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Spring Grove combines physical play with finesse to thump Grand Meadow and improve to 4-0

Spring Grove, ranked No. 6 in the state in Nine-Man football, used a balanced offensive attack to topple Grand Meadow 47-16 in District-9 South play Saturday.

Kody Moore.jpg
Spring Grove football coach Kody Moore address his team after the Lions defeated Grand Meadow 47-16 in Grand Meadow on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022. Spring Grove is now 4-0 this season.
Guy N. Limbeck / Post Bulletin
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GRAND MEADOW — Spring Grove football coach Kody Moore thought the Lions were becoming a bit too much of a finesse team in recent years.

The Lions have been more bruising this season and the physical style of play has paid off. Spring Grove, ranked No. 6 in the state in Nine Man, improved to 4-0 on Saturday with a 47-16 victory over Grand Meadow in District-9 South play.

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"We've really tried to preach this year getting back to be able to run the ball," Moore said. "The last few years we've relied way too much on the pass. We know that in order to win in late October, November and December that you have to be able to run the ball."

The dedication to the running game began in the offseason. Moore said he placed more emphasis on players hitting the weight room and talked centered around the importance of the ground game. The players have bought into the program, and gotten stronger with a lot of early-morning lifting sessions.

“Our run game has gotten really strong,” Spring Grove quarterback Elijah Solum said. “Getting in the weight room this season, our linemen have gotten a lot better. With running the ball, we have a lot of weapons on offense.”

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Moore likes the balance the Lions have been able to produce this season. Saturday's game was a prime example. Spring Grove rushed for 272 yards while Solum passed for 223 yards and three touchdowns.

Hunter Holland, as he has all season, sparked the ground game. Holland and a number of Lions have "Run the Ball" T-shirts that they wear under their jerseys. Hunter rushed for 165 yards and three touchdowns — on runs of 20, 49 and 10 yards — to help the Lions roll up 495 yards of offense.

“We’ve started the run game strong,” Holland said. “We wanted to get back into that, and it’s showed the last four games.”

Spring Grove controlled play on both sides of the line of scrimmage against Grand Meadow.

“Our guys up front, they have the mindset,” Moore said. “Execution is an ongoing battle, but it’s been a lot better.”

The Lions made a believer out of first-year Grand Meadow coach Josh Bain.

"They just whipped us," he said.

And while the ground game appears to have a renewed appearance in the Spring Grove attack, the passing game has picked up where it has been in recent seasons. With plenty of offensive weapons, the Lions are a dangerous offensive team.

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“It’s a tough matchup on the outside with the height that we have,” Moore said. “And we have a lot of guys who can make plays and catch.”

Solum has a pair of big targets in 6-foot-4 Jaxon Strinemoen and 6-3 Tysen Grinde.

“When you have 6-4, 6-3 as wide receivers, it’s hard to stop them,” Holland said. “Then our linemen do a great job of blocking, so that helps me out a lot. When you can do both, it’s hard for defenses to stop that.”

Solum threw 37- and 57-yard scoring strikes to Caleb Griffin, who caught five passes for 131 yards. Strinmoen also caught a 22-yard TD pass. Foes have been trying to take away Grinde in recent weeks. Saturday it was the 5-11 Griffin who stepped up and had a big game. He also intercepted a pass on defense.

“Our other guys have stepped up,” Moore said. “Today, Caleb Griffin had a really good day. Variety and balance, that’s really what it’s all about.”

Spring Grove's defense has also excelled this season. With junior linebacker Ethan Crouch leading the way, the Lions held Grand Meadow (2-2) to just 112 total yards of offense and limited the Superlarks to just two first downs in the first half while building a 27-8 lead.

“They’re all filling gaps and playing with energy,” Solum said. “It’s nice to have that defense.”

Spring Grove 47, Grand Meadow 16
Spring Grove — 6-21-13-7 — 47
Grand Meadow — 0-8-0-8 — 16

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First quarter

Spring Grove — Hunter Holland 20 run (kick failed), 6:57.

Second quarter

Spring Grove — Holland 20 run (Holland run), 10:51.

GM — Cael Gilbert 7 run (Corbin Lundemann run), 7:27.

Spring Grove — Caleb Griffin 37 pass from Elijah Solum (Griffin kick), 6:08.

Spring Grove — Jaxon Strinmoen 22 pass from Solum (kick failed), 2:50.

Third quarter

Spring Grove — Griffin 57 pass from Solum (pass failed), 11:05.

Spring Grove — Holland 10 run (Griffin kick), 2:37.

Fourth quarter

GM — Lundemann 6 run (Lundemann run), 3:30.

Spring Grove — Zach Brumm 75 run (Griffin kick), 3:15.

TEAM STATISTICS

SG — GM

First downs 20 — 7

Total net yards 495 — 112

Rushing yards 30-272 — 40-94

Passing yards 223 — 16

Pass att-comp.-int. 12-21-2 — 3-8-1

Fumbles lost 2-1 — 2-0

Penalties yards 60-38 — 7-31

Punts/ave. 1-28.0 — 10-38.7

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

Rushing

Spring Grove — Hunter Holland 19-165, Zach Brumm 1-75, Elijah Solum 7-38, Caleb Griffin 1-7, Braedon Solie 1-(-1), Tysen Grinde 1-(-11). Grand Meadow — Corbin Lundemann 15-48, Isaac Harmening 14-23, Cael Gilbert 8-19, Keaton Gehling 1-5, Kaiden Bunne 2-1.

Passing

Spring Grove — Elijah Solum 12 completions, 21 attempts, 2 interceptions, 3 touchdowns, 223 yards. Grand Meadow — Cael Gilbert 3-8-2-0, 16 yards.

Receiving

Spring Grove — Caleb Griffin 5-131, Tysen Grinde 3-42, Ethan Crouch 3-28, Jaxon Strinemoen 1-22. Grand Meadow — Corbin Lundemann 2-20, Isaac Harmening 1-(-4).

Guy N. Limbeck is a Rochester native who has been working at a daily newspaper since 1981. He has worked at the Post Bulletin since 1999. Readers can reach Guy at 507-285-7724 or glimbeck@postbulletin.com.
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