Lion net, grid seasons open this week

S. Lee Epps

Preseason scrimmages are behind the Spring Grove football and volleyball teams with both engaging in season openers this week. Both the girls and boys are in action this Thursday (Aug. 29) - the girls at home and the boys away in the west. 

Volleyball opens

After the Herald went to press, the Lion girls opened the 2019 campaign at Randolph on Tuesday of this week. The Rockets (1-0) were coming off a 3-2 non-conference win against Blooming Prairie.

Thursday’s volleyball home opener is against LeRoy-Ostrander (0-1). The Cardinals dropped their season opener 3-0 at state-ranked Mabel-Canton. 

It will be a busy week for the girls as they move on to defend their championship of the annual Labor Day Saturday Mabel-Canton Tournament.

Net scrimmages

On Aug. 20, the Lions scrimmaged at Lewiston-Altura against both the home team Class AA Cardinals, Class AA La Crescent-Hokah and Class A Rushford-Peterson.

Coach Kelsey Morken said the Lions acquitted themselves very well against the considerably larger schools.

On Aug. 23, the bus went to Century High School in Rochester where Spring Grove scrimmaged again versus R-P and L-A as well as Class A Chatfield and Class AAA Century. Again, the Lions performed well. B-team scrimmages were also held on both trips.

Football opener

The 2019 season begins for the two-time defending state 9-man football champions this Thursday (Aug. 29) at Truman versus Granada-Huntley-East Chain/Truman. 

Truman and G-H-EC were separate football teams when Spring Grove last faced Truman. In 2006, the Lions hosted and battered the Blue Jays 50-22 before the 42-24 road win at Truman in 2007. 

The GHEC/T Jaguars come into this Thursday's game on a 16-game losing streak, including last year’s loss to Mabel-Canton. Meanwhile, the Lions have won 28 straight. The 21-player Jaguar roster lists four seniors, five juniors, seven sophomores and five freshmen.

The Spring Grove home opener follows on Friday, Sept. 6 versus LeRoy-Ostrander.

Gridiron scrimmages

At the annual 9-man scrimmages at Grand Meadow last Saturday morning, the Lions faced in order Lanesboro, Kingsland and Mabel-Canton. The Grove guys scored nine times - three touchdowns against each opponent while giving up two touchdowns to the Knights, one to the Cougars and none to the Burros.

Chandler Bergrud completed 20 of 31 passes (65%) for four touchdowns with one interception. Six Lions caught passes, including nine by Caden Grinde. 

Kyle Hagen had five receptions and one TD. Isaac Griffin scored touchdowns with both of his two deep catches - the first while out-leaping two Lanesboro defenders. 

Tyler Kersten snared two passes, scoring once. Carson Gavin and Mitchell Reynolds each had one reception.

Reynolds scored four of the five rushing touchdowns; Bergrud scored on a one-yard quarterback sneak. Reid Bjerke highlighted his football debut with an interception against Mabel-Canton.