Spartans playing for possible home playoff game
Despite not having any chance to win its second straight Big Rivers Conference football championship, the Superior High School Spartans still have plenty to play for tonight when they play at Eau Claire Memorial.
The biggest prize awaiting the Spartans would be a home playoff game when the WIAA tournament opens next week.
Before thinking about the playoffs, the Spartans have set their focus on the Old Abes, whom they play at 7 p.m. today at Carson Park in Eau Claire.
“We want to close out the conference season as strong as we can,” SHS coach Bob DeMeyer said. “We know that our record going into the seeding meeting is a big deal. The higher we finish in the conference the better the chance of a getting a home playoff game.
“But, Memorial is really on a roll right now. They’re peaking at the end of the season and we know we’ll have our hands full.”
The Spartans, who take records of 6-2 overall and 4-2 in the BRC with them to Eau Claire, clinched a playoff berth last week with a 54-9 win over Eau Claire North.
While Superior is playing for a home playoff game, the Old Abes (4-4, 3-3) still need a win to qualify for the postseason.
ECM is coming off a 27-21 loss to Rice Lake. The Olds Abes led 7-0 after one quarter, tied the game at 14 and 21 in the second half before the Warriors sealed the victory with Dylan Roberts’ 13-yard touchdown run with 7:45 remaining.
ECM quarterback Darian Dieckman, who is third in the BRC with 969 yards passing yards, was 11-of-16 for 102 yards.
Jason Watson, second in the BRC with 404 receiving yards, caught four passes for 40 yards.
The Old Abes rushed for 222 yards, led by Jake Ness, who had 105 yards and one touchdown on 19 carries.
Sean Fraacks also rushed for 92 yards and a touchdown.
Watson has 22 catches and five touchdowns on the season.
Overall Dieckman is 67-of-188 with six touchdowns and four interceptions. He also has six rushing touchdowns.
Fraacks and Ness have both rushed for 143 yards. Fraacks, who has 11 rushing touchdowns, has also caught 22 passes for 178 yards.
Ness has rushed for seven touchdowns.
Superior quarterback Gunner Johnson has completed 31-of-87 passes for 505 yards. He also had four touchdown passes and four interceptions.
Ross Kennelly leads Superior on the ground with 789 yards and 11 touchdowns on 129 carries.
Beau Girard is next with 429 yards and six touchdowns and Mitch Anderson has 293 yards and two touchdowns.
Brendan French has a team-high nine catches for 112 yards; Anderson has eight catches for 175 yards and two TDs; Brett Lozon and Girard both have seven catches for 138 and 117 yards, respectively.
Kennelly, who had 104 of Superior’s 280 yards rushing last week against ECN, credits the offensive line of Keegan Stanley, Dalton DeRosia, Blake Graskey, Oscar Flaherty, Sam Oosten for the Spartans’ success.
“The guys up front got a push and gave me the room I needed,” Kennelly said. “If it wasn’t for them, I don’t know what we would do. They had a great week of practice and did a great job in the game.”
The Spartans also took advantage of six turnovers, including three interceptions.
“Every day in practice we emphasis taking advantage of turnovers and field position,” Kennelly said. “With turnovers you get good field position and always seemed to have a short field last week against North.”
SPARTAN SPIN: Superior defeated ECM 52-36 at home last year. …. Superior also defeated the Old Abes in 2013, but lost to them 14-0 in 2012. … Rice Lake can wrap up its first BRC title since 2000 with a win over Chippewa Falls tonight. If the Cardinals win they will share the title.