Lion ball carrier Matthew Schleich attracts four Burro tacklers including #20 Mason Huerkamp, #11 Isaac Freese and #34 Daulton Gartner.
Lion ball carrier Matthew Schleich attracts four Burro tacklers including #20 Mason Huerkamp, #11 Isaac Freese and #34 Daulton Gartner.

In a come-from-behind SEC football free-for-all on Sept. 7, Spring Grove managed to hold off Lanesboro on the Burros' home field, 32-22.

It was the SEC opener for both teams. Early on, LHS (1-1, 0-1 SEC) had all but shut down the state-ranked No. 5 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 Lions offense buckled down and put together scoring drives of 75, 99 and 39 yards while the Burros were denied the end zone on their last three possessions.

"It was a tale of two halves," Lions coach Zach Hauser said. "Lanesboro dominated the first half offensively and defensively, but we were able to turn it around in the second half and scored 24 unanswered points.

"Blocking was our key to success in the second half, led by fullback Caleb Happel and offensive linemen Brandon Schuttemeier, Nick Holty, Harrison Speltz, Tanner Sanness, and Alex Engelhardt."

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

A 61-yard run by Happel set up the only score of the first half for the Lions, when Josh Olerud scampered into the end zone from the 15. Happel's two-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.

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 deficit to 22-16.

Lanesboro was then forced to punt in spite of a 24-yard pass and an 11-yard run on their next try. 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.

Spring Grove then used a 23-yard punt return from Blaine Storlie, a 14-yard burst by Happel and 23-yard Olerud TD run to take a 10-point lead with 4:20 left.

The biggest play of the night was not even in the Spring Grove playbook and had never been rehearsed. It was devised during the game atop the press box by offensive coordinator Kevin Klug.

With a second and 13 at the Lion 11 yard-line, Storlie passed deep to Engelhardt for a 74-yard pass and run that highlighted the 99-yard drive as Spring Grove retook the lead 24-22 with 7:26 remaining.

While the 74-yard pass play was critical, 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 compared to 6.0 for the Burros.

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.

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

Projected starter Spencer Dunn remained on the injured list. Jayme Lenning left the game with an injury just before halftime.

It had been 26 games since the Lions had won after falling behind by 14 points (also vs. Lanesboro in 2009). The last time Spring Grove had trailed by as many as two TDs was in a playoff loss to LHS in 2010.

Up Next: On Sept. 14, Spring Grove returns home to host the Hurricanes of Houston.

Southeast Conference 2012

conf. season


Grand Meadow* 1 - 0 2 - 0

Spring Grove* 1 - 0 2 - 0

Houston 1 - 0 1 - 1

Glenville-Emmons 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

AP 9-Man Football Poll

As of Sept. 5, 2012


1 Edgerton/Ellsworth (1-0)

2 Ada-Borup (1-0)

3 Wheaton/Herman-Norcross (1-0)

4 Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley (1-0)

5 Spring Grove (1-0)

5 Stephen-Argyle (1-0)

7 North Woods (1-0)

8 Hills-Beaver Creek (1-0)

8 Nicollet (1-0)

10 Bigfork (1-0)

10 Silver Bay (1-0)

Others receiving votes: Onamia, Prairie Valley and Goodridge/Grygla-Gatzke