After dominating the entire first half and much of the third quarter, Lanesboro was overtaken by the No. 5 nine-man football team in the state, losing to Spring Grove 32-22.

Sept. 8 was the official Southeast Conference opener for both teams. Early on, LHS (1-1, 0-1 SEC) had all but shut down the state-ranked Lions' wing-T attack. Spring Grove (2-0, 1-0 SEC) managed only three first downs during their first nine possessions. Midway through the third quarter, Spring Grove was down 22-8. At that point the momentum shifted, as the Lions put together scoring drives of 75, 99, and 39 yards, and denied the end zone to the Burros on their last three possessions.

After a scoreless first quarter, Lanesboro's Daulton Gartner raced 54 yards to put LHS up 6-0. An unsuccessful two-point conversion run at that point would eventually prove costly.

A 61-yard run by Spring Grove's Caleb Happel set up the only score of the first half for the Lions, when Josh Olerud dashed into the end zone from the 15. Happel's 2-point conversion run put Spring Grove up 8-6 midway through the second quarter, but LHS answered immediately with a 28-yard kickoff return by Will Semmen and a 26-yard keeper by quarterback Garrett Boggs. Niko Anderson scored from the six, and LHS lead 14-8 at halftime. Prospects looked good for the Burros when a 39-yard TD run by Anderson made it 22-8 halfway through the third period.

However, it wasn't over yet. Spring Grove coaches had made some defensive adjustments at halftime and decided to ditch the wing-T offense in favor of a power-I. That offensive strategy would eventually change the game.

After their first possession of the third period went three-and-out, the Lions put together a nine-play, 75 yard drive to cut the lead to 16-22. Lanesboro was then forced to punt in spite of a 24 yard pass and an 11 yard run on their next possession, with a penalty not helping the effort. The kick, however, was a beauty.

Anderson punted Spring Grove back to the one yard-line, but 99 yards and eight plays later, the Lions retook the lead, 24-22 with 7:26 remaining in the game. The key to the drive was a 74 yard toss and run from Storlie to freshman Alex Engelhart. When they got the ball back, Spring Grove used a 23-yard punt return from Storlie, a 14-yard burst by Happel and 23-yard Olerud TD run to take a 10-point lead with 4:20 left.

Both teams stayed mainly on the ground with Spring Grove throwing only nine passes (4-9-1, 86 yards) and LHS four (2-4-0, 32 yards). The Burros outrushed the Lions 315 yards to 283.

Spring Grove struggled mightily early against a well-prepared Burro defense, but the LHS offense also sputtered with seven penalties and four fumbles (one lost) in the first half. The Burros would finish with 11 penalties for 75 yards, and fumbled away their first opportunity at the Lion 39. Late in the second period, LHS failed to take advantage of the only Lion turnover, an interception by Burro linebacker Kole Ruud. After two penalties and two fumbles, LHS lost possession on downs at the Spring Grove 25. On third downs, both teams combined to convert only 5 of 22. LHS punted six times and Spring Grove five.

Total yardage was close with 369 for the Lions and 347 for LHS. The Lions averaged 6.2 yards per play while Burros averaged 6.0. Anderson (22 carries, 149 yards, 2 TD for LHS) and Olerud (27 carries, 148 yards, 3 TD, 2 PAT runs for SG) were the workhorses. Happel, who had started the game at left guard for Spring Grove before moving to fullback, carried 13 times for 122 yards (1 TD, 2 PAT runs). For the Burros, Gartner gained 70 yards on just six carries, while Boggs kept 18 times for 59 yards. Gabe Decker averaged over six yards per carry while rushing for 37 yards.

Lanesboro Coach James Semmen said later that his Burros played hard, but Spring Grove "wore us down in the second half."

Happel led the Lion defense with 18 tackles while Matt Schleich and Brady Schuttemeier were each in on 15 stops.

Up next:

On Sept. 14, Lanesboro will play at Mabel-Canton. The following week, the Burros will celebrate homecoming versus Glenville-Emmons.

Southeast Conference 2012

FOOTBALL conf. season


Grand Meadow* 1 - 0 2 - 0

Spring Grove* 1 - 0 2 - 0

Houston 1 - 0 1 - 1

Glenville-Emm. 1 - 0 1 - 1

Lanesboro* 0 - 1 1 - 1

LeRoy-Ostrander 0 - 1 1 - 1

Mabel-Canton 0 - 1 0 - 2

Lyle/Pacelli 0 - 1 0 - 2

* defending champions