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Spartans drop third straight (updated)

Superior High School’s Gabe Sexton (59), Sam Oosten (70), Trevor Dalbec (21) and Corey Sanders (28) knock the ball loose from Chippewa Falls’ Nathan Custer (20) before Chase Summerfield (not pictured) recovered the fumble in the first quarter of the Spartans’ 10-7 loss Friday night at the NBC Spartan Sports Complex. (Jed Carlson / jcarlson@superiortelegram.com)1 / 7
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The Superior High School football team suffered its third straight loss with a 10-7 defeat at the hands of Chippewa Falls on a damp Friday night at the NBC Spartan Sports Complex.

After piling up 82 points in their first two games of the season, both wins, the Spartans have scored 34 points during the three losses, including just 14 in the last two games, to fall to 2-3 overall and 0-3 in the Big Rivers Conference.

While its offense has sputtered, Superior’s defense has played well of late allowing just 13 points a game during the three-game skid.

“I’m very proud of our defense, again,” SHS coach Bob DeMeyer said. “The effort they gave was great. They’re bringing the physicality we need and they executed the game plan that was put together by our defensive staff. We just have to find a way to put more points on the board and limit our mental errors and turnovers.”

Some of the mistakes DeMeyer was referring to were four turnovers (two interceptions, two fumbles, and nine penalties, which included two unsportsmanlike conduct calls.

“They had a great game plan and executed it well,” DeMeyer said. “We just shot ourselves in the foot too many times. Too many miscues, penalties and turnovers, you can do that against any team on our schedule, especially teams in the Big Rivers.

“We should have learned our lesson from the previous week. You cannot retaliate; you have to keep your cool. We can’t keep putting ourselves in those situations. That’s a coaching thing, we need to fix it and we will.”

In an attempt to give the offense a spark, DeMeyer inserted sophomore Jarrett Gronski at quarterback in place of senior Spencer Udeen.

“Spencer’s fine, he’s done nothing to lose the starting job,” DeMeyer said. “But we had to go with a bigger, more physical kid with the game plan we had. If we eliminate those mistakes, mental errors and miscues, it’s a different ballgame.”

Despite the change, the Spartans were limited to 168 yards.

Senior Gunner Gronski, Jarrett’s brother, rushed for 77 yards on 21 carries, while Jarrett added 18 yards rushing and was 3-of-10 passing for 33 yards.

Matthew Pomietlo led the Cardinals with 91 yards rushing on 19 yards. Codie Meinen added 38 yards and Nolan Hutzler was 4-of-10 passing for 46 yards.

One of Hutzler’s completions was a 12-yard touchdown pass to JD Czech with 24 seconds left in the second quarter.

Chippewa Falls’ other points came on Nathan Custer’s 29-yard field goal on the first drive of the second half.

The Spartans’ points came J. Gronski’s 10-yard TD run up the middle at the end of a 13-play, 68-yard drive. Dominic D’Auria’s extra point came with six minutes remaining.

That gave the Spartans life and they forced another punt. But after moving the into Chippewa Falls territory, Meinen intercepted a pass and returned it 43 yards to the 13-yard line.

The Spartans’ defense again stopped the Cardinals on fourth down, but there only 38 seconds remaining with the ball at the 5.

“What a great game for us, but nothing came easy,” Chippewa Falls coach Chuck Raykovich said. “We had to work for everything we got because Superior is a very good football team. They’re well coached, they have great players and great fan support.

“We have a really young team, only two seniors on offense and four on defense and it’s been great watching them grow every week.”

Thanks to a light mist that started falling just before kickoff, both teams had trouble hanging on to a slippery ball early in the game, which led to at least four fumbles and a botched snap on a punt in the first quarter alone.

The Cardinals’ first four drives included two lost fumbles and two punts.

Cayden Laurvick and Chase Summerfield recovered the fumbles that gave Superior excellent field position (at Chippewa Falls’ 40 and 17, respectively), but the Spartans were stopped both times on fourth down, at the 31 and 13, respectively.

The Spartans’ remaining three drives in the opening half ended with a punt, a lost fumble and an interception by Lakota Miller.

Miller’s interception was followed with a 71-yard, 13-play drive that set up Hutzler’s 12-yard touchdown pass to Czech with 24 seconds remaining in the half.

The Cardinals’ offense continued to roll on the opening drive of the second half and a 65-yard, 19-play drive ended with Custer’s 29-yard field goal and a 10-0 Chippewa Falls lead. The drive included the Cardinals converting on fourth down three times.

On the first play of their next drive, the Spartans lost their second fumble of the game, which was recovered by Chippewa Falls’ Tristan Hable at Superior’s 27.

Superior’s defense held Chippewa Falls to just 2 yards and stopped the Cardinals on fourt down with 52 seconds left in the third quarter.

The Spartans need to win their remaining four games to automatically qualify for the playoffs.

It all starts Friday when Superior hosts Menomonie. The Mustangs are 5-0 overall and 3-0 in the BRC and are coming off a 36-24 win over Hudson, a team that defeated Superior 7-0 on Sept. 8.

“We have to win out, our backs are against the wall,” DeMeyer said. “Menomonie is as good as they’ve ever been, but our team goals are still ahead of us, but we have to fight like crazy now.”

SPARTAN SPIN: Summerfield’s fumble recovery came when Chippewa Falls snapped the ball over the punters head. … The annual DECA Tailgate Party raised $2,118.13, which will be donated to Colon Cancer Coalition of the Twin Cities in memory of Janelle Cannon Langdon, who fought colon cancer for more than seven years before passing away last December. … Chippewa Falls leads the all-time series with Superior 18-15, including 16-10 since 1973. … Superior won the first ever meeting with Chippewa Falls 67-0 on Nov. 1, 1906. … Chippewa Falls defeated UW-Superior 7-0 in 1912. UWS’s schedule that year also included games against New Richmond, Virginia and Superior Central high schools.

Chippewa Falls........... 0       7      3     0   —   10

Superior..................... 0       0      0     7   —    7

Second Quarter

CF – JD Czech 12-yard pass from Nolan Hutzler (Nathan Custer kick), :24.

Third Quarter

CF – Custer 29-yard kick, 2:48.

Fourth Quarter

SHS – Jarrett Gronski 10-yard run (Dominic D’Auria kick), 6:00.

TEAM STATISTICS

                                              CF              SHS

Total Plays.......................... 60               52

Total Yards......................... 189             168

Passing Yards..................... 46               38

Rushing............................ 47-143        39-130

First Downs.......................... 15               18

Turnovers.............................. 2                 4

Fumbles Lost ....................... 2                 2

Penalties............................ 9-56            8-66

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING — CF, Matthew Pomietlo, 19-91; Codie Meinen, 16-38; Logan Kurtenbach, 8-37; Nolan Hutzler, 4-13; Tyler Bohland, 2-3. SHS, Gunnar Gronski, 21-77; Jarrett Gronski, 12-18; Corey Sanders, 8-6; Conner Fonger, 1-3.

PASSING — CF, Hutzler, 4-10-0-46. SHS, J. Gronski, 3-10-2-33.

RECEIVING — CF, JD Czech, 3-32; Jared Woodhull, 1-14. SHS, Fonger, 1-24; Elijah Owens, 1-8; Gunnar Gronski, 1-6.

DEFENSE

Superior

                                                  TKL           Ast

Trevor Dalbec............................ 5              9

Drake Samarzia......................... 5              3

Chase Summerfield................... 3              8

Gabriel Sexton........................... 3              4

Devin Samarzia......................... 3              5

Gunnar Gronski.......................... 2              5

Cayden Laurvick....................... 2              0

Logan Stone.............................. 2              1

Joe Carter.................................. 2              0

Corey Sanders........................... 1              3

Dylan Lowney............................ 1              2

Sam Oosten............................... 0              3

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