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Spartans hold off Holmen Vikings

Superior's Max Plunkett (12) knocks the ball loose from Holmen quarterback Connor Duncan (10) in the first half of the Spartans game in Rice Lake on Friday evening. (Jed Carlson/jcarlson@superiortelegram.com) 1 / 11
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The Superior High School football team held on for a 35-30 win over the Holmen Vikings Friday night at Pug Lund Field in Rice Lake.

The Spartans took what seemed like a comfortable 35-12 lead on Gunner Johnson’s 13-yard touchdown run with 1:44 left in the third quarter.

But things got interesting in the fourth quarter when Holmen’s Seth Wilson scored from 4 yards out and the Vikings recovered back-to-back onside kicks, which led to Seth Holden’s 6-yard TD run with 8:01 remaining and Wilson’s 1-yard touchdown four minutes later.

Superior finally recovered a kickoff but the Spartans weren’t out of the woods yet.

Superior was able to eat up almost three minutes off the clock while moving the ball to the Holmen 1-yard line, but an illegal procedure call moved the ball back to the 6, and two plays later Holmen’s Tanner Schultz recovered a fumble on the 10 with 2:16 left.

The Spartan defense rose to the occasion, limiting Holmen just 14 yards, and sealed the victory when defensive back Max Plunkett tackled Drew Becker behind the line of scrimmage.

Friday’s games featured 893 yards, all on the ground. Holmen had 514 of the yards and the teams were a combined 0-for-6 passing.

Superior had 379 yards of offense, led by Gunnar Gronski’s 171 yards rushing and three touchdowns. Corey Sanders added 89 yards and quarterback Gunner Johnson had 88 yards.

Wilson had a huge game for the Vikings, rushing for 275 yards and three touchdowns on 32 carries. Drew Becker added 77 yards, and Holden had 53 yards.

Turnovers hurt Holmen in a first half that saw the Vikings fumble twice and throw an interception on their first three drives.

Spartan senior Josiah McDonald recovered the Vikings’ first fumble near midfield.

Six plays later Zach Tharge took a pitch from Johnson and ran around the left end 14 yards for a touchdown. Sam Kline’s kick gave the Spartans a 7-0 lead with 7:23 left in the first quarter.

Holmen followed with a 69-yard drive that ended with Sanders recovering a fumble at the 5-yard line.

The Spartans were forced to punt after four plays, but three plays later Plunkett intercepted a pass at the 21 with four seconds left in the first quarter.

Two minutes into the second quarter Gronski gave Superior a 14-0 lead with an 11-yard run untouched through the right side of the line. Kline kicked the extra point.

Superior committed its first turnover of the season when Holmen’s Drake Walensky recovered a Johnson fumble with 6:52 left in the second quarter.

Four minutes later Wilson scored from 14 yards. Holmen missed the extra-point kick, leaving Superior’s lead at 14-6 with 2:54 left in the first half.

Superior punted on its next possession, and the half ended with Wilson scrambling for 35 yards on the final play. Wilson finished the first half with 118 yards on 14 carries.

Holmen lost starting quarterback Connor Duncan to an injury on the first drive of the second half.

Superior scored all three times it had the ball in the third quarter, starting when Gronski’s 13-yard touchdown run, and Kline’s kick, gave the Spartans a 21-6 lead.

Four minutes later Holmen back-up quarterback Isaac Handland scored from 9 yards out. The Spartans stopped the Vikings on the two-point attempt, making the score 21-12 in favor of Superior.

The Spartans opened up a 35-12 lead with two more touchdowns on their next two possessions.

Gronski scored from 20 yards out with 5:34 left in the third quarter, and four minutes later Johnson ran in from 11 yards out. Kline kicked both extra points.

Blake Graskey led the Spartans with 13 tackles. Chase Summerfield and Jack Sannes added 10 tackles each and Plunkett and McDonald both had nine stops.

Big Rivers Conference action begins next week with the Spartans hosting Eau Claire Memorial, which is also 2-0 with wins over La Crosse Logan and La Crosse Central.

 

Superior.................. 7      7     21      0      —      35

Holmen.................. 0      6     6        18    —      30

First Quarter

SHS  — Zach Tharge 14-yard run (Sam Kline kick), 7:23.

Second Quarter

SHS — Gunnar Gronski 11-yard run (Kline kick), 10:14.

H — Seth Wilson 14-yard run (kick wide left), 2:54.

Third Quarter

SHS — Gronski 13-yard run (Kline kick), 9:22.

H — Isaac Handland 9-yard run (run failed), 6:36.

SHS — Gronski 20-yard run (Kline kick), 5:34.

SHS — Gunner Johnson 13-yard run (Kline kick), 1:44.

Fourth Quarter

H — Wilson 4-yard run (pass failed), 8:42.

H — Seth Holden 6-yard run (failed) , 8:01.

H — Wilson 1-yard run (run failed), 4:51.

TEAM STATISTICS

                                        SHS               H

Plays................................. 47                86

Total Yards........................ 379              514

Rushing Yards.................... 379              514

First Downs........................ 15                26

Third Down........................ 4-8              7-17

Fourth-Down....................... 1-1               5-5

Penalties........................... 3-36             8-59

Fum./Lost.......................... 2-2               3-3

Time................................ 19:10            28:50

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING — SHS, Gunnar Gronski, 18-171; Gunner Johnson, 14-88; Corey Sanders,7-89; CJ Fortune, 2-17; Zach Tharge, 1-14. Holmen, Seth Wilson, 32-275; Drew Becker, 13-77; Seth Holden, 7-53; Handland, 14-37; Duncan, 11-34; Colton LeClaire, 4-35.

PASSING — SHS, Johnson, 0-3. Holmen, Connor Duncan, 0-2. Isaac Handland, 0-1.

DEFENSE - Superior

                                     Total       Solo       Ast

B. Graskey....................... 13           8          5

C. Summerfield................. 10           9          1

J. Sannes......................... 10           9          1

M. Plunkett........................ 9           7          2

J. McDonald...................... 9           7          2

L. Drougas......................... 8           8         —

Z. Tharge.......................... 8           6          2

G. Gronski........................ 8           6          2

C. Sanders........................ 4           4         —

De. Szmarzia..................... 4           2         —

J. Carter........................... 3           3         —

T. Nickelson....................... 2           2         —

CJ   Fortune....................... 1           1         —

G. Sexton......................... 1          —          1

D. Lowney......................... 1           1         —

N. Schiminek...................... 1           1         —

Holmen

Holden, 5; Drake Walensky, 5; Craig Newsome Jr., 4.

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