The Grand Meadow Superlarks football team, the No. 4 seed in the Section 1 9-man tournament traveled to Spring Grove Saturday afternoon to renew aquaintances with the top-seeded, unbeaten and No. 3 ranked Lions in the section semi-finals, and it was Lions junior quarterback Elijah Solum throwing four touchdown passes and running for another score, all in the first half, as the Lions downed the Superlarks 47-6.
Spring Grove quickly showed why they are averaging 46 points per game as on the first play from scrimmage, Solum lofted a fade pass down the right side of the field that found wide receiver Caleb Griffin wide open and in stride, and he sprinted the rest of the way into the end zone for a 75-yard touchdown connection and a 7-0 Lions lead with his extra point only :12 into the game.
Grand Meadow then took over at their own 29 after the ensuing kickoff and answered the Spring Grove score as on 4th and 8 from their own 44, punter Corbin Ludemann ran a fake punt to his right, reversed his field to the left, and lofted a perfect pass on the run down the left sideline that found running back/wide receiver Jace Kraft wide open behind the defense, and he took the ball the rest of the way into the end zone for a 56-yard touchdown pass and a 7-6 Spring Grove lead after the 2-point conversion was no good.
The Lions showed no ill effects from the stunning touchdown pass, though, as on the fourth play of the ensuing drive, running back Hunter Holland ripped off a 44-yard touchdown run to cap off the 64-yard scoring drive and Spring Grove led 14-6. Starting from their own 32, the Superlarks were forced into a three-and-out, and the Lions kept momentum rolling their way as on the first play of their next drive from their own 44, Solum found wide receiver Jaxon Strinmoen on a quick screen to the left, he got a block and sprinted the rest of the way down the sideline to the end zone to complete the quick 1-play, 56-yard touchdown drive and a 21-6 Spring Grove lead after the extra point.
Starting from their own 28 on their next drive, the Larks were forced to punt after four plays, and Ludemann’s 41-yard punt gave the ball to the Lions at their own 41. Grand Meadow briefly seized momentum when, on the second play, Solum and Holland could not connect on a hand-off, and the Superlarks recovered at the Spring Grove 41. The Lions defense, which is giving up only 17 points per game on average stood tall and forced the Larks to punt after only three plays, giving the ball back to Spring Grove at their own 32. Grand Meadow’s defense again tried to turn the game back in their favor when linebacker Logan Bachman picked off a Solum pass at midfield, but on the second play of the ensuing drive, Larks quarterback Cael Gilbert, who moved behind center from wide receiver after Ludemann left the game with an injury had a shotgun snap slip through his hands, and the Lions recovered at the Grand Meadow 37 early in the second quarter.
Spring Grove wasted little time in adding to their lead as on the third play of the drive after the fumble recovery, Solum found Strinmoen on an underneath route on the left side of the field, and he then made his way across the field, sprinted upfield and into the end zone for a 22-yard touchdown and a 27-6 Lions lead after the extra point was wide right.
Grand Meadow took over on their own 25 after the ensuing kickoff and on the third play of the drive, Gilbert was interecepted, and the ball was returned to the Superlarks 30-yard line. Solum kept the ball on the first play of the ensuing drive and dashed 22 yards to the Grand Meadow 8-yard line for a first and goal situation, and on the next play, he found tight end Ethan Crouch for an 8-yard touchdown pass and a 34-6 Lions lead.
Spring Grove kept things rolling their way as the Lion defense forced another Superlarks three-and-out, and a -2 yard punt on 4th down gave the ball back to Spring Grove’s offense in Superlarks territory at the 36. Three plays later, Solum capped off a touchdown drive with a 22-yard run to paydirt and a 40-6 lead at the half.
Grand Meadow received the second half kickoff and started their first drive from their own 34, but the Spring Grove defense forced yet another three-and-out, and the Lions took over at their own 49 after a Superlark punt. Junior backup quarterback Braedon Solie took the controls for the Spring Grove offense in the second half, and he engineered a six-play, 51-yard touchdown drive that he capped off with a 5-yard touchdown run to account for the 47-6 final.
Grand Meadow finishes the season with a record of 6-4, while Spring Grove moves to 10-0, and they will meet No. 2 seed Lanesboro in the Section 1 9-man final next Friday night at a site yet to be determined, as the Burros downed No. 3 seed Mabel-Canton 38-6 Saturday afternoon.