Somerset faces another showdown with Ladysmith
The Somerset football team has another date with Ladysmith.
The Spartans beat Cadott 46-21 in the second round of WIAA Division 5 football playoff action on Saturday. With that win, the Spartans will play at Ladysmith at 1 p.m. on Saturday in the third level of WIAA tournament play. Ladysmith is undefeated this season while Somerset carries a 10-1 record.
When Somerset and Ladysmith clashed in level three of the playoffs last season, Somerset won on its home field 35-16. Ladysmith and Somerset have been on a collision course for much of the season when it became apparent that they were two of the strongest Division 5 teams in western Wisconsin.
Ladysmith is led by crushing running back Mike Newkirk. His 1,800 yards rushing is one of the highest totals in the state.
"What people don't realize is they throw the ball well, too," said Somerset coach Bruce Larson. Ladysmith had four passing touchdowns in its playoff win over Mondovi last Saturday.
Pass defense is a concern for Somerset right now, after the Spartans allowed 234 passing yards to Cadott.
Just as in the opening round playoff win over Arcadia, the Spartans fell behind early in Saturday's game. That was because Cadott receiver Darren Mackie caught an 81-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Tyler Krucas with less than four minutes gone in the game.
The Spartan offense struggled in the early going, including turning the ball over once on a fumble. Larson then decided to insert quarterback Jake Rorabeck back into the lineup. Rorabeck had missed Tuesday's game, in the final stages of recovering from mononucleosis.
"Jake went in and settled things down," Larson said.
The Spartans then drove for a touchdown, with Brett Schreiner scoring on a three-yard run. Shawn Walczak's two-point conversion put the Spartans ahead 8-7.
Cadott used the pass to score again, getting a 9-yard score with 7:18 left in the half.
Somerset's offense then got into gear. The Spartans went on a 12-play drive, with Schreiner carrying the ball nine of the 12 plays. Walczak completed the drive with a 10-yard score, then added the two-point run, to put the Spartans ahead 16-15 at halftime.
Schreiner was playing at fullback for injured starter Tom Hennessey. Brian Plourde took Hennessey's middle linebacker spot. Schreiner led the Spartans with 34 carries for 158 yards, while Plourde was one of the Spartans' leading tacklers.
"We put some guys in tough spots and they really did nice jobs," Larson said.
Somerset took the opening kickoff of the second half and quickly added to its lead. This time it was a seven-play drive, with a quick ending. Halfback Jeff Klis broke away for a 44-yard run and the Spartans were ahead 24-15.
Give Cadott credit for not giving up. The Hornets came back with another score to cut the margin to 24-21.
From there, the Spartans ability to grind down opponents took over. The Spartans went on a six-minute drive, with Rorabeck scoring with 9:26 left in the game, making the lead 32-21.
The Spartans capped off the game with two touchdowns that came within 17 seconds of each other. Rorabeck scored on a 25-yard run with 3:26 left in the game. This score was set up by a Cadott fumble.
On the ensuing kickoff Cadott fumbled again, and again the Spartans recovered. The Spartans delivered the knockout score, when Rorabeck hit John Anderson with a 33-yard touchdown pass. Anderson had also intercepted two Cadott passes during the game.
"In the second half we played quite a bit better defense," Larson said.
Opening round win
Somerset advanced to Saturday's round by thumping Arcadia 38-6 on Tuesday night. Somerset's competition on Saturday will be Cadott. The Hornets knocked off Grantsburg, the third seed in the sectional, by a 28-0 score on Tuesday.
Somerset didn't start well in Tuesday's game, falling behind Arcadia 6-0 with 6:43 left in the first quarter.
The Spartans didn't tie the game until the 8:07 mark of the second quarter, when quarterback Billy Raleigh scored on a 4-yard run. Raleigh was replacing starting quarterback Jake Rorabeck, who is sidelined due to a bout of mononucleosis.
On Arcadia's next possession, Somerset defensive back Mike Schachtner forced a fumble and Brock Schreiner recovered. The Spartans quickly converted the turnover into points, when Raleigh hit tight end Mike Wishard with a 24-yard touchdown pass. A great second effort by fullback Tom Hennessey got the Spartans the two-point conversion and the lead was 14-6.
The Spartans scored again, 45 seconds before halftime, on a 5-yard blast by Hennessey to build the lead to 22-6.
A touchdown pass from Rorabeck to Anderson early in the third quarter made sure the Spartans were ahead to stay. A long touchdown run by Walczak capped the scoring in the second half.
Somerset 46, Cadott 21
Cadott 7 8 6 0 21
Somerset 0 16 8 22 46
Cad -- Darren Mackie, 81 yard pass from Tyler Krucas (Isaacson kick)
Som -- Brett Schreiner, 3 yard run (Shawn Walczak run)
Cad -- Randy Nye, 9 yard pass from Krucas (Stefan Geissler run)
Som -- Walczak, 10 yard run (Walczak run)
Som -- Jeff Klis, 44 yard run (Walczak run)
cad -- Mackie, 4 yard run (kick failed)
Som -- Jake Rorabeck, 1 yard run (Walczak run)
Som -- Rorabeck, 25 yard run (Walczak run)
Som -- John Anderson, 33 yard pass from Rorabeck (run failed)
First Downs 16 6
Rushing Yards 325 59
Passing Yards 33 234
Passes 1-2-0 int. 9-15-2 int.
Penalties 2-10 4-40
Som -- Brett Schreiner 34-158,Jeff Klis 5-65, Jake Rorabeck 11-64; Shawn Walczak 7-42, Billy Raleigh 4-(-4)
Som -- Jake Rorabeck 1-2-0 int., 33 yards
Som -- John Anderson 1-33
Somerset 38, Arcadia 6
Arcadia 6 0 0 0 6
Somerset 0 22 8 8 38
Arc -- Brian Christ, 18 yard run (kick failed)
Som --Billy Raleigh, 1 yard run (run failed)
Som -- Mike Wishard, 24 yard pass from Raleigh (Tom Hennessey run)
Som -- Hennessey, 5 yard run (Hennessey run)
Som -- John Anderson, 10 yard pass from Raleigh (Jeff Klis pass from Raleigh)
Som -- Shawn Walczak, 67 yard run (Klis run)
First Downs 19 8
Rushing Yards 372 105
Passing Yards 48 38
Passes 3-3-0 int. 5-13-0 int.
Penalties 3-25 1-15
Som -- Shawn Walczak 7-120, Brett Schreiner 18-86, Tom Hennessey 20-85, Billy Raleigh 9-45; Jeff Klis 3-25, Bryce Montpetit 3-8; Brian Plourde 2-3
Som -- Billy Raleigh 3-3-0 int., 48 yards
Som -- Mike Wishard 1-23; Shawn Walczak 1-15; John Anderson 1-10