UPDATED: Wildcats win wild one over SpartansAlex Call’s 4-yard touchdown run with 5 seconds remaining gave the River Falls Wildcats a 34-28 victory over the Superior High School football team Friday night before more than 1,000 fans at Ole Haugsrud Field.
By: Ken Olson, Superior Telegram
Alex Call’s 4-yard touchdown run with 5 seconds remaining gave the River Falls Wildcats a 34-28 victory over the Superior High School football team Friday night before more than 1,000 fans at Ole Haugsrud Field.
Call’s scramble around the right end put the finishing touches on a wild game that saw 35 points scored in the fourth quarter.
“It was a wild game,” River Fall coach Jason Wolf said. “Superior is such a physical team and the way they battled back in the second half is just crazy. They got some bounces and at the end we got a bounce. You never know in the game of football what’s going to happen; that was just phenomenal.”
Trailing 20-7, Superior quarterback Spencer Urban found Kyle Turkowski alone down the right sideline for a 29-yard touchdown pass on the second play of the fourth quarter. McKenzie Schwarz’s extra-point kick got the Spartans within 20-14.
River Falls got that touchdown back 1:24 later when Aaron Rodewald ran untouched up the middle from 24 yards out. Call’s kick gave the Wildcats a 27-14 lead.
Both teams failed to pick up first downs on their next drives. A 20-yard punt by River Falls gave the Spartans the ball at the 25-yard line.
The Spartans moved the ball to the 8, but Jon Helegson picked off an Urban pass in the end zone with 5:06 remaining and fans started heading for the exits.
Just when the air seemed to be let out of Superior’s balloon, Jaylon Brown recovered a River Falls fumble at the 23-yard line, and five players later Urban threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Jack Kline. Schwarz’s kick got the Spartans within 27-21 with 3:47 left.
On River Falls’ second play on its next drive the Spartans took a 28-27 lead when Anthony Valentine intercepted a Call pass at the 16-yard line and returned it for a touchdown.
“Our kids and coaches never thought the game was done,” DeMeyer said. “They’ve showed heart all three games, and they played their tails off all game long. We made mistakes, yes, but we didn’t quit.”
Superior’s Jake Libal recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff, giving the Spartans the ball at the 28 with 3:10 remaining.
“We tried to giving the game to them and they did a great job of capitalizing on our mistakes,” Wolf said. “I give them all the credit in the world. Coach DeMeyer does such a great job and his kids play so hard. We have the utmost respect (for them).”
The Spartans failed to pick up a first down and turned the ball over to the Wildcats at the 25 with 2:19 remaining.
River Falls then caught a break when Libal deflected a pass, but the ball went right into the arms of Wildcats’ John Maillette for a 35-yard gain.
One play after Superior’s Ben Erickson sacked Call to give River Falls a third-and-20 at the 25, Superior was called for pass interference, giving the Wildcats a first down at the 13 with 23 seconds left.
“It was all the way across the field, but I have a hard time making that call if I’m the official in this kind of a game and on that close of a play,” DeMeyer said. “I thought they officiated a heck of a good game. There were a lot of ifs in this game and it should not have come down to that one play. From the first drive to the last, there were a lot of things we could have done differently. If we could have punched that ball in from the 8, the game’s totally different.”
River Falls saw the penalty a bit differently.
“It was in front of us and from our end it looked like the one guy was on his back,” Wolf said. “Their safety made a great play, but the other guy was on his back and it’s just one of those things that could have gone either way. We just happened to be the ones who benefitted from it.”
On third down Call scored the winning touchdown when he scrambled around the right end, avoided a tackle at the 5-yard line and scored with five seconds remaining. Call also kicked the extra point for a 34-28 lead.
“Alex is such a good athlete — he came make plays with his feet as well as his arm,” Wolf said. “He’s a 4.0 student and you see that with the smart decisions he makes.”
River Falls took a 3-0 lead on Call’s 25-yard field goal 3:51 into the game.
Tyler Nystrom’s kickoff return to the 40 set up a 60-yard scoring drive that ended with Urban running for a 5-yard touchdown around the right end. Schwarz’s kick gave Superior a 7-3 lead with 5:06 left in the first quarter.
River Falls took the lead right back thanks to a 9-yard, 65-yard drive that ended with a 15-yard touchdown pass from Call to Eric Wunrow.
Superior played giveaway the rest of the first half starting with a fumble at the River Falls’ 8-yard line. Helgeson’s first interception of the game was followed by a nine-play 78-yard drive that ended with Rodewell running up the middle from 5 yards out.
Another Superior fumble on its next possession led to a Call 41-yard field goal as time expired in the first half.
“We stress ball security every day and when we took care of the ball, we make plays,” DeMeyer said. “We’re going to fix that, too.
Urban led the Spartans on offense, rushing for 42 yards on nine carries and completing 11-of-31 passes for 143 yards. Raheem Vann added 39 yards rushing, Kline caught four passes for 32 yards and Valentine had 56 yards on three catches.
Call completed 19-of-35 passes for 213 yards. Brad Freeborn caught six of those passes for 73 yards. Luke Murphy and Eric Wunrow each caught five passes, for 49 and 51 yards respectively. Freeborn also led the Wildcats in rushing with 69 yards on two carries.
Defensively for Superior, Erickson was in on 18 tackles, including 15 solo. Nik Mattson added nine stops and Brown, Valentine and Urban had seven each.
“Part of the problem for us in the second half was that we could not run on them,” Wolf said. “They have such a great run defense and some great athletes and they brought it, and that put us in a tough spot for burning the clock, so I give them credit.
“I also give my guys credit. They could have given up but they battled and fought all the way to the end. It’s just great to come out with the victory.”
The Spartans, 1-2 overall and 0-2 in the Big River Conference, play at River Falls at 7 p.m. Friday.
“It won’t be hard to rebound at all,” DeMeyer said. “Our kids have heart, they just showed it.”
River Falls 10 10 0 14 — 34
Superior 7 0 0 21 — 28
RF—Alex Call 25yard field goal, 8:09.
SHS—Spencer Urban, 3-yard run (McKenzie Schwarz kick), 5:05.
RF—Eric Wunrow 14-yard pass from Call (Call kick), 1:08.
RF—Aaron Rodewald 5-yard run (Call kick), 1:20.
RF—Call 41-yard FG, 0:00.
SHS—Kyle Turkowski 28-yard pass from Urban (Schwarz kick), 11:32.
RF— Rodewald 24-yard run (Call kick), 10:08.
SHS—Jack Kline 5-yard pass from Urban (Schwarz kick), 3:47.
SHS—Anthony Valentine 16-yard interception return (Schwarz kick), 3:26.
RF—Call 4-yard run (Call kick), 0:05.
First Downs 17 15
First Downs: R-P-Pen 7-9-1 9-6-0
Rushing Yards 194 152
Passing: Comp.–Att. 19/35 11/31
Passing Yards 213 143
Passing: TDs–Int 1/1 2/2
Total Offense 407 295
Fumbles-Lost 2/2 2/2
Penalties-Yards 3/20 1/15
Def. Sacks 0 2
Time of Possession 26:53 21:07
Punts-Avg. 3/34.0 1/31
SHS—Spencer Urban, 9-42; Raheem Vann, 8-39; Aaron Wakefield-Zubiate, 7-13; Anthony Valintine, 3-10; Brandon Gustafson, 1-10; Ben Erickson, 3-8; Addison Schwarz, 1-8; Jaylon Brown, 1-1; Tyler Nystrom, 3-7; Mike DeMoure, 1-8; Ean Fredericks, 1-2; Kyle Turkowski, 1-4.
RF—Brad Freeborn, 2-69; Aaron Rodewald, 9-40; Kyle Hargrave, 5-21; Alex Call, 2-3.
Superior—Urban 11-31—143. RF—Call, 19-35—213.
SHS—Valentine, 3-56; Jack Kline, 4-32; Vann, 1-18; Wakefield-Zubiate 1-(-1); Erickson, 1-8; Kasey Keup, 1-3; Turkowski, 1-28.
RF—Freeborn, 6-73; Luke Murphy 5-49; Eric Wunrow 5-51.
Tkl Solo Ast
Ben Erickson 18 15 3
Nik Mattson 9 8 1
Jaylon Brown 7 5 2
Anthony Valentine 7 5 2
Spencer Urban 7 6 1
Clayton Chruscielski 6 4 2
Morgan Johnson 5 5 0
Jaylon Brown 4 2 4
Andrew Roske 3 2 1
Jake Libal 2 0 2
Willie Wells 2 2 0
Lukas Gall 1 1 0
Aaron Wakefield-Zubiate 1 1 0
Jack Kline 1 1 0
Sam Freeman 1 1 0
Totals 70 56 14
Sebastian Larson 10 9 1
Tiano Pupungatoa 5 5 0
Ryan Tierney 6 5 1
Totals 51 47 4