Lions too often fail to finish during loss to Superlarks

LEFT: Kyle Hagen catches a pass over the middle behind Grand Meadow defender Taylor Glynn. Hagen scored the lone Lion touchdown with a 29-yard sideline reception and run. RIGHT: Caden Grinde makes dazzling, leaping reception in front of Superlark defender. Photos by Cheryl Patterson
S. Lee Epps

It was a tougher task than usual at the 2019 Homecoming football game at Spring Grove, a 21-7 loss to Grand Meadow on Oct. 4. 

Both teams were able to move the ball, but only one was able to consistently finish drives. Spring Grove was able to cash in on only one of four serious scoring opportunities. The Superlarks, however, were able to finish and score on each of their three lengthy drives - all in the first half.

The Lions, with a 33-yard, third-down pass from Chandler Bergrud to Kyle Hagen, marched 55 yards with the opening possession down to the GM 25 before the Larks held on downs.

Three plays later, Caden Grinde forced a fumble (recovered by Payton Leahy) near midfield. But that would be the only first-half failure for the Superlarks.

While the Lions were going three-and-out (punting) on their next five opportunities, Grand Meadow would score on three straight possessions - covering 84, 58 and 51 yards - to take a 21-0 lead into halftime.

The second half was a reversal of roles. The Larks languished in punt city, while the Lions launched 72, 58 and 66-yard drives. 

With the deep, three-touchdown halftime deficit, Spring Grove needed a lockdown defense and at least three scores. The Lions successfully defended their own goal line and created three good scoring opportunities. But they would only reach the end zone once.

The Boys in Black would run 11 plays before running out of downs at the Superlark 13 yard-line.

The Lions finally found the end zone early in the fourth quarter. Wide receiver Isaac Griffin completed a trick-play, 23-yard pass to Grinde, which set up a 29-yard TD toss from quarterback Chandler Bergrud to Kyle Hagen. Griffin kicked the extra point. (21-7).

Then on their next possession the Lions again drove 11 plays down to the GM 22 before a second-down pass was intercepted near the goal line, the only Lion turnover of the game.

The Superlarks earned three first downs back to midfield while running out the clock.

Pass versus run

Grand Meadow attempted only five passes (completing 3 for 41 yards), but the Larks averaged 6.2 yards per handoff (274 yards). Spring Grove ran 24 times for 72 yards and passed 24 times for 183 yards.


Bergrud, who was featured in an Oct. 5 football article in the Rochester Post Bulletin, entered the game as the sub-district leader in all passing categories - completions, yardage, touchdowns and quarterback rating. Friday night, the senior signal caller completed 13 of 23 for 160 yards, including the TD toss.

Three receivers, who were also included in the Post Bulletin article, had all of Friday's receptions. Grinde and Griffin each had an outstanding leaping grab, while Hagen scored the only touchdown with a reception and determined sideline sprint to the pylon.

Grinde (57 yards) and Hagen (85 yards, TD) each had five receptions while Griffin caught four passes (41 yards). Grinde came into the game as the sub-district co-leader in receptions with 34 and second in receiving yardage (467 yards).

Mitchell Reynolds handled ball-carrying duty with 11 carries for 79 yards.

Hagen and John Koch each were in on 13 tackles and Carson Gavin 12. Grinde had 9 tackles (7 solo), including the forced fumble. Leahy had 7 stops (4 solo) in addition to the fumble recovery.

Superlark sophomore Dusty Copley ran 21 times for 134 yards, including 3 and 5-yard TD carries.

Junior quarterback Evan Oehlke scored on a 40-yard scamper, kicked all three extra points and averaged over 38 yards on his three punts.

On defense for GM, Luke Speer had 12 tackles (9 solo) with 10 each for fellow juniors Daniel Smith and Taylor Glynn.

Stats close, score not so

Grand Meadow outgained Spring Grove by only 60 yards (315 to 255) and held a slim 13-to-11 margin in first downs. Each team had only one turnover.

The Superlarks controlled the first half, and the Lions controlled the second half - except for scoring. In "red-zone" efficiency (inside opponent 20 yard-line), Grand Meadow was 2 for 2 and Spring Grove 0 for 2.

"When you can hold a team as explosive as Spring Grove is to just seven points, you've got to be very happy," GM coach Gary Sloan told KFIL Radio. 

It was the Lions' fewest points since a 35-7 loss to Grand Meadow in the 2015 section finals

Both teams came in with identical 4-1 season records and 3-1 sub-district marks. But the Larks left at 5-1, while the 4-2 Lions, barring major upsets, were eliminated from the regular-season race.

Grand Meadow snapped a three-game losing streak against the Lions. The Superlarks now lead the all-time series 32 to 10.

The B-team (3-0) remained undefeated with a 36-6 lashing of the Superlarks. See complete coverage in another web site article. Grand Meadow defeated the Mabel-Canton/Spring Grove junior high boys, 40-13.

This week and next

The Lions travel to Lyle on Friday, Oct. 11 to take on Lyle/Pacelli (1-5). The Athletics, after snapping a 32-game losing streak two games ago, are coming off last Friday's 14-6 loss to Kingsland. New to 9-man football, the Knights won for only the third time in their last 67 games.


The regular season ends on Wednesday, Oct. 16, back at Blayne Onsgard Memorial Field against 9-man newcomer and state-ranked Southland (currently 5-1, 4-1). That mid-week finale will go far in determining playoff seeds two through five.

Spring Grove 7, Grand Meadow 21

GM—0—21—0---0 = 21

SG----0----0---0----7 = 7



total (rush + pass)

>>SG 255 (72+183)

>>GM 315 (274+41)


>>SG 24-72 (3.0 avg.)

>>GM 44-274 (6.2) 3TD

Passes- comp-attempts- interceptions

>>SG 14-24-1, 183 yards, TD 

>>GM 3-5-0, 41 yards 

SacksAllowed: SG 2, GM 0

TotalPlays: SG 48, GM 49

Avg. Yardsperplay: SG 5.3, GM 6.4 

FumblesLost: SG 2-0, GM 2-1 

Turnovers: SG 1, GM 1

Penalties: SG 2-18, GM 3-28

3rdDowns: SG 3 for 11, GM 8 for 12

4thDowns: SG 1 for 4, GM 1 for 1

RedZone: SG 0 for 2, GM 2 for 2

FirstDowns: SG 11, GM 13 

Plays of 20+ yards: SG 5, GM 3 


SG Individuals

RUSHING:Mitchell Reynolds 11-79 yards: Chandler Bergrud 10-3; Isaac Griffin 1-1; team 2(-11)

PASSING:Bergrud 13-23-1, 160 yards, TD; Isaac Griffin 1-1-0, 23 yards

RECEIVING:  Kyle Hagen 5-85 yards, TD; Caden Grinde 5-57; Isaac Griffin 4-41



FUMBLE RECOVERIES: Payton Leahy 1 no return

FUMBLES FORCED: Caden Grinde 1

SACKS: none

KICK-OFF RETURNS:Caden Grinde 1-32 yards, Isaac Griffin 1-19, Mitchell Reynolds 1-4 

PUNT RETURNS:Caden Grinde 3–5 yards

PUNTING:Caden Grinde 4-117 (29.3 average)

TACKLES (solo + assists):Kyle Hagen 13 (6+7), John Koch 13 (4+9), Carson Gavin 12 (6+6), Caden Grinde 9 (7+2), Payton Leahy 7 (4+3), Isaac Griffin 4 (2+2), Tristan Hammel 2 (1+1), Wyatt Murphy 2 (0+2), Mitchell Reynolds 1 (1+0), Chandler Bergrud 1 (0+1)



LeRoy-Ostrander 5-0 (6-0 season)

Southland……….4-1 (5-1 season)

Grand Meadow…4-1 (5-1 season)

Houston…………4-2 (4-2 season)

Spring Grove…..3-2 (4-2 season)

Lanesboro………2-3 (2-4 season)

Kingsland……….1-4 (1-5 season)

Lyle/Pacelli……..1-5 (1-5 season)

Mabel-Canton…..0-6 (0-6 season)


Spring Grove Football 2019

7 p.m. kickoff / home games in bold, *sub-district games 

>>4 wins, 2 losses (3-2 sub-district)

W at GHEC/Truman 30-28     

L vs. LeRoy-Ostrander*22-53         

W at Mabel-Canton*42-22      

W vs.Kingsland*46-18

W at Houston*29-22   

L vs. Grand Meadow*7-21

10/11   at Lyle/Pacelli* (Lyle)

10/16   Southland*


B-team football

>>3 wins, 1 loss (season complete)

W at Houston 26-8

W vs. LeRoy-Ostrander 36-6

W vs. Grand Meadow 36-6

L at Mabel-Canton 12-22


SG/Mabel-Canton junior high football

>>2 wins, 3 losses

L vs. Kingsland 0-33

L at Houston 0-7

W at Lyle/Pacelli 20-19

W vs. Lansing Kee 40-6

L vs. Grand Meadow 13-40