UPDATED: Spartans suffer first loss on new field

Three touchdown passes by Justin Czech and three 1-yard touchdown runs by Kyle Bowe powered the Chippewa Falls Cardinals past the Superior High School Spartans 39-7 Friday night at the NBC Spartan Sports Complex.

Gunner Johnson
Superior High School quarterback Gunner Johnson (19) stiff arms Chippewa Falls’ Isaac Solberg (6) in the second quarter of Friday night's game at the NBC Spartan Sports Complex. (Jed Carlson/

Three touchdown passes by Justin Czech and three 1-yard touchdown runs by Kyle Bowe powered the Chippewa Falls Cardinals past the Superior High School Spartans 39-7 Friday night at the NBC Spartan Sports Complex.

The loss was the first for the Spartans on their second-year field. They were a perfect 7-0 on the new turf last season, including a pair of playoff victories.

Four of the Cardinals’ six touchdowns came after Spartan turnovers. Overall Superior had six turnovers, four fumbles and two interceptions.

“They’re big up front, controlled the ball, controlled the ball - they’re the real deal,” SHS coach Bob DeMeyer said. “We have to work on hanging on to the ball. The fumbles are uncharacteristic for us. To have that many fumbles, along with the penalties, really hurt us.”

The loss also snaps Superior’s three-game win streak over Chippewa Falls. Since 1973, the Cardinals lead the series with the Spartans 14-9.


“Our kids played well - but I tell you what, Superior’s a good team, well coached and physical,” Chippewa Falls coach Chuck Raykovich said. “Those points didn’t come as easy as it looked.”

Chippewa Falls took the opening kick and grinded out a 16-play, 63-yard drive that ended with Bowe scoring his first touchdown. Max Gibson’s extra point gave the Cardinals an early 7-0 lead just six minutes into the game.

Superior fumbled on its first play from scrimmage and nine plays and four minutes later Czech threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to Marcus Crumbaker. Gibson’s kick made the score 14-0.

“We gave them good field position on the opening drive and they got things rolling right away,” DeMeyer said. “On the first drive we didn’t get any stops on first down and once they got things rolling we didn’t get any stops at all.”

Chippewa Falls held a 93-6 offensive advantage in the first quarter before Superior’s defense settled down a bit in the second quarter and forced a pair of punts.

But the Cardinals’ defense was just as impressive and after forcing a Spartan punt, they increased their lead to 21-0 when Czech threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Aaron Knez as time expired in the first half.

Chippewa Falls ended up with a 190-47 advantage on offensive in the first half and 359-182 for the game.

“Our defense played well, set the tone early and the turnovers were key,” Raykovich said. “The game started and all of a sudden it was 14-0. That would be tough on any team to overcome.”


Superior received the second-half kick, but once again fumbled on its first play and Chippewa Falls’ Tyler Zwiefelhofer recovered the ball at the 18.

Five plays later Czech tossed a 7-yard TD pass to Sam Mayberry. Gibson’s kick was blocked making the score 27-0 with 9:06 left in the third quarter.

Senior Beau Reder took over at quarterback on the Spartans’ next drive and promptly threw an apparent 60-yard touchdown pass to Brendan French.

But the play was called back because of an illegal procedure penalty.

Two plays later Mayberry recovered another Superior fumble, this time at the 23.

The Cardinals took a 33-0 lead on Bowe’s second TD with 4:16 left in the third quarter.

On Superior’s next drive Reder completed passes of 17, 13 and 12 yards as the Spartans moved the ball to the Cardinal 25-yard line.

But after a short run by Ross Kennelly, Reder suffered an fractured fibula  on a 3-yard run that moved the ball to the 9-yard line.


Starting quarterback Gunnar Johnson re-entered the game and two plays later Kennelly scored Superior’s touchdown on a 5-yard run up the middle. Sam Kline’s extra-point kick made the score 33-7 with 1:10 left in the third quarter.

“Beau’s an athlete and a playmaker,” DeMeyer said. “He gave us a spark and I’m proud of what he did for us. It’s unfortunate with the injury.”

Superior’s Blake Graskey then recovered an on-side kick near midfield, but on the Spartans’ second play Gibson intercepted a Johnson pass with 41.4 seconds left in the third quarter.

Nine plays later Bowe scored his third touchdown giving Chippewa Falls a 39-7 lead with 9:03 remaining.

The Spartans drove the ball to Chippewa Falls’ 27-yard line, but the drive stopped when Clayton Biddle intercepted a pass with 6:12 remaining.

Chippewa Falls finished with 359 yards of offense, including 275 rushing, and controlled the ball for more than 36 minutes.

Superior had 182 yards, including 65 on the ground, and had the ball for just 18 minutes.

Things don’t get any easier for the Spartans, who host Menomonie in their annual homecoming game at 7 p.m. Friday.

Menomonie improved to 4-0 overall and 2-0 in the Big Rivers Conference with a 48-10 win over Hudson.

“We have another tough one next week,” DeMeyer said. “But we’ll regroup; the kids have fought back before. We’ll work on the things we did wrong and come out and battle against a very good Menomonie team.”

The last time the Cardinals started the season off 3-0 was in 2008.

“The kids have worked hard and it’s no fluke they’re doing this stuff,” Raykovich said. “They are really focused.”

SPARTAN SPIN: Superior’s Zach Tharge returned a fumble 26 yards late in the fourth quarter. … For the Cardinals, Zwiefelhofer recovered two fumbles; Bryce Harder recovered a fumble and intercepted a pass; and Thomas Williams had a fumble recovery. … In other BRC action, Eau Claire Memorial defeated River Falls 39-21 and Rice Lake won a wild one over Eau Claire North, 75-43. … According to Cardinals’ radio, Superior won the first meeting between the two schools 67-0 in 1906. … The 29th annual DECA tailgate party raised $1,700 for the Douglas County Veterans Services, which helps out local vets with housing assistance, education/retraining, and loans.


Chippewa Falls............... 14     7     12     6    -     39

Superior....................... 0      0     7       0    -     7

First Quarter

CF – Kyle Bowe 1-yard run (Max Gibson kick), 5:27.

CF – Justin Czech 18-yard pass to Marcus Crumbaker (Gibson kick), 1:11.

Second Quarter

CF – Czech 10-yard pass to Aaron Knez (Gibson kick), 0:00.

Third Quarter

CF – Czech 7-yard pass to Sam Mayberry (kick blocked), 9:06.

CF – Bowe 1-yard run (run failed), 4:16.

SHS – Ross Kennelly 5-yard run (Sam Kline kick), 1:10.

Fourth Quarter

CF – Bowe 1-yard run (kick blocked), 9:03.

Team Stats

                                          CF             SHS

Total Net Yards..................... 359            182

Comp-Att-Int........................ 7-15-0        10-18-2

Passing yards....................... 102            117

Rushing............................... 61-257        27-65

First Downs.......................... 17             9

Punt Returns........................ 1-8            1-0

Kickoff Returns..................... 4-26           7-51

Sacks................................. 0               1

Punts.................................. 2-41.5        3-25.7

Fumbles-Lost........................ 1-1            4-4

Penalties-Yards..................... 6-47           3-33

Time of Possession:............... 36:17         11:43


Individual Stats

RUSHING - CF, Kole Mewhorter 16-98; Aaron Knez 18-60; Kyle Bowe 19-60; Codie Meinen 3-17; Matthew Bruder 2-19; Logan Kurtenbach 2-3. Superior, Ross Kennelly 12-33; Beau Girard, 4-18; Beau Reder 3-9; Gunner Johnson 3-5; Seth Sutherland 1-4; Joe Carter 1-4; Mitch Anderson 2-2; Tradel Nickerson 1- (-10).

PASSING - CF, Justin Czech 7-15-0-102. Superior, Johnson 7-15-2-69. Reder 3-3-0-48.

RECEIVING - CF, Marcus Crumbaker 3-53; Knez 3-42; Sam Mayberry 1-7. Superior, Brendan French 3-29; Brett Lozon 3-29; Anderson 2-19; Kennelly 1-23; Girard 1-17.

TACKLES - CF, Max Gibson, 6; Cale Hennusch, 6; Mayberry, Isaac Solberg, Bryce Harter, 3. Superior, Ross Kennelly, 14; Harrison Doane, 12; Corey Sanders, 9; Garrett Hobson, 7; Blake Graskey, Josiah McDonald, 6; Girard, Max Plunkett, 4; Reder, Zach Tharge, Christian Pettitt, Joey Miller, 3; Anderson, Donovan Luoma, Gunnar Gronski, 2; Lozon, Luke Drougas, Johnson, Dylan Lowney, 1.

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