Somerset Spartans

The Somerset football team showed off a bag full of new tricks and enough of them worked for the Spartans to earn a 26-14 win at Bloomer on Friday in the 2021 season opener for both teams.

The Somerset-Bloomer football game featured two of the most veteran head coaches in western Wisconsin. In Somerset’s case, it was an old coach showing off some new tricks. Somerset’s coach Bruce Larson has more than 20 years at the helm of the Spartans and Bloomer’s John Post is in his 18th year leading the Blackhawks.

The Spartans unveiled new offensive and defensive schemes in the game. The offensive changes saw Somerset veer away from the option offense for the first time in several decades.

Larson said the defensive change was made because so many coaches in the area have been a part of that defense at either Somerset or UW-River Falls, that they could game plan well against it. Those coaches include New Richmond head coach Reggie Larson, St. Croix Central assistant Isaac Neumann and new Prescott varsity coach Jordan Hansen.

Somerset was tied with Bloomer 14-14 heading into the fourth quarter. Somerset came up with several big defensive plays in the final quarter that swung the game in the Spartans’ favor. The first came when Somerset junior linebacker Gabe Allen scooped up a fumble and barged three yards to the end zone for the tie-breaking touchdown.

Spartan senior Rory Hoff came through with two turnovers in the final minutes of the game. First, he recovered a Bloomer fumble. Then with 4:22 left in the game, he intercepted a pass at the Bloomer 38. The Spartans used that turnover to generate the final points of the night. Hoff, who is the Somerset quarterback, passed to junior Andy Rojas for an 18-yard score with 31 seconds left in the game.

Somerset started the game well, scoring on its first possession. Ethan Waskul ran in from 32 yards out the touchdown to put Somerset up 6-0. Bloomer came back with the next two touchdowns to lead 14-6 at halftime.

The Spartans scored the only points of the third quarter. Jack Casey took a pitch to the left sideline and walked the tightrope to stay inbounds for a three-yard score. The successful two-point conversion tied the game at 14-14.

Casey led the Spartans with 97 yards rushing on 21 carries. Hoff completed five of his eight pass attempts for 113 yards.

Larson said the Spartans played very nicely on defense, with the linebackers making a big advancement since the team’s scrimmage.

“For a first time out, with a bunch of changes on offense and defense and a bunch of new faces, it went pretty well,” Larson said.

Other area scores

Sun Prairie East 48, Hudson 7

Menomonie 28, River Falls 6

New Richmond 24, St. Croix Central 14

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