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Osceola knocks off Spartans, leaves MBC in three-way tie

The Middle Border Conference football race was thrown into a three-way tie last Thursday.

That's because Osceola knocked off previously unbeaten Somerset, 32-20. Somerset, Osceola and Amery are all tied at 4-1 atop the MBC with two games left to play.

Somerset will play at home this Friday against winless Baldwin-Woodville. The Spartans wrap up the regular season on Thursday, Oct. 23 with a home game against New Richmond. The Spartans have already locked up a place in the WIAA State Football Playoffs.

Somerset coach Bruce Larson said the blame for the loss at Osceola falls directly on the shoulders of the coaches.

"It was probably one of the poorer jobs I've done in awhile," Larson said. Larson blamed himself for calling seven pass plays in the game, three of which were intercepted by Osceola. "We averaged 8.7 yards per carry, maybe we should have stayed with the running game. We forced some passes that probably shouldn't have been called."

The Spartans rolled up 411 yards rushing in the game and had one first quarter pass completion for 15 yards.

It certainly looked like the Spartans might take control early in the game. The Spartans rolled to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter. Quarterback Jake Rorabeck scored the first touchdown on a 15-yard run.

On the next possession Rorabeck broke away for a 34-yard carry. On the next play halfback Shawn Walczak got to the outside for a 33-yard touchdown.

Osceola then began turning the game in its favor. In the final minute of the first quarter Osceola scored to cut the lead to 14-7.

Osceola then scored again with 1:30 left in the first half. When the Spartans were called for an offsides penalty on the extra point, it gave the Chieftains the chance for the two-point conversion that put Osceola ahead 15-14.

The Spartans tried to drive for another score before halftime, getting the ball to the Chieftain 40. The Spartans then trailed a Hail Mary pass to the end zone on the last play of the half, but it was intercepted.

Osceola caught the Spartans by surprise in this game. The Chieftains were running an offense they hadn't used all season, using an unbalanced offensive line. Larson said this came from Osceola assistant coach Richie Narges, who formerly coached at Glenwood City, where the offense worked well against the Spartans.

Larson said the coaching staff needed to adjust better to the Osceola offensive changes.

"We didn't put our kids in position to make plays, especially on defense. Because of it our defense suffered," Larson said.

The Spartans started the second half with the ball, but were quickly forced to punt. On Osceola's first play of the half, halfback Brett Madlon broke away for a 47-yard touchdown, putting the Chieftains ahead 22-14.

On the ensuing kickoff, Somerset got a long return. But at the end of the play, an Osceola player stripped the ball away, giving the Chieftains the ball. The Chieftains then drove down another score, building the lead to 29-14. The Chieftains scored again in the third quarter, this time on a 33-yard field goal at the end of the quarter, to make the lead 32-14.

The Spartans did manage to get the offense rolling in the fourth quarter, driving for one touchdown, a 5-yard run by Rorabeck.

Somerset wasn't able to make a comeback in the second half because Osceola did what Somerset usually does to its opponents -- control the ball.

Somerset fullback Tom Hennessey finished the game with 188 yards on 26 carries. Rorabeck ran for 117 yards on 18 attempts. Walczak got his most chances to run the ball this season, 11, and he finished with 97 yards.

Osceola 32, Somerset 20

Somerset 14 0 0 6 20

Osceola 7 8 17 0 32


Som -- Jake Rorabeck, 15 yard run (Shawn Walczak run)

Som -- Walczak, 33 yard run (pass failed)

Osc -- Andy Geving, 11 yard run (Droher kick)

Osc -- Kyle McMartin, 16 yard run (McMartin run)

Osc -- Brett Madlon, 47 yard run (Droher kick)

Osc -- McMartin, 1 yard run (Droher kick)

Osc -- Droher, 33 yard field goal

Som -- Rorabeck, 5 yard run (run failed)

Som Osc

First Downs 19 12

Rushing Yards 411 266

Passing Yards 15 83

Passes 1-7-3 int. 7-10-0 int.

Penalties 1-10 6-40


Som -- Tom Hennessey 26-188, Shawn Walczak 11-97, Jake Rorabeck 18-117, Jeff Klis 2-9


Som -- Jake Rorabeck 1-7-3 int., 15 yards


Som -- Tadd Landry 1-15

Dave Newman
Dave Newman has been the sports editor at the New Richmond News since 1988. He has covered the action in the Middle Border Conference, Dunn-St. Croix Conference and Big Rivers Conference for nearly 30 years.
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