Superior junior quarterback Carson Gotelaere ran for three touchdowns in the fourth quarter, but the flurry was too late as the Spartans fell to Rice Lake 38-18 Friday, Sept. 17.
Superior dug itself a big hole early in its homecoming game when miscues with three fumbles on its first three drives, two of which were recovered by Rice Lake and turned into touchdowns.
Spartan senior Ross Rivord took a handoff 14 yards on the first play, but Gotelaere had a problem on the handoff on the next play and the fumble was recovered by Rice Lake’s Trenten Frazier on the Superior 24-yard line.
Warriors senior Christian Lindow ran the ball in six plays later to put the Spartans down eight.
Superior’s next drive was a repeat of the first, with Rivord taking the ball for 4 yards and then a second fumble on a handoff, recovered by Lindow at the Spartans’ 42-yard line.
Several plays later, Warriors quarterback Cole Fenske found Alex Belongia in the end zone to put Superior down 14-0.
Despite a third fumble on a handoff on Superior’s next drive, the Spartans drove down to the Rice Lake 33, but the offense stalled and turned the ball over on downs at the end of the first quarter.
With just over a minute gone in the fourth quarter, Fenske connected with Belongia again for a 67-yard touchdown.
“You can’t turn the ball over on the first two possessions of the game against a team like Rice Lake — or anybody,” Superior coach Bob DeMeyer said. “Rice Lake is a very good team and they’re very disciplined. They do what they do well and to start off like that, that’s not the recipe for success.”
The Spartan defense kept the score from getting much worse later in the second half. Twice in the second quarter the Warriors drove down inside the Superior 20-yard line and the defense forced a turnover on downs.
Rice Lake got a short field again to start the third quarter when Belongia returned the second half kick to the Superior 21-yard line and Elliot Nolin ran it in two plays later to put the Spartans down 30 with a minute gone in the third quarter.
After a Superior punt, Fenske connected with Belongia again for a 61-yard touchdown to put Superior down 38-0 and start running time.
“Cole is the smoothest throwing quarterback we’ve ever had,” Rice Lake coach Dan Hill said. “Then Alex is just ridiculous. I mean, you can just keep throwing to him and he goes up and gets the ball and comes down with it when you don’t think he can.”
Fenske was 4-for-7 for 151 yards and three touchdowns in the game. Belongia caught all four of Fenske’s completions.
As the clock ticked down, Superior started to find some “chinks” in Rice Lake’s armor, according to Hill.
Gotelaere led a touchdown drive to start the fourth quarter and after a Rice Lake fumble deep in their own territory, he scored from 9 yards out.
After forcing Rice Lake to punt for the first time with about 5 minutes remaining, Gotelaere led another drive capped with a 19-yard touchdown run for the junior quarterback.
DeMeyer was proud of the way his team continued to play hard and didn’t give up even after falling behind.
Gotelaere finished with 68 yards rushing on 11 attempts and three touchdowns. He was also 5-for-11 with 97 yards passing in the game.
“The defense dug in and played well, if we don’t give them the short field, if we don’t give up the big play — the big kickoff return — it’s a much closer game,” DeMeyer said. “I’m very proud of every one of our guys. We’ve got some leaders, we’ve got a lot of kids that have a lot of fight in them...They come to practice every day with a great attitude, it’s a lot of selfless kids that love playing together and we are going to get this figured out.”
Rice Lake 14-8-16-0—38
RL — Christian Lindow 3 run (Elliott Nolin run)
RL — Alex Belongia 13 pass from Carson Fenske (run failed)
RL — Belongia 67 pass from Fenske (Nolin run)
RL — Nolin 18 run (Belongia pass from Fenske)
RL — Belongia 61 pass from Fenske (Nolin run)
S — Carson Gotelaere 3 run (run failed)
S — Gotelaere 9 run (run failed)
S — Gotelaere 19 run (run failed)