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Spartans return to win column

Friday, Sept. 24, 2004.

That was the last time the Superior High School football team won a football game at home.

That all changed Thursday night when the Spartans pulled off a 28-21 win over the Duluth East Greyhounds before a raucous Ole Haugsrud Field crowd.

"Wow, that was a tremendous game and was a lot of fun," SHS coach Bob DeMeyer said. "It was fun to see the Columbia blue on the winning side again and see the smiles on the kid's faces after the game. Then to hear them sing the school song, that's fun stuff."

Since the homecoming victory over the River Falls Wildcats, the Spartans won two more games during the 2004 season, but have lost 10 straight games since, including finishing 0-9 last season.

"We haven't won very many games around here the past couple of years so this feels pretty good," SHS senior Sean Graskey said.

Superior had two touchdown runs each from junior Matt Johnson and sophomore Chris Blake, and sophomore John LeDoux kicked four extra points to help the Spartans improve to 1-1.

Not only did the Spartans get 61 yards rushing from Blake and 55 more from Johnson, but Addison Griffin did his part, accounting for 227 total yards. The senior had 77 yards rushing on four carries, 71 yards on two kickoff returns and a 79-yard punt return.

"The line played a great game," Griffin said. "They kept their blocks up and gave us holes to go through."

DeMeyer was also impressed with Griffin.

"The wheels are already turning on how to get him the ball a little bit more," DeMeyer said.

The Spartans led 7-0 on Johnson's 4-yard TD run with 19.7 seconds left in the first quarter, but East owned the second quarter, scoring all three of their touchdowns.

East quarterback Matt Kilpo scored on a pair of 2-yard runs and Mike Castle kicked both extra points to give East a 14-7 lead with 5:21 remaining in the half.

After each team was stopped on fourth-down plays, Superior tied it up when Blake went up the middle untouched for 25 yards with 16.5 seconds showing.

But East regained a 21-14 lead as Kilpo connected with Kelly Katoski on a 57-yard scoring pass as time expired in the half.

"Kelly made a great athletic play and I felt pretty good about our chances when we got the momentum back," East coach Joe Hietala said. "Then Superior turned the ball over right away in the second half, but we gave it right back on the next play. That's kind of the way the night went.

"You have to give Superior a lot of credit, they came ready to play and were fired up. When a team hasn't had a lot of success in a while, like Superior, they're looking for good things to happen and we kept giving them sparks."

Superior received the second-half kick off, but Sean Graskey fumbled on the first play from scrimmage.

East's Keegan Flaherty gained 17 yards on the next play, but then fumbled and Superior's Brian Pierpont recovered the ball on the 22-yard line.

"We'd do some nice things and give them the ball back, then do some more nice things and give them the ball back again," Hietala said. "We're a young team and we'll learn from this and we'll get better."

After each team failed to move the ball and punted, Superior got excellent field position when Griffin returned a punt 70 yards to the East 11.

One play later Johnson busted over the right side to tie the game at 21-21 with 7:35 left in the third quarter.

"The return set up the TD, but again it comes down the blocking," Griffin said. "The wedge was set up great and we had the sideline. The special teams had a good week."

Superior's defense then came up big on East's final four possessions of the game.

After the Spartans stopped East on fourth down at the Superior 23 with 3:43 left in the third quarter, Pierpont picked off a pass after Ryan Gapske batted the ball in the air, Derrick Danielson recovered a fumble with 3:30 left in the fourth quarter and Cole Lundgren landed on another fumble to set up the winning drive with 1:13 remaining.

Griffin busted loose for a 20-yard gain on the first play and Graskey took the ball from quarterback Joe Reichert and found Mike VanMassenhove alone down the right sideline for another 36 yards for first-and-goal at the 8.

"We worked on that play all week and it worked to perfection," Graskey said.

Blake then scored the winning touchdown and LeDoux make the kick with 25.9 seconds on the clock.

After an incomplete pass and a penalty for an illegal man down field, the game ended when Graskey picked off a Kilpo pass.

"Sean needed a little pick up," DeMeyer said. "He fumbled a couple of times and got down on himself. But he's a playmaker and he came through for us, with the beautiful pass and then the interception."

The Spartans open Big Rivers Conference play next Friday at Menomonie.

The Indians are 2-0, defeating Mukwonago 42-6 and Hopkins, Minn., 44-13.

"If feels good, I hope we keep doing it and keep it up," Griffin said. "We need to go to practice Monday and come back harder and have more fire. We have Menomonie coming up -- it should be fun."

SPARTAN SPIN: Superior lost Johnson to an injury with 10:01 remaining in the game. "It was in his neck area, but he had feeling and everything and it was just a precautionary thing," DeMeyer said. "He's OK." ... East is at Thief River Falls next week. ... Superior recovered three fumbles, two by Cole Lundgren and one each by Derrick Danielson and John Posio.

Superior 28, Duluth East 21

Duluth East 0 21 0 0 -- 21

Superior 7 7 7 7 -- 28

First Quarter

S--Matt Johnson, 4-yard run (John LeDoux), 0:19.

Second Quarter

DE--Matt Kilpo, 2-yard run (Mike Castle kick), 10:08.

DE--Kilpo, 2-yard run (Castle kick), 5:21.

S--Chris Blake, 41-yard run LeDoux), 0:16.

DE--Kilpo 57-yard pass to Kelly Katoski (Castle kick), 0:10.

Third Quarter

S--Johnson, Matt 11 yard run (LeDoux kick), 7:35.

Fourth Quarter

S--Blake 8-yard run (LeDoux kick), 0:25, 28-21.

------

DE S

First downs 14 10

Rushing yardage 228 230

Pass completions-att. 7-16 2-6

Passing yardage 89 51

Pass touchdowns-int. 1-3 0-0

Total plays 59 44

Total offense 317 281

Fumbles-lost 3-3 3-2

Penalties-yards 4-35 9-65

Defensive sacks-yards lost 1-6 1-8

Time of possession 24:58 23:02

3rd down efficiency 3 for 10 0 for 9

Rushing

Duluth East

Att Yds Avg Lng TD

Keegan Flaherty 14 95 6.8 38 0

Josh Tompkins 10 80 8.0 45 0

Matt Kilpo 11 24 2.2 9 2

Dan Homstad 5 18 3.6 11 0

Dan Shefchik 3 11 3.7 6 0

Total 43 228 5.3 45 2

Superior

Addison Griffin 4 77 19.3 54 0

Chris Blake 4 61 15.3 41 2

Matt Johnson 9 55 6.1 15 2

Joe Reichert 11 22 2.0 9 0

Cole Lundgren 7 18 2.6 4 0

Sean Graskey 3 -3 -1.0 0 0

Total 38 230 6.1 54 4

Passing

Duluth East

Cmp Att Yds TD Int

Kilpo 7 15 89 1 2

Flaherty 0 1 0 0 1

Total 7 16 89 1 3

Superior

Graskey 1 1 36 0 0

Reichert 1 5 15 0 0

Total 2 6 51 0 0

Receiving

Duluth East

Rec Yds Avg Lng TD

Flaherty 4 24 6.0 10 0

Kelly Katoski 3 65 21.7 57 1

Total 7 89 12.7 57 1

Receiving

Superior

Mike VanMassenhove 2 51 25.5 36 0

Superior's Defense

Tkl Ast Sac TFL Int

Max Phillips 14 9 0.5 1.5 0

Cole Lundgren 8 5 0.5 0.5 0

Blake 8 3 0.0 0.0 0

Johnson 7 2 0.0 0.0 0

Sean Graskey 6 5 0.0 0.0 1

Ryan Gapske 6 5 0.0 0.0 0

VanMassenhove 5 2 0.0 0.0 1

Brian Pierpont 5 3 0.0 1.0 1

Jake Bratek 4 2 0.0 1.0 0

Derrick Danielson 3 2 0.0 1.0 0

Drew Tarnowski 3 2 0.0 0.0 0

Will Stack 1 1 0.0 0.0 0

Dan Tracy 1 1 0.0 0.0 0

Jake Regner 1 0 0.0 0.0 0

Total 73 42 1.0 6.0 3

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