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Schutz shoots down St. Croix Central football team 51-0

St. Croix Central quarterback Jason Matteson (6) is sacked by Ellsworth’s defensive line during last Friday’s playoff game.

Dennis Schutz was a one-man wrecking crew on Friday night.

He wrecked any hopes the St. Croix Central football team had of pulling off an upset in the opening round of the WIAA Division 4 regional playoffs. Schutz ran for 289 yards and five first half touchdowns in leading the top-ranked Ellsworth team past Central 51-0.

St. Croix Central finished the 2013 season with a 3-7 record. Central qualified for the playoffs by going 3-3 in the Dunn-St. Croix Conference. The .500 finish meant the Panthers would be the bottom team in the regional tournament bracket, leading to the unfortunate pairing against Ellsworth.

Central coach Tony DiSalvo wasn’t about to sugar coat the facts around the game. He said many of the Panthers didn’t put in a great deal of work in the off-season, which resulted in them getting the bottom seed in the playoffs and the tough opening draw.

“We got what we deserved. The bottom line is you get out of it what you put into it. I thought we’d be a little better than we were,” DiSalvo said.

That’s why the Panthers officially started their off-season on Monday, beginning to plan for the 2014 season during their 2013 exit meetings.

Central was a young team this season and the Panthers should be one of the most experienced teams in the D-SC next season. DiSalvo said the Central coaches are trying to get the players to realize the opportunity that is available for the team next season.

“We bring back a ton of kids and a lot of experience. Experience won’t be the issue (next season). It’ll be if we get bigger and stronger,” he said.

The lack of strength showed up on both sides of the ball this season. The Central offense is designed to create big plays. The Panther offense generated 23 plays of 20 or more yards this season. That compares to 43 plays of 20 or more yards that were allowed by Central’s defense this season.

The Panthers weren’t bigger or stronger than Ellsworth on Friday. Ellsworth rushed for a jaw-dropping 521 yards on the ground. Schutz was unstoppable, rushing for touchdowns of 25, 72, 51, 45 and 20 yards, all in the first half.

“The Schutz kid is by far the best back we’ve seen this year,” DiSalvo said.

Ellsworth’s 528 yards of total offense compares to 106 yards of offense for Central in the game. Senior Wyatt Sain was Central’s leading rusher with 18 yards on five carries. The Central quarterbacks completed nine of 24 attempts. Dante Carlson and Tony Berg were the leading receivers with three receptions each.

Dave Newman
Dave Newman has been the sports editor at the New Richmond News since 1988. He has covered the action in the Middle Border Conference, Dunn-St. Croix Conference and Big Rivers Conference for nearly 30 years.
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