Grinders end season with MVC loss at Holmen
The Viking offense poured it on in the opening half Friday, scoring five unanswered touchdowns en route to a 41-12 victory over Sparta in Mississippi Valley Conference football action at Holmen.
The victory gave Holmen a share of the 2015 MVC title with La Crosse Logan.
Zac Rusk ignited the Vikings on offense midway through the first quarter when he broke loose for a 33-yard touchdown run to put Holmen on top 7-0.
Abe Molling capitalized on a turnover on Sparta’s next drive, scooping up a Spartan fumble and running 30 yards for another Holmen touchdown.
Kyle Koelbl tacked on another Viking score with 2:08 left in the opening quarter, when he hit paydirt from six yards out to increase Holmen’s advantage to 21-0 entering the second quarter.
Rusk scored two more touchdowns in the second quarter – one from 34 yards out and another on a 21-yard run – allowing the Vikings to take a 35-0 lead into the locker room at the half.
The offensive onslaught continued in the third quarter, as Seth Wilson scored on a 53-yard run to up the Viking advantage to 41-0.
Sparta finally got on the board with just under six minutes remaining in the third quarter, when Brett VonRuden blocked a Holmen punt and recovered the ball in the end zone.
With only 10 seconds left in the third frame, Jaret Sullivan scored on a 21-yard touchdown run to cut the Viking lead to 41-12.
Both teams failed to score in the fourth quarter, allowing Holmen to coach to the conference win.
Sparta finished with just 173 yards on the offense, including 131 on the ground, while Holmen racked up 394 total yards – 386 of which came on the ground.
Sawyer Brown led Sparta’s rushing attack with 48 yards on three carries, while Sullivan added 43 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries and completed four of 14 passes for 42 yards, including a 30-yarder to Brown.
Rusk carried the ball seven times for 112 yards and three touchdowns to lead Holmen’s potent rushing attack, while Wilson finished with 112 yards and one touchdown on a dozen carries.
The Spartans finished their 2015 campaign with a 2-5 MVC record and a 2-7 overall mark to land in seventh in the final conference standings.
Holmen and Logan both finished at 6-1 to tie for the top spot, while Tomah took third in the standings with a 5-2 league mark.
Fourth place went to West Salem at 4-3, followed by Onalaska in fifth at 3-4, Sparta and Aquinas tied for sixth at 2-5 and La Crosse Central in last place with a 0-7 mark in MVC play.