Storm off to 2-0 start with win over Spartans
By Josh Staloch
KEWAUNEE – For the first time since 2006, when both teams belonged to the Packerland Conference, the Kewaunee and Luxemburg-Casco football teams got together on Friday night for a week two clash. When the dust settled on the game, highlighted by big plays from both squads, it was the Storm who were on the winning end of the 31-22 scoreboard readout.
“Hats off to that Luxemburg-Casco group, that’s a really good team that we beat tonight,” said Kewaunee head coach Randy Charles. “They have a lot of athletes, a lot of weapons and we knew that if we wanted to put ourselves in a position to win the game, we had to limit their playmakers. Give credit to our guys, they hung in there and they survived.”
There were big offensive fireworks in the first quarter.
Spartans’ quarterback Max Ronsman, fresh off a big game in week one at home against Xavier, wasted no time getting his team into scoring position, hitting Braeden Schley with a pass over the middle for a big gain that would set up the first score of the game just a couple of plays later.
The Storm wasted no time responding.
Working left to right from the vantage point of the home bleachers, Kewaunee steamed to midfield before Owen Carlson, also coming off a big performance in week one, broke through the line and went 52 yards, with Spartans’ defenders at his heels the whole way, for the score, putting the home team in the lead 7-6.
Not to be outdone with the big plays, Ronsman connected with Trace Schoenebeck on the first play of the ensuing drive for a 33-yard gain to get L-C into enemy territory.
Ronsman ran for a first down later in the drive and the Spartans looked like they were going to march right into the endzone for a second straight drive but disaster struck on the one yard line when the Kewaunee defense forced the ball loose on a running play and came up with it as time ran out on the first quarter.
The turnover also brought with it a stoppage in play as a big thunderstorm moved into the area, delaying the action for about 40 minutes.
The delay didn’t do much to dampen the momentum on the Storm’s side as the offense wasted no time in making the most of the opportunity its defense gave it right before the break.
Quarterback Thomas Stangel, in his second start since being named Kewaunee’s quarterback just before the season began, was sharp all night and he made a great decision to start the second quarter by getting the ball to Maddix Mueller on a short toss. Mueller put his head down and rumbled all the way up the field for a 90-yard touchdown reception, putting the home team out front 14-6.
The two teams went back and forth for the rest of the second quarter. Both offenses were doing a good job of moving the ball but defense dominated the rest of the half. That is, until the last possession of the second quarter, with Kewaunee’s offense on the march and at midfield with time winding down.
Stangel scrambled for a big gain to move the Storm into Spartans territory, setting up a big 43-yard field goal from Mueller to send Kewaunee into the halftime break up 17-6.
“Kewaunee was the better team tonight,” Neil Seering, head coach of the Spartans, said after Friday’s game. “They outcoached us and they kid outplayed us. That’s on me. But I am proud of our team and our coaches for fighting til the end. It’ll be a good springboard for us going into next week. There was a lot we did right tonight but we also had a lot of opportunities we weren’t able to finish.”
To start the third quarter, the Spartans were given an opportunity to get back into the game and they emphatically took it.
Putting together a gritty drive that was highlighted by hard runs from both Ronsman and Cameron Dorner, the visiting team marched right down the field.
On second and goal from the five, Ronsman dropped back and looked for an open receiver before making the decision to run it right up the gut. The decision paid off and he easily scored. Having missed on the team’s first two extra-point attempts using his leg, Schoenebeck made sure to grab the two-point conversion pass from Ronsman to get the Spartans to within three points at 17-14.
On the next series, the Storm put together a methodical drive of their own, moving up the field with a good mix of playcalls. Stangel highlighted the drive with a big pass to Carlson that took them down to just shy of the goal line before the Kewaunee quarterback took it across himself on the next play for a 24-14 lead.
“I think he’s really growing into the role,” coach Charles said of the Storm’s new signal caller. “We let the guys battle it out for the quarterback spot right up until our first game. Tonight, he really came on, he stepped up and was the kind of playmaker and leader that we need under center. He’s starting to pick it up pretty fast.”
Carlson added another score for the Kewaunee ground attack in the fourth to put things away but the Spartans never quit. Late in the fourth, L-C began a drive from its own 10-yard line and made the most of some quick passes to move up field before Schley got ahold of a Ronsman pass and took it to the Kewaunee 30-yard line.
Schley hauled in another huge reception later in the drive to set up a Ronsman score from two yards out with a quarterback keeper. Ronsman would run for the two-point conversion to cap the game’s scoring.
Note: Due to injuries on the Princeton/Green Lake team the Algoma Wolves were forced to cancel their week two game.