Schwarz, SHS give the boot to Rice LakeSophomore’s 24-yard FG difference in Superior’s 17-14 win over Rice Lake
By: Ken Olson, Superior Telegram
RICE LAKE — McKenzie Schwarz’s 24-yard field goal with 22.1 seconds remaining gave the Superior High School football team a 17-14 victory over the Rice Lake Warriors Friday night at Dairy State Bank Stadium.
With the score tied 14-14, the Spartans stopped the Warriors on a fourth down play at Superior’s 23-yard line with 7:01 remaining. The Spartans’ offense followed up with a 14-play drive that ended up on Rice Lake’s 6-yard line.
After a Warrior time out, Schwarz calmly booted what turned out to be the game-winning field goal.
“Just another kick — 24 yards, snap, hold, kick, we work it every day in practice,” said Schwarz, a sophomore. “Perfect snap, my brother did a great job on the hold. I couldn’t have done it without them.”
Holding on the ball was junior Addison Schwarz, McKenzie’s older brother, and snapping the ball was Kyle Turkowski.
“They’re in their backyard doing that year-round,” SHS coach Bob DeMeyer said. “They’re awesome kids, both of them. It’s more than just the kicker; he’s gotta have a holder and fortunately he lives with him.
“They practiced winter, spring and summer and they still do it every day over and over and over again. He’s made himself into a kicker. I give a lot of credit to that kid, I can’t say enough good things about him and his brother.”
The exciting last-minute win came after the Spartans suffered back-to-back heart-breaking losses to Eau Claire Memorial and River Falls.
“It’s just another great example of what every one of our kids is made of,” DeMeyer said. “The kids on the field and the kids on the sidelines, we talked before the game and halftime about how it was going to take every single one of us (to win) and it did.
“Our defense had to dig deep and get four big stops, three of them were on fourth down. They just never quit. They didn’t quit last week and it carried over to this week. We asked a lot of the kids in practice last week and they responded. They deserve this one.”
After Schwarz’s field goal, 13.9 seconds remained, but Superior’s Willie Wells sacked Rice Lake quarterback Shawn Magee and a short pass left the Warriors at midfield as time expired and the Spartans’ bench exploded into celebration.
“The sack felt great,” Wells said. “I didn’t think I had him at first, but once he went down it felt great.
“The last two weeks were heartbreakers. The last 10 minutes of last week’s game were crazy, thinking we were going to win, then thinking we were going to lose. I don’t think I could take another game like that.”
Superior dominated the first half, outgaining Rice Lake 248-71, but had just a 14-7 lead to show for it.
The Spartans took the opening drive 73 yards in 14 plays and took a 7-0 lead when quarterback Spencer Urban found Turkowski on a slant up the middle for a 17-yard touchdown. Schwarz kicked the extra point for a 7-0 lead.
Rice Lake tied it up on Nick Webber’s 21-yard reception from Magee and Seth Markgren’s kick with 1:16 left in the first period.
Superior regained a 14-7 lead on its next drive, which ended with a 17-yard touchdown pass from Urban to Ben Erickson with 11:20 left in the first half.
The Spartans were on their way to add to their lead, but Rice Lake’s Jack Bradway intercepted a pass inside the 5-yard line and then the half expired with the Spartans on the Rice Lake 32.
“I loved the way we drove down the field in the first half,” DeMeyer said. “I knew we had things rolling and we were taking care of the ball, with the exception of the pick in the end zone. That was a great play by their linebacker. He dropped back in the zone and our quarterback didn’t see him. We thought we had the right play, but they just made a great play.
“Even after the pick I thought our kids did a nice job of running him down. He could have went all the way, but our kids got him. They played their butts off every single play.”
Rice Lake took the second half kickoff and put together a 12-play, 65-yard drive that ended with Colten Weinberg running up the middle for a 9-yard touchdown. Markgren’s kick tied the game at 14-14 with 6:49 left in the third quarter.
“Rice Lake is as well-coached as any of the teams in our conference,” DeMeyer said. “They made some adjustments, that’s what a good program’s about. I give a lot of credit to them, their defense is tough.”
Superior’s defense came up big down the stretch, stopping Rice Lake on the 1-yard line with 20 seconds left in the third quarter, then stopping the Warriors on a fourth-down play at the Spartans’ 24-yard line with 7:01 left.
“We practiced all week focusing on their fullback,” Wells said. “Our coaches told us he was a load and he sure was. We switched it up and stopped him in the beginning when they were going outside with double tight ends. Once we stopped that we forced him inside, and they started running him up the middle. It worked for a little bit, but then we shut him down again.”
Superior played without starting running back Aaron Wakefield-Zubiate. “Jaylon Brown and Tyler Nystrom did a great job in his place,” DeMeyer said. Jaylon also plays on offense, so we were asking a lot of him and Tyler. He made one nice run to get us a first down late in the game. They performed well.”
On offense for the Spartans, Urban was 14-of-32 for 181 yards and two touchdown passes. He also rushed for 42 yards on 15 carries.
Anthony Valentine led Superior on the ground with 73 yards on seven carries. Erickson added 37 yards on six carries and caught five passes for 83 yards. Kline also caught five passes for 37 yards, and Turkowski had 40 yards on two catches.
Erickson led the Spartans on defense with a game-high 20 tackles. Valentine was next with nine tackles and Andrew Roske and Lukas Gall each had eight.
The Spartans will be back at home at 7 p.m. Friday to host Eau Claire North.
Superior 7 7 0 3 — 17
Rice Lake 7 0 7 0 — 14
SHS—Kyle Turkowski, 18-yard pass from Spencer Urban (McKenzie Schwarz kick), 5:53.
RL—Nick Webber 22-yard pass from Shawn Magee (Seth Markgren kick), 1:16.
SHS—Ben Erickson 17-yard pass from Urban (McKenzie kick), 11:20.
RL—Colten Weinberger 9-yard run (Markgren kick), 6:49.
SHS—Schwarz 24-yard field goal, 0:22.
SHS—Anthony Valentine, 7-73; Ben Erickson, 6-37; Urban, 15-42; Jaylon Brown, 4-5; Tyler Nystrom 4-9; Jack Kline, 1-6. RL— Colten Weinberger 22-97; Nick Webber 6-52; Magee 15-46; Tyler Putske 3-36; Aaron Pelle 2-0.
SHS—Spencer Urban, 14-32-181; Nick Mehlum, 1-1-7; Kyle Turkowski, 0-1-0. RL—Shawn Magee 1-5-22.
SHS—Erickson, 5-83; Valentine 2-23; Kline 5-37; Brandon Gustafson 1-5; Turkowski 2-40. RL—Webber 1-22.
Erickson, 20; Valentine, 9; Andrew Roske, 8; Lukas Gall, 8; Willie Wells, 7; Sam Freeman, 7; Morgan Johnson, 6; Brown, 3; Clayton Chruscielski, 4; Urban, 1; Will Stream, 1.
Austin Roberts, 13; Colton Robach, 8; Aaron Pelle, 7; Jack Bradway, 6; Adam Schwab, 6; Eric Butler, 3; Tanton Schnider 3, Jake Zoellick, 2; Seth Markgren, 2; Adam West, 2; Turner Swanson, 1; Brady Anderson, 1.