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Spartans win big over ECN, receive No. 2 seed for WIAA playoffs

The Superior High School football team clinched a WIAA playoff berth with a 42-0 win over the Eau Claire North Huskies Friday night at Carson Park in Eau Claire.

The Spartans were awarded a No. 2 seed for the WIAA Division 2 playoffs and will host No. 7 Holmen (6-3) at 7 p.m. Friday.

“I’m proud of how our team executed in all phases of the game,” SHS coach Bob DeMeyer said. “We played sound, fundamental football, cut way down on mistakes and earned our way into the playoffs. We’ve been talking about the potential we have if and when things come together, it was fun to see that happen.”

Other first-round games in Superior’s bracket include No. 8 Wausau West at No. 1 Menomonie; No. 5 Ashwaubenon at No. 4 Green Bay Southwest; and No. 6 Pulaski at No. 3 Hortonville.

Superior defeated Holmen 35-30 earlier this season in Rice Lake. The Spartans also defeated the Vikings 21-0 in a 2014 first-round playoff game.

The Superior-Holmen winner will play the winner of Pulaski-Hortonville.

The Spartans dominated the Huskies from the opening kick, scoring 21 points in both the first and second quarters and limiting ECN to just 104 yards in the game.

The Spartans piled up 416 yards of offense, including 300 rushing.

Senior quarterback Gunner Johnson was 5-of-7 passing for 112 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for 26 yards, and one of his three carries went for a 5-yard touchdown.

Max Plunkett caught both of Johnson’s TD passes. His 55-yard touchdown reception gave Superior a 21-0 lead with 2:33 left in the first quarter and his 26-yard TD catch came four minutes into the second quarter.

Sophomore Connor Fonger led the Spartans with 72 yards rushing on seven carries, including a 50-yard touchdown run that gave Superior a 35-0 lead with 5:23 left in the second quarter.

Luke Drougas was next with 71 yards, including a 28-yard TD that made the score 42-0 with 2:03 left in the first half.

Gunnar Gronski added 69 yards, including a 10-yard touchdown run for the first score of the game.

“Our offensive line blocked very well, our backs ran hard and blocked well, our quarterback made good decisions, ran and threw well and our wide outs made some big plays once again,” DeMeyer said.

Defensively for Superior, Jack Sannes had a quarterback sack, Trevor Dalbec forced a fumble, and Drake Samarzia and Drougas intercepted passes.

Blake Graskey led the way with six tackles and Devin Samarzia, Zach Tharge and Trevor Dalbec finished with four each.

 “Defensively, our tackling improved, we were physical and we had more players swarming to the ball,” DeMeyer said. “We also took the ball away from them and that’s always a big factor in determining the outcome.”

ECN quarterback Ryan Venne was 9-of-21 passing for 73 yards and two interceptions.

Michael Haller rushed for 21 yards on seven carries and Joey Neuenfeldt, Neyens and Steve Luther caught two passes apiece.

SPARTAN SPIN: Sam Kline was 6-of-6 on extra points for Superior. … Venne is the son of former Superiorites Greg and Erin Venne, and the grandson of Superior’s Butch and Nancy Venne and Gary and Janet Haack.

Superior.......................... 21     21     0    0    —   42

Eau Clare North................. 0      0      0    0    —   0

First Quarter

SHS—Gunnar Gronski 10-yard run (Sam Kline kick), 9:10.

SHS—Gunner Johnson 5-yard run (Kline kick), 5:11.

SHS—Max Plunkett 55-yard pass from Johnson (Kline kick), 2:33.

Second Quarter

SHS—Plunkett 26-yard pass from Johnson (Kline kick), 8:38.

SHS—Connor Fonger 50-yard run (Kline kick), 5:23.

SHS—Luke Drougas 28-yard run (Kline kick), 2:03.

TEAM STATISTICS

                                        SHS               ECN

Total Yards........................ 416                104

Passing Yards.................... 116                73

Rushing........................... 33-300            20-31

First Downs........................ 12                  8

Third Down........................ 1-5                1-9

Fourth-Down....................... 2-3                1-2

Penalties.......................... 10-69              1-10

Fum./Lost.......................... 0-0                1-0

Time................................ 21:59             26:01

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING — SHS, Conner Fonger, 7-72; Luke Drougas, 2-71; Gunnar Gronski, 10-69; Gunner Johnson, 3-26; Corey Sanders, 3-26; Zach Tharge, 2-18; Ben Rhodes, 1-11; Elijah Owens, 1-6; Caden Laurvick, 1-2; Brandon McClure, 1-2; Spencer Udeen, 2-(-3). ECN, Michael Haller, 7-21; Tyler Zainhofsky, 2-7; Tyler Greenlund, 1-3; Ryan Venne, 1-2; Taylor Ellis, 8-2; Braedn Neyens, 1-(-4).

PASSING — SHS, Johnson, 5-7-0-112. Spencer Udeen, 1-2-0-4. ECN, Venne, 9-21-2-73.

RECEIVING — SHS, Max Plunkett, 2-81; CJ Fortune, 1-11; Sam Kline, 1-11; Sanders, 1-9; Fonger, 1-4. ECN, Joey Neuenfeldt, 2-25; Neyens, 2-10; Steve Luther, 2-15; Ashton Miloszewicz, 1-12; Jacob Fisher, 1-6; Taylor Ellis, 1-5.

TACKLES

SHS — Blake Graskey, 6; Devin Samarzia, 4; Zach Tharge, 4; Trevor Dalbec, 4; Dylan Lowney, 3; Chase Summerfield, 3; Drake Samarzia, 3; Josiah McDonald, 3; Jack Sannes, 2; Max Plunkett, 2; Corey Sanders, 2; Anthony Gallian, 2; Steven Nett, 2; Luke Drougas, 1; Joe Carter, 1; Kaleb Ullan, 1; Mason Ackley, 1; Gunnar Gronski, 1; Gabe Sexton, 1; Nick Ferrando, 1; Tradel Nickelson, 1.

ECN Ashton Miloszewicz, 5; Ryan Cramer, 4; Spencer Andrews, 4.

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