Spartans clinch playoff berth with win at Eau Claire NorthThe Spartans improve to 6-0 overall, their best start since the 1990 state championship team started with an 8-0 record before losing its last game of the regular season.
The Superior High School football team officially clinched a WIAA playoff berth with a 35-31 victory over Eau Claire North Friday night at Carson Park in Eau Claire.
The Spartans improve to 6-0 overall, their best start since the 1990 state championship team started with an 8-0 record before losing its last game of the regular season.
The Spartans showed Friday they can play from behind as they overcame three deficits and won their second straight come-from-behind victory.
Superior, which scored with 22.1 seconds remaining to defeat Rice Lake last week, rallied from deficits of 10-0, 24-14 and 31-28 Friday.
Friday’s final rally was highlighted by Jake Libal’s 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown with 8:46 remaining. McKenzie Schwarz’s fifth extra-point kick of the game provided Superior with a four-point cushion.
Libal’s touchdown came after Superior fumbled a punt and North recovered the ball inside the Spartans’ 1-yard line. Nate Sorenson ran up the middle for the score to give the Huskies a 31-28 lead.
Libal took the ensuing kick near the goal line and ran up the right sidelines. He ran into some traffic just past midfield, but then outran several Huskies for Superior’s longest touchdown in many years, if not ever.
The Huskies took over on their own 30-yard line with 4:57 remaining and methodically moved the ball deep into Superior territory.
On first-down at the 34, an ECN player ran up the middle for a 15-yard gain, but while he was being tackled, Superior’s Morgan Peterson stripped the ball away, giving the Spartans possession at the 16 with 2:32 remaining.
Superior then ran out the clock to win the game and improve to 4-0 for the first time in the Big Rivers Conference since joining the league in 2002.
Spartan quarterback Nick Mehlum lived up to his player of the week honors by throwing three touchdown passes and running for another. He completed 17-of-25 passes for 203 yards and led Superior in rushing with 87 yards on 15 carries.
Addison Schwarz caught six of Mehlum’s passes for 50 yards and a touchdown. Carter Anderson and Grant Hanson also caught touchdown passes.
On defense, Superior got 13 tackles from Ross Kennelly and 11 more from Jesse Polson.
Willie Stream also recorded his eighth sack of the season, and Garrett Hobson, Johnson and Polson recovered fumbles.
Superior started slow and was forced to punt on its first two drives.
Meanwhile, North took a 10-0 lead on a 3-yard touchdown run by Tyler Deacon and a 27-yard field goal by Jared Bollinger.
The Spartans cut the lead to 10-7 just 57 seconds into the second quarter when Mehlum found Anderson alone in the end zone for a 19-yard touchdown and Schwarz kicked the extra point.
Polson recovered a fumble on the second play of the Huskies’ next drive and two plays after that Mehlum faked a pitch to the outside and ran up the middle for a 22-yard touchdown. Schwarz kicked the extra point to give the Spartans a 14-10 lead with 10:13 left in the second quarter.
The next two drives were a disaster for the Spartans, who fumbled on the first play both times. The Huskies turned the turnovers into a pair of touchdowns as Adam LaRock threw a 39-yard pass to Anthony Miloszewicz and Sorenson ran in from 6 yards out for a 24-14 lead.
Superior salvaged the first half with a 3-yard touchdown pass from Mehlum to Addison Schwarz with 11 seconds on the clock. The score was set up by Mehlum’s 47-yard pass to Libal.
The Spartans stopped North on the first drive of the second half and after a 5-yard punt, took over at the Huskies’ 48-yard line.
Nine plays later Mehlum threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to Hanson, and Schwarz’s kick gave the Spartans a 28-24 lead after three quarters.
The Spartans are at Hudson at 7 p.m. Friday. The Raiders defeated Eau Claire Memorial 43-20 Friday to improve to 5-1 overall and 4-0 in the BRC.
Menomonie is also undefeated at 6-0 and 4-0 in the BRC. With a 14-0 win over Rice Lake on Friday, Menomonie has yet to allow a point this season.
Mehlum named player of week
Junior quarterback Nick Mehlum was named the wissports.net player of the week after leading Superior to a come-from-behind 27-20 victory over Rice Lake last week that pushed the Spartans’ record to a perfect 5-0.
Mehlum completed passes to eight different receivers while piling up 227 passing yards and two touchdowns against the Warriors. He rushed for 46 yards and the game-winning TD, which came with less than a minute to play.
Mehlum garnered 3,201 of the 8,147 votes that were cast.
Superior 0 21 7 7 — 35
Eau Claire North 10 14 0 7 — 31
ECN—Tyler Deacon 3-yard run (Jared Bollinger kick), 6:30.
ECN—Bollinger 27-yard field goal, 1:37.
SHS—Nick Mehlum 19-yard pass to Carter Anderson (McKenzie Schwarz kick), 11:03.
SHS—Mehlum 22-yard run (Schwarz kick), 10:13.
ECN—Adam LaRock 39-yard pass to Anthony Miloszewicz (Bollinger kick), 1:56.
ECN—Nate Sorenson 6-yard run (Bollinger kick), 1:03.
SHS—Mehlum 3-yard pass to Addison Schwarz (M. Schwarz kick), 0:11.
SHS—Mehlum 8-yard pass to Grant Hanson (M. Schwarz kick), 5:21.
ECN—Sorenson 1-yard run (Bollinger kick), 9:01.
SHS—Jake Libal 99-yard kickoff return (Schwarz kick), 8:46.
First downs 16 16
Total Net Yards 337 340
Rushes-yards 30-134 32-178
Passing 203 162
Comp-Att-Int 17-25-0 15-26-0
Punt Returns 1-0 1-0
Kickoff Returns 3-110 4-62
Sacked 4 1
Punts 4-29.7 8-30.1
Fumbles-Lost 2-2 4-3
Penalties-Yards 1-8 7-66
Time of Possession 24:02 23:58
RUSHING—Superior, Nick Mehlum 15-87; Tyler Nystrom 8-25; Grant Hanson 2-13; Jake Libal 4-9. Eau Claire North, Nate Sorenson 18-133; Jared Bollinger 5-39; Adam LaRock 5-0; Tyler Deacon 4-6.
PASSING—Superior, Mehlum 17-25-203-1. Eau Claire North, LaRock 15-=26-162-0.
RECEIVING—Superior, Addison Schwarz 6-50; Carter Anderson 3-36; Hanson 3-31; Libal 2-65; Tyler Anderson 2-20; Wes Larson 1-2. Eau Claire North, Anthony Miloszewski 6-73; Bryce Kamernick 5-45; Ben Lawrence 3-34; Sorenson 1-10.
Ross Kennelly 13 10 3
Jesse Polson 11 8 3
Garrett Hobson 6 2 4
Morgan Johnson 5 5 0
Beau Reder 5 3 2
Andrew Roske 4 2 2
Nate Sanders 4 4 0
Jake Libal 1 1 0
Grant Hanson 1 0 1
Will Stream 2 1 1
Matt Little 2 1 1
Ean Fredricks 1 1 0
Matt Hinaus 1 0 1
Sam Freeman 1 1 0
Alex Dzidonski 2 2 0
Carter Anderson 1 1 0
Total 60 42 18
Eau Claire North
Trent Ashby 6 5 1
Grant Comte 6 4 2
Caleb Hurt 5 4 1
Teagon Zien 4 4 0
Hunter Dahlby 4 3 1
Kurt Petricka 5 4 1
Billy Johnston 2 2 0
Jared Bollinger 1 1 0
Kyle France 1 1 0
Randy Zais 2 2 0
Rob Rigby 1 1 0
Isaac Gibson 1 1 0
Carter Holden 2 2 0
Cal Sauro 1 1 0
Total 42 36 6