Lions eclipse Hurricanes with last-minute touchdown

LEFT: Chandler Bergrud follows a blocker into open space against Houston. The senior signal caller had a hand in 28 of Spring Grove's 29 points, running for 101 yards, three touchdowns and a two-point conversion plus passing for 215 yards, another TD and two extra points. RIGHT: This 33-yard catch by Caden Grinde put Spring Grove at the Houston two yard-line with 32 seconds to play. Three plays later, the Lions would score the winning touchdown. Photo by Cheryl Patterson
S. Lee Epps

With 17 seconds left, quarterback Chandler Bergrud scooted two yards into the end zone to break a tie score for a last-minute 29-22 win at Parents Night and Senior Night at Houston on Sept. 27. 

That third down, game-winning play came only eight plays after Tristan Hammel and defensive friends had stuffed Houston's two-point conversion run to preserve that 22-22  tie score.

The Lions then earned a first down at the Hurricane two yard-line with a leaping sideline reception by Caden Grinde of a 33-yard Bergrud pass. 

But it was no foregone conclusion that the Lions would score after three previous denials near the goal line. And it did take three plays to go those two yards before a large contingent of Lion fans could celebrate a 13th straight victory over Houston.

Grinde was exceptional with 13 catches for 192 yards, the third highest single-game yardage total in the Lion record book. While he was battling a pulled muscle, there were a few keep-a-foot-inbounds sideline grabs and an extraordinary catch with his back on the turf.

Bergrud passed for 215 yards (19 for 29) for one touchdown and rushed for 101 yards and three touchdowns. There was one interception but also a two-point completion (Grinde again) and a two-point run.

Spring Grove had to overcome four turnovers, losing three of seven fumbles.

The last fumble forced the Lions to punt instead of running out the clock in between Houston touchdowns while the 'Canes were desperately playing catch-up.

Grove had come from behind to lead 14-8 at halftime and appeared to finally have a little breathing room when a third-down, 36-yard pass to Grinde set up a third-down 10-yard TD pass to a leaping Kyle Hagen in the back of the end zone. The two-point pass to Grinde made it 22-8 with 8:37 to play.

But Houston quarterback Mikkel Schutte, who had attempted only six previous passes, threw two perfect bombs to help the Hurricanes score back-to-back desperation touchdowns.

With Schutte's 57-yard strike to Alex Van Gundy down to the Lion 13, Houston was able to go 71 yards in only four plays. Wyatt Walters ran in from the seven, and Ben Walters ran in two points to make it a 22-16 game with 7:12 to play. 

Then after a Lion punt, Schutte threw 29 yards to Ben Walters down to the Grove 15. Schutte scored on a five-yard run, and the score was tied with only 3:22 on the clock.

The two-point run was stopped by Hammel and associates; overtime was then a possibility. But the Lions would pull a win out of the fire with Bergrud completing 3 of 3 passes - all to Grinde for 5, 12 and 33 yards. It was first-and-goal-to-go with a half-minute remaining.

A short pass lost two yards before Bergrud ran it back to the two with 20 seconds to play and then ran again for the final two yards. Isaac Griffin kicked the extra point. Lions led and won, 29-22.

Run versus pass

Houston finished with 331 yards, only eight more than Spring Grove's 323. But the 'Canes gained twice as many yards on the ground (221) as they did in the air (110). 

Conversely, the Lions gained about twice as many yards by airmail (215) than they had by ground delivery (108). But three of the four Spring Grove touchdowns came on the ground -14, 1 and 2-yard runs by Bergrud.

Stumbling start

The offenses thrived during the frantic finish, but both, especially Spring Grove, stumbled out of the starting blocks. The first two Lion possessions had ended with fumbles, sandwiched around a Houston fumble. 

Spring Grove started with a promising 53-yard march down to the one yard-line before losing a fumble at the 10.

The 'Canes fumbled it right back on the next play (forced by Payton Leahy, recovered by Bergrud.) Back in business at the 14, the Lions reached the two before a penalty and a bad snap gave it back to Houston at the 18.

Suddenly, both offenses found firm footing. The Hurricanes drove 82 yards in 10 plays with Wyatt Walters scoring from the seven and then running in the two extra points.

Spring Grove came right back with a 68-yard, 8-play drive. Bergrud scored on a 14-yard run, but an incomplete conversion pass left the Lions still behind at 8-6 on the final play of the first quarter.

Time for defense

Defenses suddenly dominated the second period. But after Wyatt Murphy forced a Houston fumble that Leahy recovered at the Hurricane 40, the only big play of the second period led to the first Lion lead of the game.

 A deep Bergrud-to-Grinde pass covered 38 yards down to the one yard-line. Bergrud would carry for the final yard and then run in the two-point conversion to put Spring Grove ahead 14-8 just 72 seconds before halftime.

The Lions would not trail again, but they could not protect a 14-point (22-8) fourth quarter lead. 

Both teams came in with 3-1 records with the loser, for all practical purposes, eliminated from the East Sub-district race.

The Lions had been state-ranked No. 12 the previous week before failing to get a singe vote after a 46-18 win against Kingsland. Neither was Houston ranked despite the lone loss by one-point to No. 3 Southland.

This week and next

Spring Grove improved to 4-1 (3-1 in sub-district), the same record held by this week's Homecoming opponent Grand Meadow. The Superlarks come in off a 50-39 crossover crushing of Cedar Mountain-Comfrey.

Next week, the Grove guys travel to Lyle to take on Lyle/Pacelli.

Young Lions

There was no B-team game last week, but the Spring Grove/Mabel-Canton junior high boys (2-2) won twice - 20-19 at Lyle/Pacelli and 40-6 versus Lansing Kee.


Spring Grove 29, Houston 22

SG----6---8---0---15 = 29

Hou—8—0—0—14 = 22

SG 4-1 (3-1 sub-district), Hou 3-2 (3-2 sub-district)



total (rush + pass)

>>SG 323 (109+215)

>>Hou 331 (221+110)


>>SG 31-108 (3.5 avg.) 3TD +PAT

>>Hou 44-221 (5.0) 3TD +2PAT

Passes- comp-attempts- interceptions

>>SG 19-29-1, 215 yards, TD +PAT  

>>Hou 7-10-1, 110 yards, 

SacksAllowed: SG 0, Hou 0

TotalPlays (rush + pass): SG 60, Hou 44

Avg. Yardsperplay: SG 5.4, Hou 6.1

FumblesLost: SG 7-3, Hou 4-2

Turnovers: SG 4, Hou 3

Penalties: SG 6-30, Hou 6-34

3rdDowns: SG 4 for 9, Hou 2 for 8

4thDowns: SG 1 for 2, Hou 0 for 2

RedZone: SG 4 for 7, Hou 3 for 3

FirstDowns: SG 18, Hou 15

Plays of 20+ yards: SG 4, Hou 3


SG Individuals

RUSHING:Chandler Bergrud 15-101 yards, 3TD +PAT, long 48; Mitchell Reynolds 10-20; Hunter Holland 2-18; Isaac Griffin 1-(-2); team 3-(-29)

PASSING:Bergrud 19-29-1, 215 yards, TD +PAT

RECEIVING:  Caden Grinde 13-192 yards +PAT, long 38; Kyle Hagen 1-10, TD; Hunter Holland 3-7; Isaac Griffin 2-6

INTERCEPTIONS:Isaac Griffin 1-63 yards

PASS BREAKUPS: John Koch 1, Caden Grinde 1

FUMBLE RECOVERIES: Chandler Bergrud 1- 4 yards, Payton 1 no return

FUMBLES FORCED: Payton Leahy 1, Wyatt Murphy 1

SACKS: none

KICK-OFF RETURNS:Isaac Griffin 2-38 yards, Caden Grinde 2-30

PUNT RETURNS:Caden Grinde 1-10 yards 

PUNTING:Grinde 2-64 (32.0 avg.)

TACKLES (solo + assists):Caden Grinde 14 (5+9), Isaac Griffin 11 (8+3), Payton Leahy 11 (4+7), Carson Gavin 10 (4+6), John Koch 9 (3+6), Tristan Hammel 8 (3+5), Kyle Hagen 8 (1+7), Wyatt Murphy 5 (2+3), Chandler Bergrud 5 (2+3)




LeRoy-Ostrander 5-0 (5-0 season)

Southland……….3-1 (4-1 season)

Grand Meadow…3-1 (4-1 season)

Spring Grove…..3-1 (4-1 season)

Houston…………3-2 (3-2 season)

Lanesboro………2-2 (2-3 season)

Lyle/Pacelli……..1-4 (1-4 season)

Kingsland……….0-4 (0-5 season)

Mabel-Canton…..0-5 (0-5 season)


Spring Grove Football 2019

7 p.m. kickoff / home games in bold, *sub-district games 

4-1 (3-1 sub-district)

W at GHEC/Truman 30-28     

L vs. LeRoy-Ostrander*22-53         

W at Mabel-Canton*42-22      

W vs.Kingsland*46-18

W at Houston*29-22   

10/04 vs. Grand Meadow*

10/11   at Lyle/Pacelli* (Lyle)

10/16   Southland*


B-team football

3 wins, 0 losses

W at Houston 26-8

W vs. LeRoy-Ostrander 36-6

W vs. Grand Meadow 36-6


SG/Mabel-Canton junior high football

2 wins, 3 losses

L vs. Kingsland 0-33

L at Houston 0-7

W at Lyle/Pacelli 20-19

W vs. Lansing Kee 40-6

L vs. Grand Meadow 13-40