Spartans extinguish Holy Family Fire
The Spartans dealt the Holy Family Fire its first loss on the football team’s home field in four years.
Orono evened its record at 2-2 with the win against Holy Family Catholic Sept. 21. The final score was 24-16.
“That’s quite a nice streak to break,” said Orono Coach Jeff Weiland. “I take my hat off to our kids who really worked hard for this one.”
The Spartans scored on their first drive of the game, going 80 yards in eight plays.
Junior Anders Knutson went 26 yards on a screen pass for the game’s first score. A key play in the drive was a 31-yard pass from junior Ben Turnham to senior Koller Adzick.
“The pass to Koller was key because Holy Family was really playing tight man to man defense and that pass seemed to loosen them up a little,” Weiland noted.
Orono’s next score was on an 89-yard kick-off return by Koller Adzick. That score came on the heels of a Holy Family touchdown drive of 73 yards on 13 plays.
“Our defense was reeling a little bit, but Koller’s return really picked up our spirits,” Weiland noted.
The Spartans’ next touchdown was also set up by a special teams play. The Fire fumbled the opening kick of the second half and the Spartans marched 27 yards on seven plays. Senior Tom Wachman finished the drive with a five-yard touchdown run.
The final score for Orono came on an eight-play 60-yard drive at the end of the third quarter. Junior Sam Challgren caught a Turnham pass for 35 yards and the game-winning touchdown. On the night, Turnham was nine for 15 for 197 yards and two touchdowns. Turnham spread the ball to five different receivers. Challgren caught three for 73 yards, Wachman had two for 50 yards, Knutson had two for 31 yards, and Adzick and Dan Willson each caught one pass. Challgren also led all rushers with 43 yards on 10 carries. Wachman contributed 37 yards on 11 carries and Adzick had 12 yards on 4 carries. The top blockers in the game were senior Jake Anderson and senior Marcus Rosendahl.
According to Weiland, the Spartan defense faced the most unique offense he has ever seen.
“They are primarily an option running team, but they spread you out in bizarre formations and force you to play assignment football,” Weiland noted. “Our kids did a great job playing team defense and we got the job done.”
The Spartans surrendered 302 total yards, but contained the explosive Fire offense to just two plays of more than 20 yards.
“On film they had 10 runs of over 50 yards in two games. We told the kids if we could stop their explosive plays, we would make it tough for them to beat us,” Weilend noted.
The Spartans we also able to force three Fire turnovers, the last coming on a Chandler Perry interception with less than a minute to go in the game. \
“Chandler may have had the best two minutes of his life late in the game,” Weiland noted.
Holy Family forced the Spartans to punt with 1:18 left in the game. The snap flew over Perry’s head and he chased the ball down and got the punt off with a man hanging around his waist. While the punt only covered 10 yards, it avoided a major loss and the defense was able to stop Holy Family’s last attempt to tie the game.
Six Spartan defenders had more 20 defensive points, led by inside linebackers senior Austin Hilgenberg and junior Charlie Schmid with 38 points each.
Senior Nick Adzick (21), senior Zach Grochowski (20), junior Chandler Perry (26), and junior Derek Meyer (22) were the other Spartan defenders above 20 points on the night.
“The defensive line did a good job controlling the line of scrimmage allowing the LB’s to make plays on the quarterback keep plays in their option offense,” Weiland noted.
The linemen included senior Zach Mahan, junior Gunnar Olson, Anders Knutson, senior Dylan Baier and, at times, Austin Hilgenberg.
“Austin is so versatile we can drop him down on the line in pass rush situations,” Weiland noted. “That gave us a big advantage on long yardage downs.”
The Spartans face conference and section foe Delano Sept. 28 at Delano.
“Delano has a great football tradition and this year’s team may be one of their best in recent memory,” Weiland noted. “They are big, physical, and execute very well. This is a big game for us because they are in our play-off section. Our guys are really looking forward to the challenge.”
The Spartans will return home Oct. 5th for their homecoming game against Mound Westonka.
ORONO: 26 YD PASS FROM TURNHAM TO KNUTSON (PASS FAILED)
HOLY FAMILY: 8 YD RUN BY RIDDLE (COPPENS KICK)
ORONO: 89 YD KICK-OFF RETURN BY K. ADZICK (PASS FAILED)
HOLY FAMILY: 11 YARD PASS FROM BAKER TO HANSOOM (KICK FAILED)
ORONO: 5 YD RUN BY WACHMAN (PASS FAILED)
ORONO: 35 YD PASS FROM TURNHAM TO CHALLGREN (RUN FAILED)
HOLY FAMILY: 15 YARD FIELD GOAL BY COPPENS