Spartans come up short at Eau Claire Memorial

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EAU CLAIRE — The Superior High School football team came up short in its Big Rivers Conference opener Friday night, losing 24-20 to the Eau Claire Memorial Old Abes at Carson Park.

Thanks to a slow start, the Spartans found themselves trailing 14-0 after one quarter.

Superior’s offense found its stride late in the second quarter and eventually took a 20-17 lead on Elijah Owen’s 3-yard touchdown run and Gunnar Gronski’s two-point conversion with 8:23 left in the third quarter.

The air was let out of Superior’s balloon seconds later when ECM’s Kyle Wilson seemed to return the ensuing kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown.

While the Spartans thought the runner’s knee touched the ground when he fielded the ball, the TD was actually wiped out because of an illegal block, putting the ball at the 20.

Three plays later the Old Abes took the lead for good on Jack Brown’s 1-yard touchdown run. Luis Nunez kicked the extra point making the score 24-17 with 7:14 remaining.

The Spartans weren’t done yet, and after a 36-yard kickoff return by Conner Fonger, moved the ball deep into Old Abe territory.

Superior drove to a second-and-three situation at the Memorial 15. But a fumbled snap and penalty set them back and on fourth-and-7 from the 19. Superior’s hopes of winning were dashed when quarterback Spencer Udeen was stopped inches short of a first down with 3:03 remaining.

The Old Abes went on to run out the clock to improve to 3-0 overall and 1-0 in the BRC.

“It was a heckuva play,” SHS coach Bob DeMeyer said. “Our guy fought for the first down but just came up short. It was a big stop for Memorial.”

Superior (2-1, 0-1) outgained ECM on offense, 267-249, including 226-173 rushing.

Gronski led the Spartans on the ground with 145 yards on 26 carries. Udeen added 35 yards on nine carries and he was 2-of-9 passing for 41 yards. Owens and Corey Sanders each caught an Udeen pass.

Joe Carter led the Spartans on defense with nine tackles (four unassisted). Chase Summerfield added eight tackles (two unassisted) and he recovered a fumble.

Brown rushed for 100 yards for ECM. Keagan Calchera added 55 yards rushing and he was 6-of-12 passing for 62 yards. Cormac Sampson caught two passes for 21 yards.

Superior’s rough start began when they roughed the punter to keep ECM’s opening drive alive, then committed a personal foul on the next play. The Old Abes eventually took a 7-0 lead on Calchera’s 8-yard touchdown pass to Sampson. Adam Webb kicked the extra point.

Udeen’s first passing attempt was intercepted by Wilson and three plays later the Old Abes took a 14-0 lead on Calchera’s 12-yard touchdown pass to Adam Tracy.

Superior got its first break of the game when Summerfield recovered a fumble at the ECM 37. But a couple of penalties led to the Spartans having to punt from the 39.

Superior’s defense stepped up again and forced an ECM punt. Four plays into the ensuing drive, Udeen ran up the middle for a 14-yard touchdown. Superior failed extra point, leaving the score 14-6 with 9:46 left in the first half.

Superior then blocked a field goal attempt, and followed by putting together its best drive of the game, 63 yards in 12 plays. But the drive stalled with an incomplete pass at the 38 with one second left in the half.

The momentum carried over into the second half for the Spartans, and a 61-yard drive ended with Gronski taking a pitch around the left end from Udeen and scored from 19 yards out. Superior failed on the two-point attempt, making the score 14-12 with 7:33 left in the third quarter.

Webb’s 26-yard field goal with 2:56 left in the third quarter gave the Old Abes a 17-12 lead.

Owen’s go-ahead touchdown was aided by 30 yards rushing by Gronski and ECM jumping off-sides when the Spartans were facing a fourth-and-one situation.

Superior plays at Hudson at 7 p.m. Friday. Eau Claire Memorial is at Chippewa Falls.

Superior............................ 0...... 6     6    8 — 20

Eau Claire Memorial.......... 14...... 0     3    7 — 24

First Quarter

ECM — Keagan Calchera 7-yard pass to Cormac Sampson (Adam Webb kick), 7:26.

ECM — Calchera 12-yard pass to Adam Tracy (Webb kick), 5:21.

Second Quarter

SHS — Spencer Udeen, 14-yard run (run failed), 9:46.

Third Quarter

SHS — Gunnar Gronski, 14-yard run (run failed), 7:33.

ECM — Webb 26-yard field, 2:56.

Fourth Quarter

SHS — Elijah Owens, 3 yard run (Gronski run), 8:23.

ECM — Jack Brown 1-yard run (Luis Nunez kick), 7:14.

TEAM STATISTICS

                                              SHS          ECM

Total Plays........................... 57            50

Total Yards.......................... 267          249

Passing Yards...................... 31            76

Rushing Yards..................... 226          173

First Downs........................... 17            23

Turnovers............................... 1              1

Fumbles Lost ........................ 0              1

Penalties............................. 6-58         7-65

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING — SHS, Gunnar Gronski, 2-145; Spencer Udeen, 9-35; Elijah Owens, 7-30; Corey Sanders, 7-16. ECM, Jack Brown, 19-103; Keagan Calchera, 10-51; Loyal Crawford, 3-19.

PASSING — SHS, Udeen, 2-9-1-41. ECM, Calchera, 8-14-0-76.

RECEIVING — SHS, Sanders, 1-10; Owens, 1-21. ECM, Cormac Sampson, 2-22; Calvin turner, 2-11; Brown, 1-18; Adam Tracy, 1-11; Trey Breuer, 1-2.

DEFENSE

Superior

                                            TKL           Ast

Joe Carter.............................. 4             5

Gunnar Gronski...................... 4             2

Devin Samarzia..................... 2             2

Chase Summerfield............... 2             6

Cayden Lauvick.................... 2             1

Logan Stone.......................... 1             2

Trevor Dalbec........................ 1             6

Drake Samarzia..................... 1             3

Corey Sanders....................... 1             2

Sam Gidley............................ 1             0

Big Rivers Conference

2017 Standings

Eau Claire Memorial (3-0).................. 1-0

Menomonie (3-0)................................ 1-0

Rice Lake (2-0).................................. 1-0

Hudson (2-1)...................................... 1-0

Superior (2-1)..................................... 0-1

River Falls (1-2)................................. 0-1

Chippewa Falls (1-2).......................... 0-1

Eau Claire North (0-3)........................ 0-1

Friday, Sept. 1

Eau Claire Memorial 24, Superior 20

Rice Lake 37, Chippewa Falls 0

Hudson 49, Eau Claire North 14

Menomonie 41, River Falls 20

Friday, Sept. 8

Rice Lake at River Falls

Superior at Hudson, 7 p.m.

Eau Claire Memorial at Chippewa Falls

Menomonie at Eau Claire North

Friday, Sept. 15

Chippewa Falls at Superior, 7 p.m.

Eau Claire North at Rice Lake

River Falls at Eau Claire Memorial

Hudson at Menomonie