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Packers’ Rodgers breaks collarbone, may be out for season

Spartans host the Mustangs

Most teams like to schedule an easy opponent for their annual homecoming game.

That sure wasn’t the case for the Superior High School football team which hosts the powerful Menomonie Mustangs at 7 p.m. today at the NBC Spartan Sports Complex.

The Mustangs were picked by many to run away with the Big Rivers Conference and early on this season they haven’t disappointed their supporters.

Menomonie is off to a 4-0 start, ranked No. 1 in the state and has outscored their opponents 169-63.

The Mustangs are coming off an impressive 48-14 win over the Hudson Raiders, a team Superior defeated 10-7 a week earlier.

“Against Hudson they scored every offensive possession, didn’t throw and incompletion and rushed for a ton of yards (341),” SHS coach Bob DeMeyer said. “Defensively, they also shut down Hudson’s offense and they have very strong special teams.”

Menomonie, which also owns win over Greendale (34-28), Somerset (44-21) and Eau Claire North (43-0), had 487 total yards against Hudson, including 341 rushing.

“Realizing how good they are, our team is still very confident that we can compete and put ourselves in a position to win,” DeMeyer said. “We have to eliminate the penalties and mental mistakes, and take care of the football. We have some pretty special athletes on our team, too.”

In last week’s 39-7 loss to Chippewa Falls, the Spartans had six turnovers, including four fumbles.

“We’ve worked very hard this week to refocus and get back to the fundamentals,” DeMeyer said. “Ball security has been the highest priority.”

Menomonie is led by quarterback Nate Stanley and linebacker/running back Mason Stokke.

Stanley, who will play for Iowa next season, has completed 24-of-42 passes for 582 yards and six touchdowns. He is also second in rushing with 59 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries.

Stokke, a future Wisconsin Badger, has rushed for 685 yards and 14 touchdowns. He also had one reception for 21 yards. He rushed for 175 yards and five touchdowns last week against Hudson.

“Menomonie has one of its best teams in recent history, they’re ranked No. 1 in the state for a reason,” DeMeyer said. “They have a couple of D-1 players, but they’re only two of the many good players they have — they really have no weakness.”

Superior will be without starting linebacker and backup quarterback Beau Reder, who suffered a leg injury in last week’s loss to Chippewa Falls.

“Beau is likely out for the remainder of our season,” DeMeyer said. “He had surgery to repair a fractured fibula and some tendon issues. The doctors are very confident that the surgery will help expedite the healing process and it will be better for the long haul. He should be ready for the hockey season.”

Reder took over for junior Gunner Johnson and threw a long touchdown pass that was called back because of a penalty. He then completed passes of 17, 13 and 12 yards before getting hurt while running the ball.

“It will be very difficult to fill Beau’s shoes,” DeMeyer said. “He did so much for our team.  He’s a captain, a three-year starter at linebacker and punter, and gave us another dimension as a quarterback. Often times when teams lose key players, the rest of the team raises their level of play and those filling in rise to the occasion. I believe we have that kind of team and the younger players will do just that.

“What is truly heart-breaking is knowing how much being a Spartan means to Beau, how hard he has worked and the sacrifices he’s made over the years. He was playing at a very high level and leading his team in many ways. To have his season end so abruptly is very unfortunate. He’ll come back stronger and his football career is far from over, as he has several schools interested in his playing abilities.”

Johnson, who has completed 21-of-51 passes for 350 yards and four touchdowns, will start again with Luke Drougas as his backup.

“Gunner is our guy and we are very confident in his ability to run our offense,” DeMeyer said. “Luke is really progressing as a quarterback and we have two seniors that are getting reps to create depth there.”

Ross Kennelly leads the Spartans with 282 yards and four touchdowns on offense and 45 tackles on defense.

Prior to the Chippewa Falls game, Mitch Anderson had 191 yards rushing, five receptions for 145 yards and three touchdowns, two through the air and one on the ground.

Brett Lozon (60 yards) and Brendan French (51 yards) also had five catches apiece and Beau Girard had four catches for 67 yards.

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

SPARTAN SPIN: Superior won its first BRC title last season and is 37-49 since joining the league in 2002. … Since 1989, Menomonie has won 18 championships, including seven straight from 2000 to 2006. … Hudson won two straight league titles in 2012 and 2013. … Menomonie coach Joe LaBuda has a record of 267-49 in 27 years at Menomonie. … Superior opened the season with wins over Merrill (50-20), Menomonee Falls (37-20) and Hudson (10-7).

Big Rivers Conference

2015 Football Standings

Menomonie (4-0).......................................... 2-0

Rice Lake (4-0)............................................ 2-0

Chippewa Falls (4-0).................................... 2-0

Superior (3-1)................................................ 1-1

Eau Claire Memorial (2-2)............................... 1-1

Hudson (0-3).............................................. 0-2

Eau Claire North (2-2)................................... 0-2

River Falls (0-4)........................................... 0-2

Friday, Sept. 11

Eau Claire Memorial 39, River Falls 21

Menomonie 48, Hudson 10

Rice Lake 75, Eau Claire North 43

Chippewa Falls 39, Superior 7

Friday, Sept. 18

All Games 7 p.m.

Eau Claire Memorial at Eau Claire North,

Rice Lake at Hudson

Chippewa Falls at River Falls

Menomonie at Superior

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