Spartans get their revenge against Tigers
Two years ago, Somerset football coach Bruce Larson said he was heckled after he left the field in New Richmond when the Spartans had been beaten by the Tigers 41-9.
This year he wanted to make sure he didn't hear anything from the Tiger fans. After a close first quarter, the Spartans turned on their big play ability, stunning the Tigers with 30 points in the second quarter. The Spartans added two more scores in the third quarter to make the final 50-0.
Understandably, the two coaches were at the opposite ends of the spectrum. Somerset coach Bruce Larson said his team played about as well as it possibly could. New Richmond coach Joe Hutter said that like after the opening loss of the season opener to River Falls, the Tigers have to learn quickly from their mistakes and get better.
The first quarter of the game was quite close, until a turnover started to turn the game in the Spartans' favor. With 2:55 left in the first quarter, Tiger quarterback Garret Fletch tried a pass over the middle to Jordan Frye. The pass deflected off Frye's hands and Somerset linebacker Tom Hennessey caught the ball at the Tiger 30-yard line.
Three plays later, Somerset halfback Jeff Klis got outside, racing down the New Richmond sideline for a 30-yard touchdown with 1:59 left in the quarter.
In the next possession the Tigers reeled off three straight first downs, all on carries by senior halfback Danny Wells. On the next play, Tiger quarterback Ben Needham was sacked, fumbling the ball. Somerset recovered at the Spartan 30.
Moments later, Hennessey was given the ball on a blast up the middle. He broke a tackle at the line and was off, with none of the Tigers able to catch him before he scored on a 75-yard run.
The touchdowns then came fast and furious for the Spartans. The Spartans then came up with a couple nice defensive stands and each time the Tigers had short punt that gave Somerset the ball in the Tigers' end of the field. Somerset quickly converted those opportunities into scores by Hennessey and the lead was quickly 30-0.
Somerset then got its second interception of the game at the Tiger 25. The Tigers were caught in a defensive back blitz, leaving tight end Brett Schreiner uncovered on a 9-yard touchdown pass with 2:30 left in the half that made the score 38-0.
Hutter hoped the Tigers would come back with a solid second half, but that was quickly refuted. On the first play after the kickoff, Klis went 54 yards right through the center of the Tiger defense on a basic dive play for a 54-yard touchdown.
The Spartans scored quickly in their next possession too. First Hennessey went 23 yards up the gut, then Rorabeck hit tight end Mitch Colanino for a 28-yard score. With the 50-0 lead the Spartans made wholesale changes to get their starters off the field.
Neither team had a serious scoring threat in the rest of the game.
Larson said the Spartans' big play ability broke this game open, but the team can't expect big plays to happen in every game.
"Somebody's going to make us drive the field. That's when the little mistakes get magnified. With big plays, they cover up the little mistakes," Larson said.
The big plays resulted in the Spartans gaining 446 yards Friday, including 363 on the ground. Both Klis and Hennessey were well over 100 yards rushing in the game.
Larson said the progress of the offensive line has been a key to the team's strong start. In Friday's game, the play of linemen Brian Plourde and Corey Hehling especially stood out.
For the Tigers, this game showed some areas where fast improvement is needed. An 0-10 passing night showed improvement is needed in all parts of the passing game, from the blocking to the pass to catching the ball.
There was a setback for the Tigers during warmups, when senior lineman Steve Volkert twisted his ankle. Adam Nirmaier played most of the game in Volkert's guard position and Nirmaier's play was one of the highlights for the Tigers.
The Tigers did get the running game working at times during the game but couldn't sustain a drive. Danny Wells carried for 65 yards. The Tigers unveiled a Statue of Liberty play that took advantage of Somerset's defensive ends crashing in so hard, and the Tigers got several nice runs out of that play.
Hutter was trying to emphasize to the Tigers that this is one game and they can't dwell on this loss.
"We have to keep improving, first on the practice field, then in game situations," Hutter said.
The Tigers and Spartans have similar situations for this Friday. They both play at home, against teams that are stinging after being upset in their first conference games. New Richmond hosts Amery, which was knocked off by Prescott 14-7. Somerset will be at home against Durand, which was shut down by Baldwin-Woodville 14-0.
Somerset 50, New Richmond 0
Somerset 8 30 12 0 50
Glenwood City 0 0 0 0 0
Som -- Jeff Klis, 20 yard run (Tom Hennessey run)
Som -- Hennessey, 75 yard run (run failed)
Som -- Hennessey, 18 yard run (Hennessey run)
Som -- Hennessey, 2 yard run (Billy Raleigh run)
Som -- Brett Schreiner, 9 yard pass from Jake Rorabeck (Rorabeck run)
Som -- Klis, 54 yard run (run failed)
Som -- Mitch Colanino, 28 yard pass from Rorabeck (run failed)
First Downs 7 8
Rushing Yards 363 88
Passing Yards 83 0
Passes 4-9-0 int. 0-10-3 int.
Penalties 10-70 3-20
Som -- Tom Hennessey 8-139, Jeff Klis 7-165, Jake Rorabeck 5-18, Billy Raleigh 2-7, Brock Montpetit 2-4
NR -- Danny Wells 21-65, Mike Martinez 4-28, Joe Needham 2-0, Garret Fletch 3-(-5)
Som -- Jake Rorabeck 4-9-0 int., 83 yards
NR -- Garret Fletch 0-6-2 int.; Joe Needham 0-4-1 int.
Som -- Brett Schreiner 2-38, John Anderson 1-27, Tom Hennessey 1-18
NR -- None