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Prep football: Gotelaere has hand in five TDs as Spartans capture first win of the season

Senior quarterback scores four touchdowns on the ground and one more through the air as Superior wins against their former defensive coordinator.

Superior’s Carson Gotelaere (9) is congratulated by Lucas Williams (16) after his first rushing touchdown of the game
Superior’s Carson Gotelaere (9) is congratulated by Lucas Williams (16) after his first rushing touchdown of the game with Eau Claire Memorial at the NBC Spartan Sports Complex in Superior at Friday, Sept. 30, 2022.
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram
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SUPERIOR — Superior assistant football coach Chad Johnson addressed the Spartans after their Big Rivers Conference game against Eau Claire Memorial and summed it up best.

“That’s been a long time coming,” Johnson said before leading the team in their Spartans cheer.

Yes, too long, in fact, but you would never know Superior came in winless based on their effort from start to finish Friday, Sept. 30, as they ran past the Old Abes 34-13 at NBC Spartan Sports Complex.

Leading the way was senior quarterback Carson Gotelaere, who unofficially rushed 28 times for 126 yards and a career-high four touchdowns. He also had a 21-yard TD toss to Hunter Willis, giving Gotelaere a hand in five touchdowns on the night.

Superior’s Carson Gotelaere (9) makes a throw in the second quarter of the Spartans Homecoming game with Eau Claire Memorial
Superior’s Carson Gotelaere (9) makes a throw in the second quarter of the Spartans' Homecoming game with Eau Claire Memorial at the NBC Spartan Sports Complex in Superior on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022.
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram

“It feels really good,” Gotelaere said. “We finally put a full game together, but once we did, everyone saw what happened. The emotions are just crazy right now. I’m glad we finally got one. Plays here, plays there, if we do our job, it’s a totally different season.”

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After 5-foot-10, 247-pound bulldozer Leo Lauscher plunged in from two yards out to give Eau Claire Memorial (3-4 overall, 1-4 Big Rivers) an early lead, it appeared Superior (1-6, 1-4) might get rolled over once again.

The Spartans had other ideas.

“We’ve been knocking on the door every week, and for the kids to come out here and respond, I’m just so proud of them,” Spartans coach Bob DeMeyer said. “The scoreboard hasn’t showed it until tonight, but that’s a good football team. And Eau Claire has a good football team, but our kids executed. It was a total team effort. It was a lot of fun to see that.”

The game had an interesting side plot as DeMeyer’s longtime defensive coordinator Rob Scott is in his second year as Old Abes head coach.

“I love him like a brother,” DeMeyer said. “There’s not a better coach in the state than Rob Scott. He’s phenomenal.”

Superior head football coach Bob DeMeyer chats with Eau Claire Memorial head coach Rob Scott before the Spartans Homecoming game
Superior head football coach Bob DeMeyer chats with Eau Claire Memorial head coach Rob Scott before the Spartans Homecoming game at the NBC Spartan Sports Complex in Superior on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022. Scott coached at Superior as an assistant before taking over at ECM.
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram

The feeling was mutual.

Scott said he saw a lot of the Spartans players grow up right before his eyes from his work with the Superior’s youth program, making Friday a bit surreal. He coached 20 years in Superior and 16 with the football team.

“Carson is an excellent football player, and he’s an even better person,” Scott said. “It’s hard coaching a football game when you love the kids on both sides.

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“We got outcoached and outplayed. I tip my hat to coach DeMeyer and his staff. There is not a better person coaching anywhere than coach DeMeyer and what he does for kids in this community.”

Gotelaere answered the Old Abes' short touchdown run with one of his own to make it 7-7 after the first quarter, and then he found Willis in stride over the middle to put Superior up 14-7 with 1:27 left before the half.

Eau Claire Memorial was still very much in this game until the Old Abes completed a pass near the home sideline but receiver Peter Albert fumbled the football. Superior senior Jack Rivord, who had a monster game on defense, came out of the pile with the football, which he proudly displayed to the Spartans faithful, giving Superior the ball at the Old Abes’ 16-yard line.

Eau Claire Memorial’s Peter Albert (20) loses the ball which was recovered by Superior’s Jack Rivord (19) in the second quarter
Eau Claire Memorial’s Peter Albert (20) loses the ball, which was recovered by Superior’s Jack Rivord (19), in the second quarter of the Spartans' Homecoming game with Eau Claire Memorial at the NBC Spartan Sports Complex in Superior on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022.
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram

Six plays later Gotelaere scored from a yard out to give the Spartans a 21-7 halftime lead.

The third quarter was a battle of field position before two more Gotelaere touchdown runs in the fourth quarter put it away. The 6-foot-1, 195-pounder finished it in style with a 10-yarder where he had defenders all over him but he somehow managed to spin and barrel his way into the end zone.

While the wins have been hard to come by this season — Superior hadn’t won since the last game of last year — a drought like that can make Friday even sweeter.

“Too long — way too long,” Gotelaere said. “Coach Scott said he was proud of me. Of course you want to beat him. You never want to lose to your former coach. He’s just a great guy. Afterward he just told me, ‘Great job. You’re a beast.’’’

Indeed, he was.

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Eau Claire Memorial 7-0-0-6—13

Superior 7-14-0-13—34

ECM — Leo Lauscher 2 run (Connor Anderson kick)

S — Carson Gotelaere 4 run (Tanner Leno kick)

S — Hunter Willis 21 pass from Gotelaere (Leno kick)

S — Gotelaere 1 run (Leno kick)

S — Gotelaere 2 run (Leno kick)

S — Gotelaere 10 run (kick failed)

ECM — Reagan Hub 71 pass from Ryan Thompson (pass failed)

Superior’s Hunter Willis (84) catches a touchdown in the second quarter of the Spartans Homecoming game
Superior’s Hunter Willis (84) catches a touchdown in the second quarter of the Spartans' Homecoming game with Eau Claire Memorial at the NBC Spartan Sports Complex in Superior on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022.
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram
The Spartan defense swallows up Eau Claire Memorial’s Reagan Hub (6) in the second quarter of the Spartans Homecoming game
The Spartans defense swallows up Eau Claire Memorial’s Reagan Hub (6) in the second quarter of the Spartans' Homecoming game with Eau Claire Memorial at the NBC Spartan Sports Complex in Superior on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022.
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram
Superior head football coach Bob DeMeyer questions a call in the second quarter of the Spartans Homecoming game
Superior head football coach Bob DeMeyer questions a call in the second quarter of the Spartans' Homecoming game with Eau Claire Memorial at the NBC Spartan Sports Complex in Superior on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022.
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram
Superior head football coach Bob DeMeyer, left,  and Eau Claire Memorial head coach Rob Scott, center, greet longtime iFan broadcaster Don Leighton before the Spartans Homecoming game
Superior head football coach Bob DeMeyer, left, and Eau Claire Memorial head coach Rob Scott, center, greet longtime iFan broadcaster Don Leighton before the Spartans' Homecoming game at the NBC Spartan Sports Complex in Superior on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022. Scott coached at Superior as an assistant before taking over at ECM. Leighton will enter the Spartan Hall of Fame on Saturday evening.
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram

Jon Nowacki joined the News Tribune in August 1998 as a sports reporter. He grew up in Stephen, Minnesota, in the northwest corner of the state, where he was actively involved in school and sports and was a proud member of the Tigers’ 1992 state championship nine-man football team.

After graduating in 1993, Nowacki majored in print journalism at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, serving as editor of the college paper, “The Aquin,” and graduating with honors in December 1997. He worked with the Associated Press during the “tobacco trial” of 1998, leading to the industry’s historic $206 billion settlement, before moving to Duluth.

Nowacki started as a prep reporter for the News Tribune before moving onto the college ranks, with an emphasis on Minnesota Duluth football, including coverage of the Bulldogs’ NCAA Division II championships in 2008 and 2010.

Nowacki continues to focus on college sports while filling in as a backup on preps, especially at tournament time. He covers the Duluth Huskies baseball team and auto racing in the summer. When time allows, he also writes an offbeat and lighthearted food column entitled “The Taco Stand,” a reference to the “Taco Jon” nickname given to him by his older brother when he was a teenager that stuck with him through college. He has a teenage daughter, Emma.

Nowacki can be reached at jnowacki@duluthnews.com or (218) 380-7027. Follow him on Twitter @TacoJon1.
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