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Football: Mustangs too much for Wildcats

The Wildcat football team posted its highest point total of the season and the most points Menomonie has allowed this year, but the seventh-ranked Mustangs pulled away for a 41-20 victory in the Big Rivers Conference opener for both teams Friday, Sept. 1, in Menomonie.

River Falls trailed 14-7 in the first half and 28-14 in the second but couldn't get any closer.

Menomonie scored the first two touchdowns of the game to open up a 14-0 lead but River Falls responded with a 77-yard scoring strike from junior quarterback Logan Graetz to sophomore tight end Joe Stoffel with 1:33 remaining in the first quarter. Stoffel beat the Menomonie defender who was going for the ball, turned upfield and outran the Mustang defense and Luke Nelson added the extra point to tighten the gap to 14-7.

The Cats put together a 73-yard drive on their first possession of the second half to cut Menomonie's lead to 28-14 after a five-yard touchdown run by Graetz and Nelson's extra point.

The Mustangs scored the next two touchdowns to open up a 41-20 lead before sophomore running back Seth Kohel scored from five yards out with just under six minutes remaining to make the final 41-20.

Graetz completed 6-of-13 passes for 132 yards and carried the ball eight times for 29 yards. He also caught a halfback option pass from Kohel for a gain of 18. Kohel was River Falls' leading rusher with 16 carries for 71 yards.

River Falls' 288 yards of offense was its highest total this season.

Senior Aaron Baillargeon led the Wildcat defense with nine tackles while junior Jacob Miller had six and junior Adam Feyereisen registered five. Senior Mitchell Williamson recorded River Falls' only sack.

The loss dropped the Wildcats to 0-3 while Menomonie improved to 3-0 after defeating Oshkosh North, 40-0, and Holmen, 49-14, in the first two weeks of the season.

River Falls will return home to host Rice Lake (3-0) this Friday, Sept. 8, at 7 .m. at David Smith Stadium at Ramer Field. The Warriors are coming off a 37-0 victory over Chippewa Falls last week.

Bob Burrows
Bob Burrows has been sports editor at the River Falls Journal since 1996 and at the Hudson Star-Observer since 2009. Prior to joining the Journal, Burrows served as sports editor with Ledger Publications in Balsam Lake, Wis. A native of Bayonne, N.J. and a U.S. Navy veteran, Burrows attended Marquette University before completing his studies at UW-River Falls in 1992.
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