Josh Olerud set a new school single-game rushing record with 353 yards while scoring six touchdowns against Houston in the section semi-finals.
Josh Olerud set a new school single-game rushing record with 353 yards while scoring six touchdowns against Houston in the section semi-finals.
Josh Olerud broke his own school single-game rushing record with 353 yards on 36 carries while scoring all six Spring Grove touchdowns last week in a Section 1 semi-final victory. The senior fullback also led on the other side of the ball with 15 tackles.

Unbeaten Spring Grove wound up winning 41-12, but most of the Oct. 27 matchup was much closer than that score would indicate.

The Lions got off to a rocky start. A fumbled snap on their first offensive play led to a Spring Grove punt. Then a roughing the punter penalty kept the first Houston drive alive, encompassing 72 yards in 13 plays for the game's first touchdown.

The ball went through the air from Christian Sires to Jake Englund for both Houston touchdowns - one with a pass and the other with a fumble.

On the Hurricanes' first possession, Sires scooted around the right end from the Lion eight and fumbled while being tackled with the ball popping into the hands of Englund, who stepped the final four yards to the end zone.

Houston's lead lasted only a few seconds. On the first play after the kickoff, Olerud raced 68 yards to tie the score, 6-6. Alex Engelhardt had blocked Houston's extra-point kick; so when Tanguy de Monval kicked the first of his five extra points, the Lions led 7-6.

Each team then failed to score on long drives. Houston went 67 yards before being held on downs at the Spring Grove five with a fourth-down tackle by Mitchell Anderson. The Lions then drove 68 yards before losing a fumble at the Houston 27.

On its next possession, Spring Grove blocking freed Olerud, who dashed 54 yards into the end zone. Houston threatened again just before halftime but ran out of downs at SG 30.

The Hurricanes would turn the ball over on downs five times overall. Houston converted only 3 of 15 third downs and failed to score on all four trips inside the Spring Grove 20 yard-line.

One second-half Houston drive ended at the Lion 11, but the 'Canes forced a punt and got the ball back at the 31. On the next play, Sires hit Englund in the end zone to get within one score again, 20-12 with four minutes left in the third quarter.

Spring Grove then outscored Houston 21-0 in fourth quarter to finally blow the game open.

Dominating on both sides of the ball, the Lions scored on three straight possessions, all of which ended with Olerud runs.

The Hurricanes threw twice as often as they ran. Sires completed 22 of 41 passes for 222 yards and one touchdown.

His only interception proved pivotal. Three plays into the second half, Matt Schleich returned the pick-off 16 yards to the Hurricane 28.

Three plays later, Olerud ran 22 yards to put Spring Grove ahead by two scores (20-6).

Spring Grove threw only five passes (one caught, one dropped) and pounded away on the ground until springing Olerud loose for long runs, He had TD carries covering 68, 54, 22, 5, 32 and 57 yards.

Spring Grove entered the contest ranked No. 3 in the Associated Press Poll. As the No. 1 section seed, they will host No. 2 Grand Meadow on Friday, Nov. 2 at 7 p.m. for the section championship. The Superlarks eliminated Lanesboro 40-8 in the other semi-final game.

The teams last met on Oct. 12, when the Lions managed a 22-20 victory over the Superlarks, their toughest test so far this season