Stream shines for Spartans on the ‘Dark Side’When Superior High School senior Willie Stream made the move from offensive tackle to defensive end, junior defensive back Nate Sanders went up to him and said, “Welcome to the Dark Side.”
By: Ken Olson, Superior Telegram
When Superior High School senior Willie Stream made the move from offensive tackle to defensive end, junior defensive back Nate Sanders went up to him and said, “Welcome to the Dark Side.”
“Coach (Rob) Scott came up that name with last year,” Stream said. “It’s about the bad guys getting the job done. It’s just something fun for us.”
So far this season Stream’s play has been anything but dark and he’s been one of many shining stars on a defensive unit that has helped the Spartans get off to its first 4-0 start since Superior’s state championship season in 1990.
Stream, a senior, leads the Spartans with 29 tackles, is second in the state with seven sacks, has nine tackles for losses and has forced a fumble.
“It’s all about whatever makes the team better,” Stream said. “Last year we had an injury on the offensive line so I had to step up and help out the team, which I was happy to do. But defense is always something I wanted to do, so I’m really enjoying myself this year.”
SHS coach Bob DeMeyer said all of Stream’s hard work in the offseason is paying off.
“Willie put in a lot of time in the weight room in the offseason and it means a lot to him to be a Spartan,” DeMeyer said. “You can see it each day in practice, he’s giving the team the best he’s got. I’m not surprised at all, he’s that type of kid.
“He made the transition from offense to defense very well. I’ve told him all along that he’s a very athletic lineman. That’s his biggest strength – his athletic ability. He has a motor, he goes and goes and doesn’t take a lazy step. That’s why he’s been successful. He’s also very unselfish, he’s a team player.”
Stream’s latest heroics came during Friday’s 38-27 win at River Falls.
The Spartans allowed two touchdowns in the second quarter, easily their worst quarter of the season, and led just 24-20 at the half.
After the intermission, Superior looked like a different team as Stream, along with fellow linemen Sam Freeman and Andrew Roske, sparked a defensive unit that didn’t allow a first down until there was less than three minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.
The Spartans forced three straight three-and-outs, got a fumble recovery from Matt Little and an interception from Alex Dzikonski.
That allowed the Spartan offense to open up a 38-20 lead before the third quarter was over.
“They turned it up several notches,” DeMeyer said. “Things got fixed in a hurry at halftime and a lot of that had to do with their play up front.”
Things don’t get easier for the Spartans, who host the Rice Lake Warriors in their annual homecoming game at 7 p.m. today at Ole Haugsrud Field.
The Warriors (3-1 overall, 1-1 Big Rivers Conference) are coming off a 37-10 win over Eau Claire North, a team that easily defeated River Falls 46-14 on Sept. 6.
“Every game is huge,” Stream said. “Everyone is pretty excited, we’re hoping for a sold out crowd.
“We had a goal of being 4-0 going into homecoming because that would really bring out the people. The more fans in the stands the more exciting it is four our team and the students.”
Rice Lake’s loss came at the hands of Hudson, 28-21 in overtime. The Warriors were leading Hudson 21-19, but with about a minute remaining they were forced to punt and the snap sailed into the end zone for a safety which tied the game. Hudson went on to win in overtime.
“We’ve had two tough conference games thus far, but this will be our toughest test yet,” DeMeyer said. “They’re so solid in what they do in every aspect of their game. They’re well coached in well disciplined.”
The Warriors will be without star player Austin Roberts, who is out for the season with an injury. The 6-foot-3, 230-pound linebacker/tight end has committed to play football at the University of Illinois.
“They’re a heck of a football team without him, too,” DeMeyer said. “He’s been their leader, but they have a couple of other linebackers that have stepped in and have done a good job.”
The Spartans will also have to worry about sophomore Alain Pierre, who played on Superior’s freshman team last year.
“He’s a speedster, and he returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown against Hudson,” DeMeyer said. “He’s playing halfback, he’s a good runner and his blocking has improved.
“I’m pretty certain he’s going to be excited to be back playing against his buddies.”
Stream is also excited about playing his former teammate.
“He worked hard in our Bigger, Faster, Stronger program and is a very good football player,” said Stream. “He’s also very fast. I don’t know if I’ll be able to run him down, but one of our goals is to contain him.”
SPARTAN SPIN: Superior defeated Rice Lake 17-14 last year on McKenzie Schwarz’s 24-yard field goal with 22.1 seconds remaining. … Running back Aaron Wakefield-Zubiate left last week’s game in the third quarter with an injury. He rested over the weekend and took Monday off from practice and is expected to be on the field tonight.