Kick return touchdowns were the difference on the scoreboard. Both offenses scored once; the teams had back-to-back kickoff return touchdowns. The game winner for Grand Meadow was Dustin Copley’s 71-yard punt return to the end zone on the final play of the third quarter – the only touchdown of the second half of the 20-17 thriller at Blayne Onsgard Memorial Field on Sept. 24.
In the first half, Spring Grove (2-1, 2-1 sub-district) did not score on 75 and 70-yard drives. The first disappointment ended on downs at the GM 5 yard-line, but two plays later, the drive led to a two-point safety when Grand Meadow recovered a loose fumble in its end zone. The Lions led 2-0 after that last play of the first quarter.
The second scoreless disappointment came at the end of a 10-play possession just 26 seconds before halftime with two almost-caught passes in the end zone. The Lions still led 17-12 at halftime, but that would not be enough to survive. Grove managed only one first down in the defense-dominated second half. The Superlarks (3-1, 2-1 sub-district) had only one second-half first down until earning three more while consuming the final four minutes of play and taking a knee at the Lion 5 yard-line.
The fireworks all came with three touchdowns scored within 28 seconds of clock time in the second period. After the safety, the Lions capped a 10-play, 43-yard drive with a 1-yard TD run by Hunter Holland. Elijah Solum hit Carson Gerard with a two-point conversion pass, and the Lions led 10-0. Then Copley ran the kickoff back 83 yards to make it 10-6. Tysen Grinde returned the favor by taking the next kickoff 89 yards. With the conversion kick by Caleb Griffin, the Lions were ahead 17-6. But the Larks responded with a 60-yard scoring drive with Copley carrying the final eight yards to make it 17-12 three minutes before halftime.
Before defenses took control after intermission, Solum had come up with six big pass completions for 35, 30, 30, 18, 27 and 15 yards. Meanwhile, Grand Meadow was getting it done on the ground. The Larks finished with 190 rushing yards and only one pass completion for 12 yards. Solum, who came in with the sub-district’s top quarterback rating, closed with 15 completions on 28 attempts with no interceptions for 207 yards. But with 22 yards deducted for sacks, Grove closed with only 30 rushing yards, but that included the only offensive touchdown play. Overall, the Lions outgained the visitors, 237 yards to 202. There were no turnovers all game, but there were 10 punts (SG 7, GM 3) and five possessions that died on downs (SG 2, GM 3).
The special teams yardage was the real difference with Copley’s 83-yard kickoff-return TD and 71-yard punt-return score. He scored all 20 GM points, including a two-point conversion run that completed all the scoring. Grinde, in addition to his 89-yard kickoff runback, also reeled in six passes for 86 yards. Jaxon Strinmoen had four receptions for 72 yards. GM quarterback Taylor Glynn was the night’s leading rusher with 119 yards on 17 carries.
Solum, at linebacker, led Lion tacklers with 13 stops while Gerard and Reid Bjerke each had 10 tackles. Strinmoen had two tackles-for-loss, including the lone Lion sack. Spring Grove displayed great improvement in ball-handling with no fumbles after five bobbles in each of the first two games. But the Lions look back at missed opportunities – almost coming up with a recovery for a touchdown (instead of a safety) and twice failing to score after penetrating the GM 5 yard-line.
It was the Superlarks’ fourth straight win in the series they now lead, 35 wins to 10.
The Lion B-team did not play their first three scheduled games due to COVID. A deluge of rain ended the junior high game with Mabel-Canton leading 32-25 in the second half at Blayne Onsgard. The junior high Lions (1-1) had edged LeRoy-Ostrander, 40-33, in their exciting season opener.
Grand Meadow 20, SG 17
SG—2—15—0—0 = 17
GM—0—12—8—0 = 20
SG 2-1, (2-1 sub-district); GM 3-1, (2-1 sub-district)
YARDAGE: (rush + pass) SG 237 (30+207); GM 202 (190+12)
RUSHING: att.-yards (avg.) SG 25-30 (1.2 ) TD; GM 44-190 (4.3) TD
PASSES: comp-att-int, yds. (TD) SG 15-28-0, 207 yds. + PAT; GM 1-5-0, 12 yds.
Sacks allowed: SG 4, GM 1
TD: SG 2 (1 rush, 1 KOR); GM 3 (1 rush, 1 KOR, 1 PR)
PAT: SG 2-2 (1-1 pas, 1-1 kick); GM 1-3 (0-1 kick, 1-2 run)
TOTAL PLAYS: SG 53, GM 49
AVG. yards per play: SG 4.5, GM 4.1
FUMBLES – LOST: SG 0-0, GM 1-0
TURNOVERS: SG 0, GM 0
PENALTIES: SG 4-33, GM 4-30
3rd downs: SG 2-11, GM 2-10
4th downs: SG 0-2, GM 1-4
Red zone: SG 1-3, GM 1-3
First downs: SG 10, GM 11
Plays of 20+ yards: SG 4, GM 1
RUSHING 25-30: Hunter Holland 11-30, TD; Reid Bjerke 2-9; Caleb Griffin 2-1; Elijah Solum 10-(-10)
PASSING: Elijah Solum 15-28-0, 207 yds. +PAT
RECEIVING 15-207: Tysen Grinde 6-86; Jaxon Strinmoen 4-72; Carson Gerard 3-28 +PAT; Reid Bjerke 1-15; Caleb Griffin 1-6
SCORING 17: Hunter Holland 6, Tysen Grinde 6, Carson Gerard 2, Hunter Holland 1, team safety 2
PUNTING: Tysen Grinde 7- 201 (28.7 avg.)
INTERCEPTIONS: none; PASS BREAKUPS: none; BLOCKED PUNTS: none; FUMBLE RECOVERIES: none; FUMBLES FORCED: none
SACKS 1: Jaxson Strinmoen 1
TACKLES for LOSS (incl. sacks) 6: Jaxon Strinmoen 2.0, Carson Gerard 2.0, Camron Kraus 1.0, Logan Brumm 0.5, Noah Blackburn 0.5
TACKLES (solo + assists): Elijah Solum 13 (9+4), Carson Gerard 10 (4+6), Reid Bjerke 10 (3+7), Noah Blackburn 5 (4+1), Caleb Griffin 5 (3+2), Jaxon Strinmoen 4 (3+1), Camron Kraus 3 (3+0), Hunter Holland 3 (2+1), Bryce Berns 3 (1+2), Tysen Grinde 3 (1+2), Logan Brumm 2 (0+2)
KICKOFF RETURNS: Tysen Grinde 3-123, TD; Hunter Holland 2-36
PUNT RETURNS: Tysen Grinde 1-17
RUSHING 44-190: Taylor Glynn 17-119; Dustin Copley 20-40, TD; Corbin Ludemann 4-37; Team 3-(-6)
PASSING: Taylor Glynn 1-5-0, 12 yards
RECEIVING: Jace Kraft 1-12
XP KICKING: Taylor Glynn 0-1
SCORING 20: Dustin Copley 20
PUNTING: Dustin Copley 3-125 (41.7 avg.)
FUMBLE RECOVERIES: none
FUMBLES FORCED: none
KICKOFF RETURNS: Dustin Copley 1-83, TD; Jace Kraft 2-29
PUNT RETURNS: Dustin Copley 3-115, TD
Spring Grove football 2021
1-0 (1-0 sub-district)
7:00 p.m. kickoff unless noted (series records go back to 1949)
W at Houston 14-0 (Lions lead series 43-30-2)
Sat. Sept. 11 Lyle/Pacelli, CANCELED (SG won last year 36-22; Lions have won last 14, lead series 17-2)
W 28-26 at Mabel-Canton (Lions have won last 17; Cougars lead series 36-26)
L vs. Grand Meadow 17-20 (GM has won the last four; GM leads series 35-10)
Fri. Oct. 1 Southland (have not played in 20 years; Rebels lead series 10-2)
Fri. Oct. 8 at LeRoy-Ostrander (L-O won last year 42-16; Cardinals lead series 14-13)
Fr. Oct. 15 Kingsland (SG won last year 34-8; Lions lead series 2-0)
Wed. Oct. 20 at Lanesboro (Burros won last year 36-14; Lions lead series 27-22-3)
>>B-team football (1 win, 0 losses)
at Mabel-Canton, canceled
at Kingsland, canceled
W at Houston 20-12
Mon. Oct. 4 at Grand Meadow
Mon. Oct. 11 Lanesboro
>>Junior high football (2 wins, 1 loss)
W vs. LeRoy-Ostrander 40-33
Mon. Sept. 13 at Kingsland, canceled
L vs. Mabel-Canton 25-32 (storm ended game in second half)
W at Houston 39-6
Mon. Oct. 11 Lanesboro
Mon. Oct. 18 at Southland