Kyle Koelbl took the first play from scrimmage 80 yards for a touchdown and finished with four scores as Holmen beat West Salem 40-26 Friday night at Empire Stadium.
Koelbl finished with 166 yards rushing on just seven carries for Holmen (4-1, 3-0 MVC). His last score came with 12 seconds left, halting a second-half comeback by the Panthers (1-4, 0-3 MVC).
Holmen took a 14-0 lead after the first quarter thanks to Koelbl and quarterback Connor Duncan's 13-yard touchdown run. Duncan finished with two rushing touchdowns and 51 yards on the ground.
West Salem's Zach Pierce scored early in the second quarter on a 9-yard touchdown run to cut the lead to 14-6, but Duncan responded with a 3-yard touchdown run of his own to make it 21-6.
There was a frenzy of scoring just before halftime. Koelbl ran for another score to give the Vikings a 28-6 lead. West Salem then answered on a Brent Heilman 80-yard touchdown on a screen pass to make it 28-12 before Koelbl ran for his third touchdown to make it 34-12 at halftime.
West Salem came out strong in the second half, marching down the field for a touchdown on its first drive on Tim Schauf's 13-yard run. The Panthers went for the 2-point conversion, but failed, to make it 34-18.
After a turnover on downs by Holmen, West Salem marched right back down the field and scored on Pierce's second touchdown of the night. This time the 2-point conversion was successful, and the Vikings' lead was cut to 34-26 by the end of the third quarter.
Each team lost a fumble in opponent territory in the final quarter, West Salem's proving costly with just a few minutes remaining. Holmen was able to control the clock, and ultimately score on Koelbl's fourth touchdown of the night, to seal the win.
Holmen now travels to Logan on Friday, September 25, to meet the Rangers (4-1, 3-0 MVC). West Salem hosts Sparta (1-4, 1-2 MVC).