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Pulaski watches big lead disappear in loss

By Josh Staloch

Contributions from Rich Palzewic
Sports Editor

PULASKI – Up 20-8 at halftime, Pulaski looked like a good bet to defeat Superior in a WIAA Division 2, Level 3 playoff game Nov. 1 at Pulaski High School.

In a second half littered with big offensive plays by both teams, Superior managed to overtake the Red Raiders in a 36-27 victory.

Pulaski ends the season at 9-2 overall.

“We had a group this year that outplayed what most people thought we could do at the start of the season,” said Pulaski head coach Jerad Marsh. “They took it all the way to the end against a good Superior team, and you can’t ask for much more. We gave ourselves a chance to win, and it was a good game.”

Trailing 30-27 in the waning seconds of the game, Pulaski lined up for a 31-yard field goal to try and send the game into overtime, but the kick was blocked and returned for a touchdown by Superior (9-2).

The Spartans went ahead for the first time, 30-27, on a Jarrett Gronski 11-yard run with 40 seconds remaining.

Starting at its own 32, Pulaski quarterback Nash Lemerond picked up a first down through the air to JoJo O’Leary before stopping the clock with the Red Raiders at their own 46.

On the next play, Lemerond went deep down the left sideline for O’Leary, who hauled in the pass at the Superior 15-yard line.

Matt Choge recovered the blocked kick and rumbled 70 yards the other way to close the scoring.

Pulaski jumped out to a 20-0 lead behind the strong play of Ben Redlin.

Redlin scored on a 4-yard run halfway through the first quarter and then hit O’Leary on a 34-yard strike two minutes later for a 14-0 advantage.

Redlin added his second score of the night from three yards out near the end of the second quarter.

The point-after attempt was blocked to keep the game 20-0.

Superior scored a late, first-half touchdown to gain some momentum heading into halftime.

Late in the third quarter, the Pulaski defense came up with a huge play on second down at the 4-yard line by forcing and recovering a Spartans’ fumble.

Three plays later, O’Leary sprinted 95 yards for a touchdown to seize the momentum back for Pulaski.

Isaac Hanke’s extra point made it 27-16 early in the fourth quarter.

Superior would score 20 consecutive points from there to advance to Level 3.

Aided by his long run, O’Leary led the Red Raiders with 171 yards rushing on 21 carries, while Redlin added 75 yards on the ground.

Pulaski rushed for 295 yards as a team.

O’Leary caught four balls for 88 yards.

Defensively, the Red Raiders surrendered 190 yards through the air and 212 on the ground.

After giving up only 30 points in its first eight games combined, Pulaski gave up 112 in its last three games of the season.

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