Eagles fly past football team in season finale

La Crosse wears out Blugolds with running game


Photo by UW-Eau Claire athletics

UW-La Crosse running back Ben Hetrampf was too much for the UW-Eau Claire football team last Saturday in a snowy Carson Park.

Story by Nick Erickson, Sports Editor

Ben Hertrampf sort of served as a metaphor for the UW-Eau Claire football team’s season.

The burly UW-La Crosse running back felt out the Blugold defense in the first quarter, giving them hope of sticking around for an upset, before punishing them on the ground for three straight quarters as the Eagles won 20-10 Saturday at a snowy Carson Park.

Hertrampf ran for 234 yards on 34 carries with two touchdowns. He also found the endzone on a 22-yard shuffle pass in the second quarter.

“He’s big. He’s physical and they run the ball extremely well,” Eau Claire head coach Todd Glaser said. “He’s very, very patient, and that’s what we were struggling with a little bit.”

Glaser’s Blugolds went up 3-0 early after junior Parker La Mire knocked a 32-yard field goal through the uprights.

In the second quarter, senior Jon Van Geffen, who only had 85 total yards all season entering Saturday, scored on a three-yard run to cap off a seven-play drive.

With the 15 degree weather and snow that fell onto the field for the duration of Saturday’s game, the Blugolds couldn’t get the passing game going and relied heavily on Van Geffen.

He finished the day with 175 yards on the ground on 35 carries.

“I thought Van Geffen ran extremely well today,” Glaser said. “For a senior, he hadn’t been playing a ton, and he got stronger as the year went on.”

After Van Geffen’s touchdown, Hertrampf had enough of feeling out the Blugolds’ defense and took over.

He took advantage of some holes up the middle and scored twice to end the second quarter to give the Eagles’ a 10-point halftime cushion.

In the second half, Hertrampf ran effectively by staying in bounds to keep the clock running and picking up enough first downs on his own to keep the Eau Claire offense off the field, snuffing out any chance at a comeback.

While the Blugolds were competitive early, the second-half stalemate the Eagles’ rushing attack created proved to be too much.

“It’s kind of like a microcosm of our season,” Glaser said. “I thought we played well at times, and we didn’t’ play so well at times. When you make mistakes against good teams in this league, it’s big plays.”

Eau Claire finished the year 1-9, its worst record since 1995, and tied for last in the WIAC.

The Blugolds were never able to get the offense going, as a 20-point effort in their lone win against UW-Stout on Nov. 1 proved to be their highest output of the season.

They went through a four-game stretch in which they scored a total of six points.

Despite the struggles, Glaser said his team always came to the field hungry and enthusiastic.

“They never gave up, and as a coach, you love to have kids like that.”