Spartans finish regular season unbeaten
To complete an unbeaten regular season, the Somerset football team had to face the best defense it has seen this season.
The Spartans played at Baldwin-Woodville last Thursday in the regular season finale for both teams. This was supposed to be the battle between the highest scoring offense in the conference from Somerset and the defense that has allowed the fewest points from Baldwin-Woodville.
That matchup developed, but the Somerset defense also deserved billing on the marquee. The Spartans were only able to score eight points against the Blackhawks, but the Spartan defense made sure that one touchdown was enough for the Spartans to win 8-0.
This win gave the Spartans a 9-0 record and earned them the second seed in this region for the WIAA Division 5 state football playoffs. Being seeded got the Spartans a home game in the first round of the playoffs on Tuesday, against St. Croix Central. The winner of Tuesday's game will play again this Saturday, facing the winner of the Grantsburg-Washburn game.
Last Thursday's game didn't start out like it was going to be close. B-W got the ball first and Somerset's defense stopped the Blackhawks, forcing a punt to the Spartan 29.
It took the Spartans four plays to cover 71 yards and get into the end zone. On the first play fullback Tom Hennessey ripped through the line for 21 yards. On the third play Hennessey broke free again, for 45 yards to the B-W 3-yard line. On the next play Hennessey blasted through the line and into the end zone for the touchdown two minutes into the game.
From there on, the B-W defense lived up to its reputation. The Spartans were able to move the ball, gaining 305 yards in the game. But when the Blackhawks got near their end zone, they became impossible to score against.
The Spartans didn't help themselves in numerous instances. They had eight penalties, many of them false starts by the offensive line caused by the constant stunting of the B-W defense. The Spartans also turned the ball over twice in the second half.
The defense covered up for any offensive struggles. B-W was held to 96 yards of offense. The defensive secondary had an outstanding night. B-W was held to 5-26 passing in the game, including interceptions by Jeff Klis and Jake Rorabeck.
"Our defense played really outstanding," said Somerset coach Bruce Larson. "It's the mark of a good team when your offense struggles and your defense steps up."
Hennessey finished the game with 207 yards rushing on 30 carries, more than two-thirds of the team's offensive production. Quarterback Jake Rorabeck also rushed for 53 yards in the game.
Somerset 8, Baldwin-Woodville 0
Somerset 8 0 0 0 8
Baldwin-Woodville 0 0 0 0 0
Som -- Tom Hennessey, 3 yard run (Billy Raleigh run)
First Downs 12 9
Rushing Yards 305 70
Passing Yards 0 26
Passes 0-4-1 int. 5-21-2 int.
Penalties 8-65 2-10
Som -- Tom Hennessey 30-207, Jake Rorabeck 10-53, Jeff Klis 2-17, Billy Raleigh 3-16, Nate Hildebrant 2-8, Brock Montpetit 3-4
Som -- Jake Rorabeck 0-4-1 int., 0 yards
Som -- None