Spartans improve to 4-0The Superior High School football team improved to 4-0 for the first time since the 1990 season with a 38-27 win over the River Falls Wildcats Friday night David Smith Stadium at Remer Field on the campus of UW-River Falls.
The Superior High School football team improved to 4-0 for the first time since the Spartans’ state championship season in 1990 season with a 38-27 win over the River Falls Wildcats Friday night at UW-River Falls' David Smith Stadium at Remer Field.
The win also keeps the Spartans undefeated in the Big Rivers Conference at 2-0, while River Falls drops to 1-3 and 0-2.
After outscoring their opponents 144-25 in their first three games, the Spartans found themselves in their first tussle of the season, leading just 7-6 after the first quarter and 24-20 at the half.
River Falls held a 214-176 advantage in yards gained in the first half but Superior turned up pressure on defense in the second half, limiting the Wildcats to just 108 yards and a touchdown that game with just 26 seconds remaining. The Spartans also forced five fumbles, recovering three of them, and Alex Dzikonski intercepted a pass.
In the end, Superior outgained River Falls 397-322 in total yards.
The Spartans’ defense limited the Wildcats to just three plays on their first three drives of the second half then saw Matt Little recover a fumble on the fourth drive.
Meanwhile, Superior increased its lead to 38-20 with a 63-yard touchdown pass from Nick Mehlum to Jake Libal and Ross Kennelly’s 2-yard touchdown run.
Libal added two other touchdowns, a 9-yard run on the first drive of the game, and 25-yard pass from Mehlum.
Mehlum finished 10-of-25 for 222 yards, two touchdowns and his first two interceptions of the season.
The Spartans also got a 33-yard field goal from McKenzie Schwarz and Beau Reder’s 38-yard fumble return for a touchdown.
The Spartans took the opening kick and 11 plays and 76 yards later Libal snuck up the middle nine yards for a touchdown. Schwartz’s extra-point kick gave Superior a 7-0 lead just 3:49 into the game.
River Falls overcame three penalties on its first drive and made it 7-6 with a 28-yard option pass from running back Jon Krueger to Riley Tschumper. The extra point went wide left with 4:08 left in the opening quarter. The touchdown was the first against the Spartans in the first quarter this season.
Superior’s Andrew Roske recovered a Wildcat fumble on River Falls’ 31-yard line on the first play of the second quarter.
Six plays later Schwarz kicked a 33-yard field goal to give the Spartans a 10-6 lead.
On the third play of River Falls’ next drive, Reder got a hand on an attempted quarterback pitch, the ball bounced into his arms and he returned it for a 38-yard touchdown. Schwarz’s kick gave Superior a 17-6 lead with 9:40 left in the second quarter.
River Falls held on to the ball on its next drive and marched 68 yards before quarterback James Witt ran up the middle for a 5-yard touchdown. The Wildcats failed on the two-point conversion attempt leaving the score 17-12 in favor of Superior with 7:15 left in the half.
The Spartans then came up with their best defensive series of the first half, holding River Fall to three negative plays, including sacks by Sam Freeman and Roske and by Willie Stream.
Superior took over at its own 31 with 1:41 remaining in the half but was forced to punt after four plays.
River Falls quickly moved the ball 52 yards and got within 24-20 on Witt’s 6-yard touchdown run and Witt’s pass on the two-point conversion with 12 seconds left in the half.
After the Spartans forced River Falls to punt after three plays on the first drive of the third quarter, they took a 31-20 lead a play later when Libal caught a pass on a slant pattern from Mehlum and ran untouched for a 64-yard touchdown.
After another three-and-out for River Falls, Superior took a 38-20 lead on Kennelly’s 2-yard run and Schwartz’s kick. The TD was set up by a 40-yard run by Aaron Wakefield-Zubiate, who limped off the field and never returned to the game.
River Falls completed the scoring on Trey Larson’s 16-yard touchdown pass to Paurus with 26 seconds remaining.
The Spartans return home to host Rice Lake in their annual homecoming game at 7 p.m. Friday.
SPARTAN SPIN: Superior was scored on in the first quarter for the first time this season. … Schwarz missed a 32-yard field goal attempt early in the third quarter. … Willie Stream, Morgan Johnson and Roske had 10 tackles apiece for Superior. …. Kennelly, Reder, Stream and Roske forced four of River Falls’ five fumbles. Superior recovered three of the, one each by Reder, Little and Roske.
Superior 7 17 14 0 — 38
River Falls 6 14 0 7 — 27
S—Jake Libal 9-yard run (McKenzie Schwarz kick), 8:11.
RF—Jon Krueger 28-yard option pass to Riley Tschumper (kick wide left), 4:08.
S—Schwarz 33-yard FG, 10:20.
S—Beau Reder 38-yard fumble return (Schwarz kick), 9:40.
RF—James Witt 5-yard run (run failed), 7:04.
S—Nick Mehlum 25-yard pass to Libal (Schwarz kick), 3:50.
RF—Witt 6-yard run (Witt pass), 0:12.
S—Mehlum 63-yard pass to Libal (M. Schwarz kick), 10:03.
S—Ross Kennelly 2-yard run (M. Schwarz kick), 2:14.
RF—Trey Larson 16-yard pass to Adrian Paurus (Kenny Oberlin kick), 0:26.
First downs 15 13
Total Net Yards 397 322
Rushes-yards 35-175 40-155
Passing yards 222 167
Comp-Att-Int 10-25-2 11-20-1
Punt Returns 1-12 0-0
Kickoff Returns 5-66 7-171
Interceptions Ret. 1-6 2-1
Punts 3-31 0-0
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 5-3
Penalties-Yards 4-22 5-25
RUSHING—Superior, Aaron Wakefield-Zubiate 11-81, Jake Libal 4-43, Nick Mehlum 10-26, Ross Kennelly 4-19, Grant Hanson 2-12, Wes Larson 4-(-6). River Falls, James Witt 18-70, Jon Krueger 3-29, Logan Emholz 3-25, Gregg Matheson 3-14.
PASSING—Superior, Nick Mehlum 10-25-2-222. River Falls, Witt 8-15-109. Trey Larson 2-2-30.
RECEIVING—Superior, Libal 3-114, Tyler Anderson 2017, Addison Schwarz 1-13, Carter Anderson 1-14, Wakefield-Zubiate 1-40, Hanson 1-16, Adam Amys 1-8. River Falls, Jackson Vanderwagen 2-17, Brian Grove 2031, Krueger 2-28, No. 21 2-30, Riley Tschumper 1-28, Sam Purfeerst 1-9, Logan Emholtz 1-24.
MISSED FIELD GOALS—Superior, Schwarz, 32 yards.
Tot Solo Ast.
Will Stream 10 8 2
Morgan Johnson 10 6 4
Andrew Roske 10 7 3
Jesse Polson 8 4 4
Sam Freeman 6 3 3
Alex Dzidonski 6 4 2
Beau Reder 5 4 1
Ross Kennelly 3 3 0
Addison Schwarz 1 1 0
Mckenzie Schwarz 1 1 0
Garrett Hobson 2 1 1
Deshon Pleau 1 1 0
Jake Libal 1 0 1
Nate Sanders 3 2 1
Matt Little 3 2 1
Matt Hinaus 3 3 0
Andy Eisenmann 1 0 1
Total 74 50 24
Gregg Matheson 10 7 3
Sebastian Larson 10 8 2
Jackson Vanderwagon 6 5 1
Adam Mustafa 6 5 1
Kenny Oberlin 1 1 0
Brian Grove 2 2 0
Jonathon Krueger 2 2 0
Jacob Tepp 1 1 0
Samuel Shafer 2 2 0
Casey Slowiak 4 2 2
Brandon Kliszcz 1 0 1
River Falls 1 1 0
Jordan Kirchoff 2 2 0
Tim Hixman 1 1 0
Total 50 40 10