Freshman football team handles Holmen
Sparta erased a two-touchdown deficit to score a come-from-behind victory over Holmen in Mississippi Valley Conference freshman football action at Memorial Field.
Sparta trailed 18-6 early in the second half, but rallied to score a pair of touchdowns and a safety to pull off a 22-18 win over the Vikings.
After a scoreless first quarter, a Sparta fumble gave Holmen the football at the Spartan 32-yard line.
Kevin Koelbl ripped off a 22-yard run for Holmen, before Shane Roth hit paydirt from two yards out to give the Vikings a 6-0 lead with 4:48 left in the half.
The lead was short-lived, however, as Luke Wendorf took the ensuing kickoff and returned it 79 yards for a Spartan touchdown to tie the score at 6-6.
Holmen answered with an eight-play, 56-yard drive that culminated with a four-yard touchdown run by Tatum Grass, giving the Vikings a 12-6 lead at the half.
The Vikings increased their advantage early in the second half, when Koelbl scored on a 56-yard run on the second play of the third quarter to put Holmen on top 18-6.
The Spartans overcame an untimely penalty on their next drive, to pull within a touchdown of the Vikings with the help of a 36-yard touchdown pass from Jayden Raymer to Nick Church.
Sparta opened the drive on its own 39 and moved the ball well early with the help of four nice runs by Bryce Edwards, an 11-yard gain by Wendorf and a three-yard run by Raymer.
After an incomplete pass on first down, Sparta was tagged with a 10-yard penalty that pushed Sparta back to the Viking 36.
That’s when Raymer found Church for the long touchdown pass and Garet Pfaff’s two-point conversion run cut the deficit to 18-14.
Raymer’s ensuing kickoff pinned the Vikings inside their own 10-yard line and helped fuel a big defensive stand for the Spartans.
Sparta’s defense forced Holmen into a punting situation and the snap sailed over the punter’s head for a safety that cut the Viking lead to 18-16 with just under five minutes left in the third quarter.
After both teams were forced to punt again, Sparta took over possession on its own 30-yard line.
On the first play of the drive, Wendorf broke loose for a 69-yard run to the Holmen one-yard line.
After a five-yard penalty and a three-yard loss, Sparta found itself in a fourth-and-goal situation on the Holmen nine-yard line.
The Spartans prevailed, however, when Wendorf hauled in Raymer’s pass in the end zone for the game-winner.
Sparta finished with 213 yards on the ground, while Holmen had 234 yards rushing.
Through the air, Raymer completed four of seven passes for 68 yards and two touchdowns, while Wendorf added 115 yards on six carries and Edwards carried the ball 11 times for 57 yards and a touchdown.