North on two long drives into Menomonie territory. But one ended on downs and the other was stopped by an interception.

Benn's second touchdown of the game -- a 1-yard dive -- put the running clock into effect and the fourth quarter was played with both teams' reserves.

Menomonie stayed atop the Big Rivers, one of two undefeated teams left just two weeks into the season. The Indians were coming off a tense 17-7 victory over River Falls last week and had yet to put together four quarters, at least in LaBuda's eyes.

"I thought our kids played our most complete game tonight," LaBuda said. "I'm really pleased with the way we played overall."

Menomonie held North to just 116 total yards while gaining 383 of its own. Kruse completed 5 of 9 passes for 104 yards -- all in the first half -- and also had 68 rushing yards. Mathew Pearson added 57 yards on the ground for the Indians.

North, meanwhile, has to regroup for Eau Claire Memorial, which will enter next week's rivalry game sky high after a 29-22 overtime victory over River Falls.


"This is an important week for us," Rosemeyer said. "If we're not playing the right kind of football, we're going to struggle."


North 0 0 0 0 -- 0

Menomonie 14 14 7 0 -- 35

First Quarter

M -- Brady Benn 2 run (Taylor Mueller kick), 7:48.

M -- James Mooney 11 fumble return (Mueller kick), :06.

Second Quarter


M -- Treyson Vavra 18 pass from Kruse (Mueller kick), 8:42.

M -- Jimmy Benrud 28 pass from Kruse (Mueller kick), 3:28.

Third Quarter

M -- Benn 1 run (Mueller kick), 2:49.


First downs 10 17

Net yards 116 383

by rushing (att-yds) 21-17 51-279


by passing 99 104

Passes (comp-att-int) 8-21-1 5-10-0

Fumbles-lost 2-2 1-0

Penalties-yards 3-25 4-30

Individual Statistics

RUSHING (att-yds) -- North: Seth Hurt 5-23, John Poppe 4-16, Andrew Kim 3-9, Austin Rieder 3-6, Tony Xiong 1-1, Sam Janni 1-(minus 6), Brett Bodenburg 4-(minus 28). Menomonie: Benn 22-137, Kruse 9-68, Mathew Pearson 12-57, Aaron White 6-10, Joey Neeb 1-6, Steve Eiden 1-1.

PASSING (comp-att-int-yds) -- North: Bodenburg 5-10-0-52, Poppe 2-9-1-34, Janni 1-2-0-13. Menomonie: Kruse 5-9-0-104, James Nelson 0-1-0-0.

RECEIVING (rec-yds) -- North: Rieder 3-39, Tyler Sonsalla 2-22, Grant Lokken 1-22, Nick Risler 1-13, Jordan Dickerson 1-3. Menomonie: Austin Berend 2-46, Vavra 2-30, Benrud 1-28.


INTERCEPTIONS (tot-yds) -- Menomonie: Tanner Dahl 1-0.

-- Copyright (c) 2009, The Leader-Telegram, Eau Claire/Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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