The 2012 Spring Grove football seniors are from left Tanguy de Monval, Brandon Schuttemeier, Josh Olerud, Caleb Rose, Spencer Dunn and Blaine Storlie.
The 2012 Spring Grove football seniors are from left Tanguy de Monval, Brandon Schuttemeier, Josh Olerud, Caleb Rose, Spencer Dunn and Blaine Storlie.
The 2012 Southeast Conference (SEC) championship Spring Grove football team will go down in the record books as one of the most successful in Lion history.

With a share of the conference crown in 2010 and outright championships in 2011 and '12 (a school record of three consecutive titles), Spring Grove is currently riding a record 16-game conference-winning streak. That's a school record eclipsing a streak of 15 wins in 1959-61 when Spring Grove played in the now-defunct Root River Conference.

Finishing their season at 10-1 (7-0 SEC), Spring Grove made it all the way to the Section 1 Championship game, one win shy of a second trip to state in as many years.

"Our players should definitely be proud of what they accomplished this year," head coach Zach Hauser said last week. After graduating both All State and four out of five All-Conference players from last season's section championship team, the Lions had to fill quite a few varsity spots in 2012, he noted.

"We kind of built this team around our seniors and captains. We had a lot of underclassmen who stepped up and played some good football for us. Our coaching staff knew we had the potential. We just didn't really know if our kids would be able to put it together that fast.

"We kind of figured with a lot of those younger guys with no varsity experience, that it would take a while. They put it together a lot earlier than we expected.

"There's nine guys out there, and you need nine guys to play well or you're not going to win."

Offensively, the Lions once again did it on the ground, but still threw more than twice as many passes (102) than last year's squad.

The 2011 team set an all-time mark for keeping the ball in the hands of rushers, only throwing 47 passes during the entire season.

The 2012 team wound up with 3,486 rushing yards and 955 via airmail. That's nearly four-fifths of the total being delivered by foot, and with good reason. Lion rushers averaged 6.5 yards per carry in 2012.

Opposing offenses were basically balanced but not especially successful in moving the ball against the Lions, recording 1,332 passing yards and 1,320 rushing. Overall, Spring Grove generated about 1.7 times as many yards as did their opponents.

The 2012 team averaged 46.2 points per game, making it the highest-scoring bunch of Lions in Spring Grove history.

Their 66% third-down conversion rate is also the best in the record book (opponents averaged 30%).

Another notable stat is that Spring Grove enjoyed a large edge in extra point conversions, scoring on 76% of both their two-point tries and single-point kicks, while opponents scored on 39% of their two-point conversions and 40% of their point-after kicks.

The Lions also held on to the ball. With an incredibly stingy seven turnovers all season, Spring Grove set a record low in the giveaway department (at least for as long as records exist for that statistic).

More generous opponents gifted the ball back 11 times more than they received it.

Especially telling is Spring Grove's 61% rate of scoring on all possessions. Opponents only scored 25% of the time.

That brings to mind the old adage that defense wins ball games. By holding opponents to an average of 17.1 points per game, Lion defenders ensured a successful campaign. The average margin of victory was 29.1 points.

Hauser completed his sixth season at the helm this fall. Joining the program as an assistant in 2006, he is now the winningest head coach in Spring Grove history according to winning percentage at .639 with 39 wins and 22 losses.

Hauser is now only one win away from tying Clayton Cobble (1976-'85) at the top of the list with 40 head coaching career wins.

Beginning with a 2-7 record, Hauser has built the program into a powerhouse, scoring three of Spring Grove's eight conference championships (six outright, three shared) in the last three seasons. That's remarkable, since team records extend for decades.

"It's been great," Hauser said. "I love it! It seems like the Spring Grove kids just keep working harder and harder each year. It makes my job a lot of fun when you have a lot of dedicated players who are doing the right things.

"This group was capable of winning every game they won, but at the beginning of the year, to say that we would go out and get the job done every Friday night; I'm not sure too many people were expecting that to happen."

Spring Grove's B-team record was 2-2 (defeating Lyle/Pacelli 46-26 and LeRoy-Ostrander 30-14 while losing to Houston 26-0 and Grand Meadow 36-0).

The Spring Grove/Mabel-Canton junior high record was 7-1 defeating Houston, L/P, Glenville-Emmons, Central of Elkader, L-O and GM twice. No losses were recorded to conference teams, with a single defeat coming versus Lansing Kee. With SG/M-C leading 16-0 after one quarter, the season opener versus Lanesboro was called by lightning.

Southeast Conference 2012

conf. season


Spring Grove* 7 - 0 10 - 0

Grand Meadow# 6 - 1 11 - 1

Lanesboro 4 - 3 6 - 4

Houston 4 - 3 5 - 5

Mabel-Canton 3 - 4 3 - 6

Glenville-Emmons 2 - 5 2 - 7

LeRoy-Ostrander 1 - 6 2 - 7

Lyle/Pacelli 1 - 6 1 - 8

*SEC champion | #Section champion