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Spartans host Rice Lake tonight

Superior High School quarterback Gunner Johnson runs away from a River Falls defender during last week's game at the NBC Spartan Sports Complex. Superior hosts Rice Lake at 7 p.m. today. (Jed Carlson / jcarlson@superiortelegram.com)

The Superior High School football team needs to win one of its final two games to guarantee a spot in the WIAA playoffs.

The tougher of the two games is tonight when the Rice Lake Warriors, who also need one more win to qualify for the playoffs, come to town with records of 5-2 overall and 3-2 in the Big Rivers Conference.

“Rice Lake is one of the top football programs in the state in any division, and they have been for years,” SHS coach Bob DeMeyer said. “They have an outstanding coaching staff that has been together for a long time, and they do everything very well on offense, defense and special teams.

“They make very few mistakes, they are disciplined, physical and they’re coming here very motivated, needing a win to qualify for the playoffs.”

Rice Lake is coming off a 24-17 loss at Menomonie. The Warriors’ final game is against Eau Claire Memorial, which is also fighting for a playoff berth.

Rice Lake’s wishbone offense is quarterbacked by senior Steve Scheurer, who took over the starting position two games into last season when starter Hunter Ashlin was injured.

The Warriors’ well-balanced running attack includes Rilly Nolin, Bill Brown and Brandon Sutton. The Spartans will also have to keep an eye on wide receiver speedster Kenny Bednarek, last year’s state champion in the 200- and 400-meter dashes.

On defense Rice Lake is led by linebackers Taylor Forsberg and Cody Willger and lineman Daniel Ronning.

“Offensively they return their entire line and quarterback,” DeMeyer said. “They graduated an outstanding backfield, but reloaded with kids that are fast, solid blockers and explosive ball carriers. They have a state champion sprinter at one wide out and the other is one of the best all-around receivers in our league.

“Defensively they are extremely sound in all areas and have players that cause a lot of disruption. Hudson and Menomonie had trouble moving the ball and scoring, so ball security and execution will be as critical as ever.”

Superior is coming off a 41-26 win over River Falls.

Superior’s final game is at Eau Claire North (0-7, 0-5).

“We’re still improving each week,” DeMeyer said. “We focused on a couple key things this week that we feel will help us reach our team goals. The players and coaches have all been challenged and we’re very confident we’ll make great strides.”

SPARTAN SPIN: Rice Lake is ranked No. 9 among Division 3 schools.

Big Rivers Conference

Menomonie (6-1)........................................... 5-0

Chippewa Falls (5-2)...................................... 4-1

Rice Lake (5-2)............................................. 3-2

Hudson (5-2)................................................ 3-2

Superior (5-2)................................................. 3-2

Eau Claire Memorial (4-3)................................ 2-3

River Falls (1-6)............................................. 0-5

Eau Claire North (0-7)..................................... 0-5

Friday, Sept. 30

Chippewa Falls 42, Eau Claire North 7

Hudson 21, Eau Claire Memorial 18

Menomonie 24, Rice Lake 17

Superior 41, River Falls 26

Friday, Oct. 7

All Games at 7 p.m.

Hudson at Chippewa Falls

Menomonie at Eau Claire Memorial

Eau Claire North at River Falls

Rice Lake at Superior

Friday, Oct. 14

Superior at Eau Claire North

River Falls at Hudson

Chippewa Falls at Menomonie

Eau Claire Memorial at Rice Lake

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