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Spartans answer doubts, roll over West Salem 35-14

The biggest pessimist toward the chances of the Somerset football team this year may have been Spartan coach Bruce Larson.

Larson worried mainly on how his offensive unit would be able to provide blocking lanes for the returning backs. Even Larson could find few flaws in the Spartans' performance at West Salem last Friday. After West Salem scored on the opening drive of the game, the Spartans then dominated the rest of the game, winning 35-14.

The Spartans met the challenge immediately after West Salem scored to start the game. A 35-yard kickoff return by Billy Raleigh gave the Spartans excellent field position. The Spartans covered the remaining 45 yards in eight plays. Quarterback Jake Rorabeck then scored the first of his three touchdowns, scoring on an 11-yard run. His two-point conversion then put the Spartans into the lead.

From there the Spartan defense shut down West Salem. Rorabeck intercepted a West Salem pass and returned it 25 yards. The Spartans then quickly covered the final 28 yards, with Tom Hennessey scoring on the third play of second quarter to make the lead 14-0.

The Spartans would score again five minutes later, with Hennessey scoring on a 1-yard dive.

If there were any doubts that the Spartans would win, they were answered in the opening minutes of the second half. The 20-6 lead was expanded to 28-6 when Rorabeck scored on a 35-yard scamper. This score was set up by a 34-yard kickoff return by Jeff Klis.

"Our special teams were outstanding the whole game," Larson said.

The Spartans added one more score in the fourth quarter, on Rorabeck's third touchdown of the night.

The Spartans finished the game with 315 yards rushing and 25 passing yards. The running game was balanced. Hennessey led the team with 131 yards and Rorabeck had a big night, gaining 100 yards on 14 carries. Klis and Raleigh combined for 83 yards from the halfback positions.

Larson said there were a number of players who stood out during the game. One was offensive lineman Luke Rivard, who stepped into a starting role after Dylan Schachtner was injured in practice last Wednesday.

"I was pleasantly surprised, those guys really came through," Larson said of the offensive line, which is all new this season.

The Spartan defense also came up strong. West Salem had 187 yards of offense, most of which came in the first drive and then in the final minutes of the game against the Spartan reserves.

This Friday the Spartans play their first home game of the season. Hayward will be the opponent in Friday's game. The Hurricanes also were winners in their opening game, beating Phillips.

Somerset 35, West Salem 14

Somerset 8 12 8 7 35

West Salem 6 0 8 0 14


WS -- Nathan Bruemmer, 2 yard run (kick failed)

Som -- Jake Rorabeck, 11 yard run (Rorabeck run)

Som -- Tom Hennessey, 2 yard run (run failed)

Som -- Hennessey, 1 yard run (pass failed)

Som -- Rorabeck, 35 yard run (Rorabeck run)

WS -- Jacob Pederson, 4 yard pass from Matthias Mulder (Andy Hesselberg run)

Som -- Rorabeck, 1 yard run (Dan Kirk kick)

Som WS

First Downs 16 9

Rushing Yards 315 50

Passing Yards 25 137

Passes 2-3-0 int. 12-22-1 int.

Penalties 8-65 7-45


Som -- Tom Hennessey 19-131, Jake Rorabeck 14-100, Billy Raleigh 8-45, Jeff Klis 5-38, Alex Sullivan 3-2, Brock Montpetit 1-(-1)


Som -- Jake Rorabeck 2-3-0 int., 25 yards


Som -- John Anderson 2-25

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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