Grinders battle Panthers Friday night

Coming off a lopsided homecoming loss to Onalaska last week, the Sparta football team is looking get back on track.
The Spartans victory over La Crosse Central Sept. 11 was their first victory of the season and their first road win since 2007, but Sparta’s streak was cut short just a week later in a 44-14 Mississippi Valley Conference loss to Onalaska.
West Salem enters Friday’s MVC match-up winless in three MVC games, but the Panthers have played well since their first victory – a 34-7 defeat of Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau in late August.
West Salem rolled to a 40-13 victory Sparta a season ago, but Sparta will be looking for a little revenge when the two teams hit the field Friday night.
“Last year, we were unable to match-up against their size on the offensive line,” offered Blaha.
‘They again will be bigger that us on both lines,” he continued. “We will have to use our quickness to counter their size.”
Blaha said the Panthers have an explosive pistol-option offense that operates out of a one-back formation.
“Quarterback Tim Schauf has run and passed for more than 100 yards in multiple games and is one of the area’s best dual threats,” he added. “Defensively, the run mainly a four-man front and are stout across the line.”
While they remain winless in three MVC starts, the Panthers played well before last week’s 40-25 loss at Holmen.
West Salem suffered a narrow 20-17 loss at Tomah in the conference opener Sept. 4 and fell to 29-28 to Onalaska in overtime a week later.
“We need to limit our turnovers, start strong in all three phases of the game and keep West Salem from having explosive plays,” concluded Blaha.
Friday’s MVC match-up between the Spartans and the Panthers will get underway at 7 p.m. at West Salem High School.

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