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Somerset football hosts Prescott Friday in second round of WIAA playoffs

Somerset’s Heaven Hunt (11) breaks into the open for good yardage on a punt return during the Spartans’ 51-20 win over Northland Pines on Friday. 1 / 3
Somerset junior fullback Andrew King runs for a first down during Friday’s 51-20 victory. King was one of the many Spartan reserves who saw substantial playing time because the game became one-sided so quickly. 2 / 3
Somerset halfback Brody Penman broke several tackles to score on a 22-yard run, on his only carry in Somerset's one-sided win over Northland Pines.3 / 3

The Somerset football team inflicted one of the most one-sided, hellacious beatings in Spartan football history on Friday night.

In Somerset’s first nine offensive plays from scrimmage, the team scored six touchdowns, including scoring on four consecutive offensive plays. With less than 11 minutes of the game completed, Somerset had already built a 45-0 lead over Northland Pines in the WIAA Division 4 playoff opener on Friday.

Somerset’s starters didn’t play again after the first quarter. The Spartan coaches emptied the benches, with freshmen playing most of the fourth quarter in the 51-20 win over the Eagles.

Somerset advanced to the second round of the Division 4 playoffs with the win. The Spartans, the second seed in the regional bracket, will host Prescott at 7 p.m. this Friday. Prescott is the third seed in the bracket.

The fear among the Somerset coaches is that Friday’s lopsided win did more harm than good.

“For the older kids, it’s a false sense of security,” said Somerset coach Bruce Larson. “We were better off last year when we got a competitive first game (a 27-0 win over Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau).”

The Spartan coaches said it was difficult to gauge how well their team played because Northland Pines was having so many difficulties. The Eagles are a passing program, but injuries at quarterback and receiver left them punchless on Friday.

The Spartans scored on their second play from scrimmage when quarterback Adam Marty found halfback Aaron Moore open for a 44-yard touchdown pass. The next Spartan offensive play produced a 22-yard sweep for a touchdown by halfback Dallas Johnson. Marty and Moore hooked up on another touchdown pass, this time for 33 yards, on the Spartans next play. The fourth straight play that resulted in a touchdown was on a 17-yard blast by fullback Max Praschak following a lengthy punt return by Heaven Hunt.

There was nearly a fifth straight touchdown, but Marty was pushed out of bounds after a long run at the Northland Pines 4-yard line. Praschak scored on the next play.

The sixth Spartan touchdown of the first quarter came from halfback Brody Penman. He ran over several would-be tacklers to score from 22 yards out, raising the lead to 45-0 with 1:12 left in the first quarter.

The rest of the game was a series of young Spartans being mixed into the game as the coaches looked for a merciful way to get through the game. Junior Max Becher, the team’s third quarterback, scored on a 28-yard run in the third quarter.

By the end of the game, the Spartans had gone six deep at most positions, including quarterback. Fourteen different runners got chances to carry the ball.

Larson said getting the young players some game time was the only beneficial thing he could find from a game that turned out this one-sided.

The Spartans won’t have it so easy this week. Prescott upset Somerset 27-12 in 2011 and the Somerset coaches respect the energy Prescott brings every time it plays in Somerset. Prescott has one of the largest front lines among teams in the Middle Border Conference. Larson said he doesn’t expect another game like the 30-0 win the Spartans produced over Prescott in the fourth week of the season.

“They’re a very familiar foe and that makes them dangerous,” Larson said. “They lost to Ellsworth on a field goal on the last play of the game. They have obviously gotten a lot better.”

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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