It was the first game for West Salem, and the third game for Onalaska, but these two teams fought like it was a playoff game on Friday night.
Onalaska improved to 2-1 with a 15-13 victory over West Salem, who fell to 0-1.
Both teams played well on the defensive side of the ball. Aided by mistakes by both teams, it was a low scoring game for most of the night.
West Salem got on the board first after a pass from quarterback Noah LaFleur to wide receiver Jack Hehli set up a touchdown. The snap went over the head of the Panthers’ holder on the extra point and the score remained 6-0 in the 1st quarter.
Onalaska got down to the 1-yard line of West Salem with 5:00 left in the second quarter, but fumbled on 4th and goal and couldn’t score. However, they would score before halftime.
A 22-yard pass from Onalaska quarterback Ayden Larson to wide receiver Landon Peterson got Onalaska on the board with 3:55 left in the first half. They converted the 2-point conversion and led 8-6 at halftime.
West Salem intercepted Larson in the middle of the 3rd quarter, but couldn’t take advantage of the opportunity. Onalaska turned that around and scored on a 64-yard run by Albert Romero with 2:29 left in the 3rd quarter.
Although they were down 15-6, the Panthers would not go away. Larson fumbled the ball away to West Salem, setting up the Panthers at the Onalaska 5-yard line. After a fumbled snap, the Panthers found themselves with a 4th and goal at the Onalaska 20-yard line.
Noah Lafleur found Zack Niemeier for a 20-yard touchdown pass to slim the deficit to 15-13 with 4:57 left.
However, Onalaska drained much of the clock on their next possession. LaFleur threw an interception on the final drive for West Salem, and the Hilltoppers took the victory, 15-13, on a warm October night in Onalaska.
You re-watch the video stream brought to you by Firefighters Credit Union below.