Bluejays battered by Superior on the gridiron
By Jared Schmeltzer
The Merrill football team ran into a powerhouse of a team in Superior on Friday night, falling behind the Spartans 20-0 in the first quarter, on their way to a 36-0 loss.
The Jays have had their struggles against Superior in recent history, with a record of 0-5 against the Spartans dating back to 2014. In 2017 the Bluejays fell by a score of 20-10, which was their tightest contest. Merrill lost to Superior 38-14 in 2016, 50-20 in 2015 and 31-7 back in 2014.
Superior got off to a red hot start in the first quarter, scoring their first touchdown at the 5:24 mark. It took the Spartans only 43 seconds to strike again, as they broke off a 37-yard touchdown run to extend their lead to 13-0. One more Superior touchdown with 55 seconds left in the first quarter gave them a commanding 20-0 lead over Merrill.
The Bluejay defense played a tough second quarter, holding the Spartans scoreless until the 1:55 mark, where Superior’s Caden Stone took the ball to the endzone on a 10-yard run. The Spartans final score of the contest came in early in the third quarter, as Carter Fonger took it to the house on a 56-yard run.
Superior’s offense was tough to stop for Merrill, as the Spartans racked up 237 rushing yard and 142 yards through the air. Merrill’s Caleb Timm led the team in tackles for the second straight week, totaling six, with one tackle for a loss. Connor Mootz got in on the action, tallying three tackles and an assisted tackle, while Merrill’s Caleb Gebert had three tackles and two assisted tackles.
The Jays offense was only able to muster up 164 total yards of offense, with all of them coming from the ground game. Merrill did a nice job getting a lot of people involved in the run game, with Caleb DeJong leading the offensive attack with 48 yards on 12 carries. Nick Zastrow ran for 41 yards on eight attempts, Eddie Collinsworth totaled 41 yards on 14 touches and Mason Vandervelde racked up 34 yards on seven runs.
Next up for the Jays will be the War on 64, as they travel to Antigo on Friday to face-off with the neighboring Red Robins. The Bluejays will be seeking revenge, as they fell to the Red Robins in the 2018 season finale by a score of 28-8.