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Spartans to face Holmen in Rice Lake

Superior High School’s CJ Fortune (25), Trevor Dalbec (21) and Chase Summerfield (38) stop a Merrill runner during last week’s 38-8 win over the Merrill Bluejays. (Jed Carlson / jcarlson@superiortelegram.com)

The Superior High School football team has been focusing on its run defense this week in preparation for the Holmen Vikings.

The Spartans defense was up the to the task in last week’s 38-14 win over Merrill, holding the Bluejays to 243 yards, including 197 rushing.

“I was very pleased with the way we played defensively against Merrill,” SHS coach Bob DeMeyer said. “To hold a powerful team like that to 14 points was really an awesome effort.

“I credit our defensive coaching staff for the job they did preparing our kids and for the players being coachable and understanding their assignments.”

This week Superior faces a Holmen team had 204 yards — all on the ground — in a 15-14 season-opening win at Chippewa Falls.

“Holmen looks very good on film,” SHS coach Bob DeMeyer said. “To beat a Chippewa team that many are picking to win the Big Rivers Conference title, there’s no question that they’re a good football team.”

Seth Wilson’s two-point conversion with a little more than 2 minutes remaining proved to be the difference in Holmen’s win over Chippewa Falls.

The Cardinals appeared on their way to a win when Matt Pomietlo scored on a 16-yard run early in the fourth quarter to give Chippewa Falls a 14-7 lead.

Wilson then brought the Vikings within one with a 1-yard run and scored on the conversion to give them the lead.

“Holmen is physical and fast,” DeMeyer said. “They have a strength and conditioning program that is outstanding, and it shows in all of their sports. They also have a roster full of multi-sport athletes that certainly believe in the weight room. We know that from talking with their coaching staff over the years, and it is evident again this season as it really jumps out on film.”

After a scoreless first half Evan Spaeth returned the second-half kickoff 78 yards for a touchdown to give Chippewa Falls a 6-0 lead.

Holmen took a 7-6 lead when Wilson scored from 29 yards out with 1:08 left in the third quarter.

Wilson, the son of former Cincinnati Bengals running back Stanley Wilson, led Holmen with 107 yards on 21 carries. Quarterback Connor Duncan, who was 0-for-4 passing with an interception, added 47 yards rushing, and Colton LeClaire had 27.

Wilson also returned three kicks 90 yards and punted the ball five times for 148 yards (29.6 avg.)

“Wilson is one of the top running backs in the state,” DeMeyer said. “He’s very quick, elusive and has the speed to score every time he touches the ball. He’s also their punter and he returns punts and kicks, so he handles the ball a lot.

“Their QB runs the option very well, and they have several halfbacks that are dangerous.   We must be sound in our assignments, secure the tackle and get a lot of Spartans to the football.”

The Spartans had 451 total yards in their win over Merrill, including 300 rushing.

Senior quarterback Gunner Johnson rushed for 100 yards and a touchdown. He also passed for another 151 yards, including an 85-yard touchdown pass to Zach Tharge.

Gunnar Gronski added 64 yards rushing, and Corey Sanders had 47.

“Offensively, it’s imperative that we take care of the football once again,” DeMeyer said. “We also have to know our assignments, play physical and finish each play and each drive with urgency.

“It’s very apparent on film that they have an aggressive defense with speed. Each of our offensive possessions will be critical as they may be limited due to how Holmen potentially will use a lot of the clock on offense.”

Holmen finished 7-3 last season and lost to DeForest 48-6 in the first round of the WIAA playoffs.

“This will take a complete game from everyone on special teams, offense and defense,” DeMeyer said.

For the second year in a row, Superior will play a non-conference game at a neutral site.

 “We both needed second-week games and we both wanted home games, so we decided to play in Rice Lake,” DeMeyer said.

Last year Superior played Menomonee Falls at D.C. Everest High School in Schofield.

SPARTAN SPIN: Wilson rushed for 857 yards and nine touchdowns on just 104 carries as a junior. … The elder Wilson rushed for 1,118 yards and 11 touchdowns for the Bengals from 1983-88. … Superior defeated Holmen 21-0 in the opening round of the 2014 WIAA Division 2 playoffs. ... Tonight's game will be carried live on the web at ifan.tv.

Big Rivers Conference

Superior (1-0)............................................... 0-0

Rice Lake (1-0)........................................... 0-0

Eau Claire Memorial (1-0).............................. 0-0

Hudson (1-0).............................................. 0-0

Chippewa Falls (0-1).................................... 0-0

Menomonie (0-1)......................................... 0-0

River Falls (0-1)........................................... 0-0

Eau Claire North (0-1)................................... 0-0

Thursday, Aug. 18

La Crosse Central 19, E.C. North 12

Greendale 45, Menomonie 40

Hudson 41, Greenfield 27

Friday, Aug. 19

Superior 38, Merrill 14

Holmen 15, Chippewa Falls 14

Eau Claire Mem. 7, La Crosse Logan 6

Rice Lake 40, Medford 26

New Richmond 42, River Falls 14

Friday, Aug. 26

All Games at 7 p.m.

Superior vs. Holmen at Rice Lake

Eau Claire Mem. at La Crosse Central

Eau Claire North at La Crosse Logan

Chippewa Falls at Medford

Somerset at Menomonie

River Falls at Merrill

Rice Lake at New Richmond

Hudson at Arrowhead

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