Mitchell Anderson (86) and Josh Olerud (9) converge on Peter Jergenson for a two-yard loss during the Lions’ 56-20 dismantling of Houston.
Mitchell Anderson (86) and Josh Olerud (9) converge on Peter Jergenson for a two-yard loss during the Lions’ 56-20 dismantling of Houston.
The Spring Grove gridders brought a No. 6 state ranking into their Sept. 14 home game versus Houston, and the Lions defeated the visitors with 392 total yards of offense, most of it on the ground.

The Hurricanes responded with a superior passing game, but couldn't cope with the ball control strategy of the Lions, who marched down the field repeatedly, including two drives that topped 90 yards. The 56 points were the most ever scored by Spring Grove against Houston.

Caleb Happel carried 15 times for 170 yards and two touchdowns and 2 two-point conversions for Spring Grove while running mate Josh Olerud ran 26 times for 139 yards, three touchdowns and three conversions.

Matt Schleich carried the ball nine times for 63 yards, one touchdown and pair of two-point conversions in addition to a 76-yard kick-off return for a score.

Those three were also the Lion tackle leaders with eight, seven and seven respectively. Brandon Schuttemeier also had seven tackles with an additional six stops each from Spencer Dunn and Brady Schuttemeier. Dunn was in action for the first time after missing the first two games with an injury.

Blocking up front for Spring Grove were Alex Engelhardt, Harrison Speltz, Tanner Sanness, Nick Holty and Brandon Schuttemeier.

Defense and field position set up a 16-0 Lion lead. By forcing Houston to punt from their three and seven yard-lines, the Lions only had to cover only 23 and 20 yards for their first two touchdowns. A 32-yard punt return by Blaine Storlie also helped.

After opening the game with a 28-yard pass, Houston lost 38 yards (including two sacks) with its next dozen snaps. Christian Sires then moved from under center into shotgun formation for the rest of the game. The 6-foot junior quarterback would complete 14 of 23 passes to five different receivers for 192 yards and two touchdowns.

Tyler Hoskins snared a 14-yard TD toss with 10:23 left in the second period to get the 'Canes back in contention, trailing 16-8 after a two-point run by Sires.

Unfortunately for Hurricane fans, Houston would not be that close again as seconds later Schleich took the kick off to the end zone.

It appeared that Houston would answer when Dylan Lee returned the next kick off 37 yards to the Spring Grove 33. But the 'Canes would lose possession one yard short with a fourth-down tackle by Engelhardt at the Lion five. Five plays and 95 yards later, Spring Grove was up 32-8 after Happel raced 67 yards to the end zone.

Sires brought Houston back, mostly in the air, scoring himself on a six-yard scamper and then teaming with Jake Englund for a 53-yard pass and run TD. It was 32-20 at halftime.

Englund would finish with five receptions for 98 yards while Tyler Hoskins would catch five for 67 yards.

Houston would not score in the second half while Spring Grove added a trio of touchdowns. The Houston starters would run only seven plays in the second half. The Hurricanes lost both of their turnovers on first down while the Lions consumed the clock with 67 and 91-yard drives.

After Spring Grove junior Mitchell Anderson returned an interception 18 yards, the Lions traversed only 27 yards for the final score of the night.

Spring Grove rushed for 364 yards and completed only one pass (1 for 7) while having two picked off. However, the completion was a beauty. Storlie hit Engelhardt for 28 yards to the one. Olerud carried the final yard to crush Houston hopes as Spring Grove led 40-20 after the Lions' first possession of the second half.

Playing from behind, Houston called 39 pass plays. Fifteen of the 22 running plays were quarterback draws with Sires gaining 45 of the 'Canes' 67 rushing yards.

Houston out-gained Spring Grove 219 yards to 28 in the air while the Lions out-rushed Houston 364 to 67 to fashion a total yardage margin of 392 to 286.

"It was nice to have some big scoring plays in the first half, but the long grind it out drives in the second half are what decided the game," Spring Grove coach Zach Hauser said.

"Olerud and Happel had nice games running the ball behind an offensive line that is getting better each week."

The Lions will host Lyle/Pacelli on Friday, Sept. 21 with a 7 p.m. kickoff to wind down Homecoming Week in Spring Grove.

Southeast Conference 2012

conf. season

FOOTBALL W L W L

Grand Meadow 2 - 0 3 - 0

Spring Grove* 2 - 0 3 - 0

Lanesboro 1 - 1 2 - 1

LeRoy-Ostrander 1 - 1 2 - 1

Houston 1 - 1 1 - 2

Glenville-Emmons 1 - 1 1 - 2

Mabel-Canton 0 - 2 0 - 3

Lyle/Pacelli 0 - 2 0 - 3

* defending champion