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BRC PREVIEW: Big Rivers Conference is loaded from top to bottom

Superior High School quarterback Gunner Johnson (19) stiff arms Brendan French (41) in a scrimmage earlier this season. Superior plays at Hudson at 7 p.m. today. (Jed Carlson / jcarlson@superiortelegram.com)

Heading into to the 2015 season Superior High School head coach Bob DeMeyer felt the Big Rivers Conference could very well be one of the best football leagues in Wisconsin.

DeMeyer might not be that far off as after two weeks of non-conference action, five teams in the BRC are 2-0, and the league has a combined record of 11-4.

DeMeyer’s Spartans, along with Rice Lake, Menomonie, Eau Claire North and Chippewa Falls are all 2-0 as the BRC opens league play tonight.

“The Big Rivers is loaded again,” DeMeyer said. “Every team is going to be drastically improved, so every Friday night is going to be a battle.

“Hudson and Menomonie are always very good, Chippewa Falls, Eau Claire North and River Falls are going to be much better, and Eau Claire Memorial is one of the top teams and can battle with anybody. We saw them at the UMD team camp and they’re going to be fighting for one of the top spots.”

Menomonie coach Joe LaBuda agrees with DeMeyer.

“In my 27 years, I’ve never seen it so good,” LaBuda said. “It may be the best in the state.”

Superior won its first BRC title last season and is 36-48 since joining the league in 2002.

Since 1989, Menomonie has won 18 championships, including seven straight from 2000 to 2006.

Superior snapped Hudson’s run of two straight league titles in 2012 and 2013.

“Year in and year out Hudson’s one of the favorites in our conference,” DeMeyer said. “They’re up there with anybody in the state, as is Menomonie and Rice Lake at their level.

“As for Menomonie, they have a great quarterback in Nate Stanley, who is going to Iowa. He’s a big, strong physical kid that college programs are looking for.”

Superior opens conference play at 7 p.m. today at Hudson. The Raiders are 0-1, but that loss was to state powerhouse Arrowhead, 35-27.

The Spartans’ first home game is against Chippewa Falls on Sept. 11. They also host Menomonie on Sept. 18.

Superior snapped a four-game losing streak to Hudson with a 35-28 win last year at home. The Raiders entered the game ranked No. 3 in the state and with 19 straight wins in the BRC.

Superior opened the season with a 50-20 win at Merrill. Last week they overcame a 20-7 halftime deficit to win 37-20 over Menomonee Falls at D.C. Everest in Schofield.

Junior Gunner Johnson is 8-of-21 passing for 183 yards and three touchdowns thus far for Superior.

Ross Kennelly leads the way in rushing with 182 yards and three touchdowns. He also leads on defense with 21 tackles, and two recovered fumbles, one of which he returned for a touchdown.

Mitch Anderson has 130 yards rushing, three catches for 95 yards and three TDs.

SPARTAN SPIN: All SHS games will be carried live on the web at ifan.tv. … Harry Doane is second with 11 tackles, followed by Josiah McDonald with 10 tackles.

Hudson

Trailing 27-21 after three quarters, Arrowhead scored 14 fourth-quarter points to defeat the Raiders last week in Hudson.

Hudson gained 245 yards, including 141 rushing.

Raider quarterback Alex Richards was 7-of-14 passing for 77 yards. He also rushed for 52 yards on 12 carries. Dayton Diemel added 49 yards on 11 carries and six different receivers caught passes.

Diemel rushed for more than 1,000 yards and scored 15 touchdowns last season.

Leading the Raiders on defense are linebacker Vander Motu and defensive back Jon Krier.

Superior snapped a four-game losing streak to Hudson with a 35-28 win last year at home. The Raiders entered the game ranked No. 3 in the state and with 19 straight wins in the BRC.

Hudson’s other regular-season loss last year was 56-54 to Rice Lake.

In the playoffs, Hudson defeated Green Bay Preble 27-3, then lost to Appleton North 21-3.

Chippewa Falls

The Cardinals have Justin Czech back at quarterback, as well as a dozen more starters.

Czech (6-foot-4, 220 pounds) threw for 960 yards and four touchdowns last season. His main targets this year are Marcus Crumbaker, Evan Spaeth, Nick Vadnais, Bronson Roshell, Jordan Stoll and Tyler Zwiefelhofer.

The combination of Aaron Knez, Kole Mewhorter, Kyle Bowe and Isaac Solberg rushed for nearly 900 yards last year.

In their wins over Holmen (28-7) and Medford (42-13), Czech is 9-of-19 passing for 254 yards and three touchdowns. Spaeth had five catches for 157 yards and two touchdowns, and Mewhorter has three catches for 88 yards and one score.

Knez leads the Cardinals on the ground with 182 yards and five TDs, and Mewhorter had 144 yards and one TD.

Mewhorter also plays linebacker and was an all-conference punter last season.

Former UW-Superior Yellowjacket Chuck Raykovich begins his 30th season at Chippewa Falls with a record of 159-112.

The Spartans host the Cardinals on Sept. 11.

Menomonie

The Mustangs feature Division I recruits in quarterback Nate Stanley (Iowa) and running back/linebacker Mason Stokke (Wisconsin).

The Mustangs opened the season with impressive wins over Greendale, 34-28, and Somerset, the defending Division 4 state champions, 44-21.

Greendale was 25-2 the past two seasons and was ranked No. 1 in Division 2 last season before falling in the state quarterfinals.

So far this season Stanley (6-2, 212 pounds) has completed 12-of-23 passes for 282 yards and four touchdowns, and Stokke has rushed for 384 yards and six touchdowns.

Stanley, who has thrown for more than 2,000 yards and 21 touchdowns, missed more than half of last season with a broken hand.

Stokke (6-3, 211 pounds) rushed for 218 yards and three touchdowns against Greendale, despite sitting out most of the first half with an injury.

The Spartans defeated Menomonie for the first time in school history last season 35-34.

Menomonie, which was 5-5 overall and 4-3 in the BRC last season, is ranked seventh in the state in the latest Associated Press poll.

Labuda has a record of 267-49 in 27 years at Menomonie.

The Spartans host the Mustangs on Sept. 18.

River Falls

The Wildcats, who are off to rough start this season, have 24 seniors, including six starters on offense and four on defense.

Nate Glaubitz, a transfer from New Ulm, Minn., is the quarterback, and Adrian Paurus is a three-year starter at running back.

River Falls is off to an 0-2 start with losses to new Richmond (35-14) and Merrill (35-0).

Glaubitz is 23-of-56 passing for 208 yards and two touchdowns. Matthew Wachtler has caught eight of those passes for 88 yards and a score. Mason Graetz also had six catches for 52 yards.

Conrad Daggett and Paurus have rushed for 85 and 67 yards, respectively.

Superior plays at River Falls on Sept. 25.

Rice Lake

The Warriors have rolled over their first two opponents this season, 49-6 over Medford and 73-32 over New Richmond.

The Warriors were only 4-3 in the BRC last year (10-4 overall) but advanced to the Division 3 state championship game before losing to Wisconsin Lutheran 42-18.

Rice Lake is led by running backs Isaiah Secrest and former Superior Spartan Alain Pierre.

Secrest rushed for 1,519 yards last year for an average of 9.8 yards per carry.

Steve Scheurer has taken over at QB and has completed 13-of-20 passes for 234 yards and two touchdowns.

Secrest, who is averaging 19.5 yards a carry, has rushed for 370 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries.

Pierre is averaging 7.2 yards a carry with 116 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries.

Rice Lake also has 89 yards rushing from Alex Webber, 73 from Dylan Roberts and 59 from John Kohler.

Lucas Postlewaite and Billy Brown both have four catches for 103 and 74 yards, respectively.

Rice Lake scored more than 40 points in eight games last year.

Parker Buckley leads Rice Lake on defense with 17 tackles. Vince DeSerto has 13 tackles, a sack and forced fumble, and Cole Sommerfeld had nine tackles and a sack.

Leading Rice Lake on defense is linebacker Parker Buckely, who was third in the state last season with 202 tackles.

Superior plays at Rice Lake on Oct. 2.

Eau Claire North

The Huskies are 2-0 and averaging 50 points per game, recording a 47-20 win over La Crosse Central and a 53-43 win over La Crosse Logan.

Through two games, quarterback Adam LaRock has completed 25-of-30 passes for 526 yards and seven touchdowns and Nick Greenlund has rushed for 353 yards and five touchdowns.

LaRock, a three-year starter and Iowa baseball recruit, passed for 1,296 yards and 16 touchdowns last year. For his career, he has 2,581 yards passing and 27 touchdowns, a school record.

Greenlund rushed for 420 yards and five TDs last year, while Max DeGrasse (20 catches, 417 yards and four TDs) and Lukas Lanners (16-179-3) are LaRock’s main targets.

In North’s two wins this year, Lanners had 10 catches for 326 yards and six touchdowns.

The Spartans host ECN on Oct. 9.

Eau Claire Memorial

The Old Abes have the challenge of replacing quarterback Ben Everhart, who ran and passed for 5,628 yards and 58 touchdowns as a three-year starter.

Darian Dieckman takes over at QB and in ECM’s first two games has completed 11-of-23 passes for 218 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions.

Jake Ness had 181 yards rushing and two touchdowns, and Sean Faacks had 148 yards and three TDs.

The Olds Abes lost to La Crosse Logan 17-14 at beat La Crosse Central 47-13.

Memorial lost 23 seniors from last year’s team that went 4-3 in the BRC and 5-5 overall. The Old Abes lost to Appleton North 44-14 in the first round of the playoffs.

Superior’s final game is at ECM Oct. 16.

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