2009 captains: from left - Dakotah Rostad, Joe Morken, Cody Colsch and Luke Deters.
2009 captains: from left - Dakotah Rostad, Joe Morken, Cody Colsch and Luke Deters.
In the 2017 state title game (Prep Bowl at U. S. Bank Stadium), Spring Grove did something that no other team from any school had managed to do in more than nine years - shut out the Nevis Tigers (32-0).

The Park Rapids Enterprise called it a dream season for Nevis, which had not been held scoreless since October of 2008 - and like Spring Grove - was playing in its first state championship football game.

The Tigers, with a veteran senior lineup, had defeated three state-ranked opponents during the regular season.

But the Lions had also been tested by state-ranked rivals with two wins over both defending state champion Grand Meadow and defending state runner-up Cleveland/Immanuel. The Lions had also turned away state-ranked Houston and Randolph during the regular season before eliminating No. 3 Verndale (34-6) and No. 8 Stephen-Argyle Central (27-7) in the state tournament. No. 6 Nevis was the seventh state-ranked foe and ninth win over a state-ranked squad in 14 games.

Realizing that Spring Grove has had one of the best 9-man football teams in the state for several seasons, finally winning it all was especially gratifying.

Spring Grove's first state football championship in the fall of 2017 came on the heels of the 2017 spring trap team bringing home the first state team title for a team comprised solely of Spring Grove students.

Seven athletes were part of both state championships - All-State shooter George Boyd plus All-State gridders Sam Sanness and Cullen Patterson along with Kyle Hagen, Takoda Boyd, Tristan Hammel and Brandon Anderson.

Patterson and Sanness, both seniors, were joined on the 9-man All-State Team by juniors Ethan Matzke and KFIL Radio Male Athlete of the Month (November) Alex Folz. Another junior, Noah Elton, received Honorable Mention. That brings the First Team All-State total to 12 (plus two honorable mentions) during the 15 seasons of 9-man football.

In state tournament seasons, there were Iver Otterness and Tim Morken in 2003, followed by Eli Gleason and Aric Elton in 2011.

There have now been All-State honorees in each of the past three years, including Alex Engelhardt and Brady Schuttemeier in 2015 plus Brock Schuttemeier and Chase Grinde in 2016.

The 2017 sub-district championship was the Lions' 10th regular season crown - the first way back in 1951. There was then the back-to-back 1959 and 1960 titles, followed by the 1978 conference championship squad quarterbacked by the late Todd Oakes.

The last six league titles have all come during 9-man days - 2003, four straight from 2010 through 2013 and now 2017.

Three of those last half dozen have gone on to win section titles and state tourney berths - 2003, 2011 and 2017. The sensational 2003 season came off a 20-game losing streak and made it to the state semi-finals in the Metrodome before falling 19-16.

The 2011 Lions dropped a heartbreaking 8-7 decision in the state quarterfinal. There were no close encounters at state in 2017 with the Lions scoring 93 points and surrendering only 13 during the three state tournament games.

In last week's Herald, the Top 10 list of career passing yardage leaders was mislabeled. Trying again:

CAREER PASSING - top 10

Alex Folz................4,759 yds.

Colin Kurk.............3,975

Keenan Siminski....3,369

Todd Oakes............2,851

Reid Stone..............2,401

Sam Morken...........2,298

Blaine Storlie.........1,753

Brent Sherburne.....1,745

Chase Grinde.........1,693

Nels Solum............1,343

For those who enjoy Lion football lore and gridiron trivia, see how you fare with the following memory test.

TRUE or FALSE

1. Zach Hauser has had the longest tenure of any SG head coach

2. SG has had a winning record in every 9-man season

3. SG and Caledonia once had a shared football program

4. The only shutout of the 2017 season was in the state championship game

MULTIPLE CHOICE

5. The 2017 sub-district leader in fumble recoveries was

A. Adin Solum

B. Ethan Matzke

C. Sam Sanness

D. Taylor Holty



6. Spring Grove's 2017 and 2003 state quarterfinal games had what in common?

A. bitterly cold weather

B. played at neutral site

C. shutout scores

D. overtime



7. Who became starting quarterback one season after being the starting center?

A. Trevor Storlie

B. Sam Morken

C. Chase Stoltz

D. Dakotah Rostad



8. In 2006, Colin Kurk was the first starting quarterback in 25 years to be

A. sophomore

B. 6-foot-5

C. color blind

D. left-handed, right footed



9. He was a halfback (not a wide receiver or an end) but graduated as the school career and single season leader in every receiving category - receptions, yardage, touchdowns

A. Tom Ellingson

B. Josh Myhre

C. Chris Connelly

D. Jordan Goeden



10. Not counting Grand Meadow, the last team to defeat Spring Grove in the section tournament (2010) was

A. Lanesboro

B. Houston

C. Mabel-Canton

D. LeRoy-Ostrander



11. only one of these football teams has ever defeated Spring Grove

A. Alden-Conger

B. Randolph

C. Glenville-Emmons

D. Wabasha-Kellogg



12. Which team played its very first football game in Spring Grove

A. Hope Lutheran

B. West Lutheran

C. St. Cloud Cathedral

D. Lyle/Pacelli



13. SG quarterback Colin Kurk went on to play college basketball; so did

A. Sam Morken

B. Blaine Storlie

C. Jake Kraus

D. Dakotah Rostad



14. All have coached in Spring Grove, but only one played football in Spring Grove. He is

A. Wade Grinde

B. Kim Kapplinger

C. Pete Wennes

D. Dave Konz



15. The 2003 SG football team received a special commendation from

A. U.S. senator

B. Minnesota governor

C. City of Minneapolis

D. Minnesota Senate



16. Which SG MVP would later be a Lion line coach

A. Eric Morken

B. Jason Busta

C. Matt Landsom

D. Patrick Longmire



17. In 1997, Caledonia edged Spring Grove 21-19. SEC Defensive Player of the Year, All-Area and Lion MVP was

A. Nick Moen

B. Brad Groth

C. Greg Wiemerslage

D. Dean Happel



18. The top two single game rushing totals, 353 yards vs. Houston and 335 vs. Mabel-Canton came in the same season by the same runner

A. Andy Folz 2006

B. Patrick Longmire 2004

C. Cody Colsch 2009

D. Josh Olerud 2012



19. SG has lost all 10 football games played against

A. Lewiston-Altura

B. Rushford-Peterson

C. Southland

D. Fillmore Central



20. Alex Folz was the 2017 sub-district leader in both passing touchdowns and

A. Extra-point completions

B. Placekick scoring

C. Rushing by quarterback

D. Defensive interceptions



21. The only three-time Lion football MVP is

A. Aric Elton

B. Russ Bjerke

C. Chase Grinde

D. Todd Oakes



22. The first to rush for a 1,000 yards in a season was

A. Randy Ellingson

B. Paul Solberg

C. Cody Colsch

D. Don Nesheim



MATCHING

23. match these 2017 games

1. Cleveland/Immanuel Luther ................A. lightning delay

2. Lanesboro............................................ B. overtime

3. Houston ...............................................C. snowfall

4. Verndale...............................................D. Homecoming



24. Match these Lion alums with their college football teams

1. Sam Morken ................................A. Vermillion Comm. College

2. Andy Folz ....................................B. Bemidji State

3. Ron Holty ....................................C. Minnesota

4. Josh Olerud...................................D.Wisconsin- River Falls

5. Zach Sanness............................... E. Luther College

6. Kaare Sanness..............................F. St. Cloud State



25. Match

1. Ron Holty.......................A. 1980 Longest SG punt

2. Nick Holty......................B. 1988 Honorable Mention All-State

3. Taylor Holty...................C. 2013 SEC Lineman of the Year

4. Jim Holty........................D. 2017 SG tackle leader



26. Match these career leaders

1. Brady Schuttemeier............A. Sacks

2. Aric Elton...........................B. receptions

3. Chase Grinde......................C. interceptions (defense)

4. Alex Engelhardt..................D. tackles

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ANSWERS

TRUE or FALSE

1. true (11 seasons)

2. false (10 winning,4 losing, 1 tie)

3. true (1990 & 1991)

4. true

MULTIPLE CHOICE

5. C

6. A

7. D

8. A

9. C

10. A

11. D

12. B

13. B

14. C

15. C

16. A

17. A

18. D

19. B

20. B

21. A (others 2 times)

22. D (1949)

MATCHING

23.) 1B, 2D, 3A, 4C

24.) 1D, 2F, 3C, 4E, 5A, 6B

25.) 1B, 2C, 3D, 4A

26.) 1A, 2D, 3C, 4B