A 14-0 lead couldn’t hold up for the Somerset football team Friday night.
The Spartans made too many miscues on both sides of the ball and Amery took advantage to defeat the Spartans 28-20. Both teams have been eliminated from playoff contention with 1-4 records in the Middle Border Conference.
When the Spartans were going well Friday, the offense clicked. Rory Hoff and Jack Casey had stretches where they ran the ball well. The passing game had several nice connections between Hoff and receivers Andy Rojas and Caymen Gebheim.
For Somerset to be successful, like in last week’s 53-6 win at Viroqua, the Spartans need to play flawlessly. They did that on their first possession, quickly driving 64 yards. A long pass from Hoff to Gebheim put the ball in Amery territory. That combination worked again moments later, this time on a 29-yard score that put Somerset ahead 8-0.
The Spartans continued to play well in the first quarter. They had a punt that rolled to the Amery 6-yard line. The Spartans forced a punt and Hoff ran for 38 yards in the final seconds of the quarter. But when the second quarter began, the flaws in the Spartans’ play began to show. The Spartans threatened to score, but an underthrown pass was intercepted at the goal line. The Spartans did get the ball back, and a long pass from Hoff to Rojas took the ball to the Amery 1-yard line. Hoff then scored to make the lead 14-0.
It’s not that the Spartans did everything wrong. Amery threatened in the second quarter, but a Somerset interception blunted that drive. Somerset’s defense began giving up big plays and that allowed Amery to turn the game in its favor quickly. Amery got its first touchdown on a 63-yard pass, but Somerset still led 14-7 at halftime.
The tide quickly turned in the second half. Amery scored on a long pass after Warrior quarterback Kale Hopke eluded several defenders. That tied the score at 14-14. In the closing moments of the third quarter, Somerset fumbled the ball away. Amery opened the fourth quarter by calling a screen pass, which caught the Somerset defense completely by surprise resulting in a 27-yard Amery touchdown.
The Spartans kept battling. They drove to the Amery 18 before fumbling the ball away again. This time Kale Hopke kept the ball and swept around right end for an 82-yard touchdown run, making the score 28-14.
Somerset kept trying. After the Spartans recovered an Amery fumble, Rojas caught a 38-yard touchdown pass from Hoff, cutting the margin to 28-20.
Amery was in position to run the clock out, but Somerset’s Ethan Waskul intercepted a pass and returned it to the Amery 27. The Spartans got the ball to the Amery 16. The Spartans then tried four passes in the final minute of the game, looking for the tying touchdown. All four passes fell incomplete. Amery knelt once with the ball to run out the final seconds.
Somerset coach Bruce Larson was left discouraged by the loss. He said the turnovers and the Spartans’ difficulties maintaining blocks made it tough for the team to develop a consistent running game.
The Spartans will play their final home game of the season this Friday when they host Osceola. The Spartans will complete their schedule on Friday, Oct. 15, with a game at Baldwin-Woodville.