Josh Olerud heads for an opening created by Harrison Speltz blocking Mabel-Canton’s Logan Henry. The senior running back went over 1,100 yards for the season with a Spring Grove single-game rushing record of 335 yards versus the Cougars.
Josh Olerud heads for an opening created by Harrison Speltz blocking Mabel-Canton’s Logan Henry. The senior running back went over 1,100 yards for the season with a Spring Grove single-game rushing record of 335 yards versus the Cougars.

The Lions completed another undefeated regular season on Oct. 17, defeating Mabel-Canton 51-13. The win sealed a third-straight conference championship and a second straight outright crown for Spring Grove, which has won 16 straight conference games.

Lion senior Josh Olerud rushed for a record 335 yards on Parents Night at Mabel-Canton. The following morning the computer established Spring Grove (8-0, 7-0 SEC) as the top seed in this week's Section One 9-man Football Tournament. The Cougars received the No. 5 seed.

A season-high 519 rushing yards allowed the Lions to overcome six holding flags (a season-high 65 penalty yards) while also matching season-highs with two fumbles and two turnovers.

Dominating both sides of the ball, Spring Grove denied Mabel-Canton a first down until their eighth possession just before halftime. In between two early Lion turnovers, Spring Grove needed only two plays to go 73 yards for a 6-0 lead. The Lions would then score on five straight possessions to lead 44-0 at the half.

After their first possession of the second half, the Spring Grove starters began to retire with a 51-0 lead.

Olerud averaged over 15 yards per carry while taking 22 handoffs for 335 yards, the most rushing yardage in the 11 years for which single-game records exist. The 170-pound running back/ linebacker broke tackle after tackle on touchdown runs of 7, 43, 59 and 30 yards.

His fifth TD, a one-yard run, came after he returned an interception 38 yards to the lip of the goal line. He also scored on three extra-point plays (two runs and a pass reception).

Olerud finished the regular season with 1,127 rushing yards including 25 touchdowns plus two pass receiving touchdowns.

He also supplied a key block on the 48-yard TD run by 195-pound junior fullback Caleb Happel, who rushed for 106 yards on only nine carries (11.8 yards per carry) and also collected a 25-yard TD pass from Blaine Storlie.

Storlie, a 5-foot, 10-inch senior, completed 6 of 10 passes for 83 yards and one touchdown. Freshman Alex Engelhardt caught two passes for 37 yards including the catch of the game - an 11-yard diving grab while being knocked out of bounds.

Happel also caught two passes for 30 yards while Matt Schleich had a reception to match his jersey number (13 yards).

Each quarterback was intercepted once but neither was sacked. Six-foot M-C junior Collin O'Bieglo completed 3 of 9 for 55 yards.

His 48-yard toss to sophomore Donnie Lind set up a 5-yard touchdown run by Noah Manning (13 carries, 47 yards) for the first Cougar score in the third quarter.

M-C junior running back Hunter Johnson came into the game averaging 192 yards per game with 20 touchdowns.

He had gained 144 yards versus Spring Grove back in week one but found little running room in the rematch, gaining 54 yards on 17 carries. Johnson scored by kicking one of two extra points, and finished the regular season with 1,398 rushing yards

It was team defense for Spring Grove. Senior cornerback Spencer Dunn led with 9 tackles along with 8 stops apiece from Storlie, Happel and Olerud. Mikal Guberud and freshman Brady Schuttemeier each had six tackles.

Spring Grove's reserves consumed most of the running-clock fourth quarter with a 15-play, 67-yard march, which ended on downs at the Cougar 13.

Three plays later, M-C sophomore Keyser Wenthold closed the scoring, breaking free for a 74-yard sprint with 1:49 left to play.

Neither team was able to take advantage of an early takeaway. Four plays after Happel forced a fumble recovered by Brandon Schuttemeier on the M-C 30, Wenthold picked off a pass at the five and returned it 15 yards.

After Chris Nordsving fell on a Lion fumble on the opening kickoff at the Spring Grove 34, M-C went three and out.

The Lions would not lose another fumble, but the Cougars continued to struggle against Spring Grove's starting defense. M-C had only 34 yards of offense before halftime. The Cougars would convert only one third-down play but would finish with 235 yards of total offense.

The Lions ran 65 plays (to only 43 for the Cougars) with a season high 602 yards of total offense while converting 8 of 10 third-down plays. They had a dozen plays that went for 20 or more yards.

Blocking were linemen Engelhardt, Nick Holty, Brandon Schuttemeier, Harrison Speltz, Tanner Sanness and Brady Schuttemeier.

Tanguy de Monval was good on all three extra-point kicks with snaps from Holty and holds by Storlie.

Spring Grove, ranked No. 3 in the state 9-man poll and No. 6 in the computer rankings, took the top section seed into the Oct. 23 quarterfinal playoff game at home versus No. 8 Lyle/Pacelli (1-7). The Lions defeated the Athletics 80-14 in week four.

M-C (3-5) took the No. 5 seed on the road versus No. 4 Houston (4-4). The Hurricanes defeated the Cougars 44-13 in week two. The winners of those games will play in the semi-finals on Saturday, Oct. 27 with the higher seed hosting at 7 p.m.

The other side of the bracket paired No. 2 Grand Meadow (7-1) against No. 7 Glenville-Emmons (2-6) and No. 3 Lanesboro (5-3) versus No. 6 LeRoy-Ostrander (2-6).

Southeast Conference 2012

End Reg. Season conf. season


Spring Grove* 7 - 0 8 - 0

Grand Meadow 6 - 1 7 - 1

Lanesboro 4 - 3 5 - 3

Houston 4 - 3 4 - 4

Mabel-Canton 3 - 4 3 - 5

Glenville-Emmons 2 - 5 2 - 6

LeRoy-Ostrander 1 - 6 2 - 6

Lyle/Pacelli 1 - 6 1 - 7

* defending champion