Opposing coaches must be having nightmares in preparing to play the Superior High School football team.
Heading into the season, it was no secret that the Spartans returned quarterback Jarrett Gronski, who led Superior with 988 yards rushing, 535 yards passing (31-of-78) and totaled 23 touchdowns (15 rushing, eight passing).
Added into the mix this season is junior Kaden Kimmes, who as a sophomore attempted just two passes and rushed for just 14 yards on nine attempts.
The duo has been nearly unstoppable so far this season, which includes wins over Somerset and Merrill by a combined score of 78-6.
“I'm very proud of how these guys have embraced their roles,” SHS coach Bob DeMeyer said. “Jarrett, being the returning starter, has really embraced this plan so far. He's all about what is best for the team and he sees the challenge our opponents will have in defending us if things are clicking.
“Jarrett’s one of the most explosive athletes in our league, and in the state, and we love having the ability to move him around and get the ball to him in different ways. That's tough to defend."
Gronski and Kimmes are a combined 8-of-15 passing for 198 yards and three touchdowns. Gronski is also second in rushing with 147 yards and a pair of scores, while Kimmes is fifth with 25 yards and one TD on five carries.
“It’s been exciting,” Gronski said. “Everybody is involved with the running game and with Kimmes coming in and throwing the dots that he does, it’s a lot of fun.”
In last week’s win over Merrill, Gronski got the start and guided the Spartans on a five-play, 71-yard drive that ended with Caden Stone’s 3-yard touchdown run.
After a successful on-side kick, Kimmes took over and two plays later the score was 14-0 as his 8-yard pass to Kal Kappas was followed by a 37-yard TD pass to Brady Herbst.
"Kaden has done so much to prepare himself to play quarterback in our scheme,” DeMeyer said. “He reads, processes and executes everything that we do and most importantly, he takes care of the football. He's very smooth fundamentally and he has great composure.
“Because of his athleticism and the time he put in all off season working on his footwork, arm strength and accuracy, we are a more dynamic team."
After Superior’s defense forced a Merrill punt, Gronski proved he can also “throw dots” as he threw a perfect pass to Brennan Morrissey streaking down the middle and it turned into a 63-yard touchdown.
“Having two QBs really balances our offense and gives everybody a chance to be involved,” Herbst said. “With Jarrett’s dangerous legs and Kimmes’ arm we can do a lot more offensively and move the ball more efficiently.”
With a comfortable lead the Spartans turned to the running game and the final two scores came on TD runs by Stone and Carter Fonger.
“I really like it (the new system), the other teams don’t know what to focus on,” Kimmes said. “They might think Jarrett is only going to run, but he can also pass the ball very well. Then, if they think I’m only going to pass, that will put them in pass coverage and that opens up the running game.”
The Spartans begin Big Rivers Conference play by hosting Eau Claire North at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 6.
“That’s where the grind starts,” Gronski said. “We start playing some good teams and we have to be ready day in and day out. We’re well on our way to doing that.”
Besides his roles on offense, Gronski also has eight tackles, a tackle for loss and a fumble recovery as a defensive back.
“QB, RB, slot or defensive back, It doesn’t matter where I play, as long as I’m helping the team,” Gronski said.
ECN comes to town with an 0-2 record, losing to La Crosse Central (60-21) and La Crosse Logan (26-20).
"North is a much improved team,” DeMeyer said. “They've competed and played two very tough games thus far, they are getting noticeably better. This is the second season with a new staff and it is very evident that are a different team this year."
ECN quarterback Kyle Greelund is 8-of-16 passing for 81 yards and Sam Barby and Charlie Wolter lead the Huskies on the ground with 129 and 102 yards, respectively. Barby also has three receptions for 30 yards.
“Their offense is deceptive and they have several players who are dangerous with the ball in their hands,” DeMeyer said. “Defensively, their experience shows and they get to the football. They are also very sound in all special teams and they've returned two kicks for touchdowns.
“We have to be focused and sound every snap of the ball and we expect a very tough, competitive game."
The Spartans have won eight straight over the Huskies, including 112-14 over the last three seasons. ECN last defeated Superior 54-22 in the final game of the 2010 season.
Fonger leads the Spartans in rushing with 180 yards and two TDs on 15 carries. Stone is third with 88 yards and two TDs and Morrissey has 42 yards and a score on three carries.
Herbst leads the Spartans on defense with 21 tackles, including two sacks. Right behind are Cody Kurki, 20 tackles; Dane Polkinghorne, 15; Sean McCoshen, Fonger and Donavynne Brown, 11; and Jason Samarziya, 10.
SPARTAN SPIN: In last week’s win over Merrill, Stone finished with 88 yards rushing, including TD runs of 4 and 10 yards. Fonger added 74 yards, including a 56-yard TD. … Morrissey, Herbst, Fonger, Jake Edwards, Ben Hunter and Kappas each caught a pass. … Herbst led the Spartans on defense with nine tackles, including a sack. Gronski and Kurki both added seven tackles, Samarziya had six, and Brown, Fonger and Polkinghorne had five apiece.