There’s no place like home for SHS football team
Even though homecoming isn’t officially until next week at Superior High School, the Spartan football team might start celebrating a bit early.
After opening the season with three straight road games, the Spartans finally get to play at the NBC Spartan Sports Complex today when they host Chippewa Falls at 7 p.m.
Superior was 7-0 on its new field last season and has won 14 of its last 15 home games. The last time the Spartans lost at home was 35-12 to Menomonie on Oct. 11, 2013 and that game was played at Ole Haugsrud Field.
Superior is 3-0 this season with wins over Merrill (50-20), Menomonee Falls (37-20) and Hudson (10-7).
“The team is excited to finally play at home,” SHS coach Bob DeMeyer said. “To be very honest though, they have not complained one time about being on the road for three weeks straight and their attitude and approach to each game has been great.
“I believe that makes this first home game even more special. The team has earned to be 3-0 at this point, especially after rallying to beat Menomonee Falls and winning a tough league game against a very good Hudson team.”
Chippewa Falls also enters tonight’s game at 3-0 with wins over Holmen (28-7), Medford (42-13), and Eau Claire Memorial (42-33).
“Chippewa Falls is loaded, especially on offense,” DeMeyer said. “They’re very big up front, their backs are explosive and their QB is a good runner and thrower.
“They’ll give us many different things to defend, most concerning is their ability to spread things out and throw — it’ll be a great test for us.”
While quarterback Justin Czech is 11-of-27 passing for 322 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions, the Cardinals gain most of their yards on the ground and have three rushers with more than 100 yards.
Aaron Knez leads the way with 369 yards rushing and seven touchdowns. Kole Mewhorter is next with 264 yards and three TDs and Kyle Bowe has 105 yards and two TDs.
Evan Spaeth has six receptions for 213 yards and three TDs, and Mewhorter also has four catches for 100 yards and one TD.
Czech (6-foot-4, 220 pounds) was 0-for-5 passing against Holmen, but was much better against Medford, going 9-of-14 with 254 yards.
In Chippewa Falls’ win over ECM, Czech was just 2-of-8 passing for 68 yards, but the Cardinals dominated on the ground with 394 yards rushing, led by 187 by Knez and 120 by Mewhorter.
The Cardinals are also strong on defense, led by Mewhorter at linebacker.
“Defensively, they’re very solid, returning a handful of players that saw extensive varsity action last year,” DeMeyer said. “The same can be said of their special teams. Coach Rayko (Chuck Rakovich) always has his teams ready to play. Even seasons where they don’t finish with a strong record, they are always one of our toughest games.
“This season, many are picking them to finish at, or near the top, of the BRC. They certainly have the team to do that.”
Mitch Anderson leads Superior with 336 total yards on offense. The senior has rushed for 191 yards, has caught five passes for another 145 yards and has three touchdowns.
Ross Kennelly leads the Spartans on the ground with 249 yards and three TDs.
Beau Girard also has 96 yards rushing and 67 more receiving. He also returned a punt 56 yards for a touchdown in the win over Merrill.
Junior quarterback Gunner Johnson has completed 14-of-36 passes for 281 yards. He also had four TD passes and two interceptions.
Defensively, Kennelly leads the team with 31 tackles, including three tackles for losses and two fumble recoveries.
Also for the Spartans, Harrison Doane has 20 tackles with a sack; Joey Miller has 16 tackles with a tackle for loss; and Garrett Hobson and Josiah McDonald have 15 and 13 tackles, respectively.
“To come away with victories against quality opponents has been fantastic,” DeMeyer said. “We started slow against Menomonee Falls and had a great second half, and the Hudson game was a defensive battle where both teams made costly mistakes. Fortunately, we were able to dig in and hang on to win — I credit our kids for showing that kind of perseverance.
“It will be important to start fast, minimize the mental mistakes and play all four quarters tonight.
Chippewa is on a roll, motivated to win another conference game and get one step closer to the playoffs. But so are we. It’ll be a great high school football game.”
Superior has a three-game winning streak over Chippewa Falls. The Cardinals’ last win was 47-6 in 2011. Since then, Superior has outscored Chippewa Falls, 107-56.
SPARTAN SPIN: Superior kicker Sam Kline is 10-of-11 on extra points and 3-of-3 on field-goal attempts. … Punter Beau Reder is averaging 39.1 yards on 12 punts (469 yards). … Raykovich, who played football at UW-Superior, has a record of 162-112 in 30 seasons at Chippewa Falls. … Superior has outscored its opponents 40-14 in the fourth quarter.
The SHS DECA organization will hold its 29th annual Spartan Charity Tailgate Party prior to tonight’s game. Money raised from the event will be donated to the Douglas County Veterans Services, which helps out local vets with housing assistance, education/retraining, and loans.
The cost is $3 and if you arrive prior to 6 p.m. your game admission is included in the price.
Hot dogs and soda/water will be provided to all those that attend.
Other activities include a rock climbing wall, jousting pit, giant inflatable football game and face painting.