The ROCORI Spartans will take on South St. Paul Saturday afternoon at Maple Grove High School in a Class 4A football semifinal. The game can be heard on AM 1240 WJON and WJON.com beginning with the pregame show at 3:45 p.m. with kickoff scheduled for 4 p.m.

The Spartans have won six games in a row dating back to an impressive 24-15 win at Alexandria on October 3rd. ROCORI is 9-3 on the season, with all of their losses coming in a three-game stretch from week 4-6.

After winning their first three games of the season (at Big Lake, vs Willmar and at Sauk Rapids-Rice), the Spartans endured three losses by narrow margins to class 5A teams Tech, Sartell and Bemidji.

Photo by Isaac Schweer, WJON

ROCORI fell 19-13 in overtime to the Tech Tigers in Cold Spring in week four, then lost 28-21 to the Sabres in Sartell. The Spartans fell behind 28-0 in their loss to the Sabres before storming back with three straight touchdowns, but then were stymied on the one-yard line with time running out looking for the game-tying score. ROCORI fell 41-39 to Bemidji the following week.

The Spartans beat a high-powered Alexandria offense in week seven, then closed out the regular season with a 41-14 over Princeton. The third seed in the 8AAAA section playoffs, ROCORI hosted Little Falls in the first round and beat the Flyers 27-14.

ROCORI's defense absolutely shut down the Detroit Lakes Lakers 33-0 on the road in the section semifinals, then pitched another shutout the next week in a rain-soaked 7-0 win over Willmar in Alexandria for the section title.

The Spartans drew Hermantown in the opening game of the state tourney last week in Brainerd and fell behind 13-0 early in the game. However, ROCORI's offense got going and controlled the final three quarters of the game in a 33-20 win.

Junior quarterback Connor Schoborg has had a phenomenal season, passing at a 63% clip for 2,316 yards and 25 touchdowns against just five interceptions.

His favorite target this season has been 6'5" senior wide receiver Alec Anderson, who has hauled in 48 balls for 616 yards and 11 touchdowns. Junior Derek Thompson, who stands 6'7", has caught 45 passes for 570 yards and seven touchdowns.

The Spartans have used a three-headed monster at running back, with Nick Warne (161 carries for 718 yards and 8 TD), Tommy Wieber (141-520-4) and Gunnar Feldhege (86-378-5) all sharing time in the backfield.

The Packers of South St. Paul enter Saturday's contest with a 10-1 record and are currently riding a nine-game winning streak. Their only loss of the season came against Park-Cottage Grove in week two, a 28-27 setback.

SSP is led by QB Dan Pietruszewski, who has passed sparingly this season. He is 37-71 this season for 758 yards with eight touchdowns and four interceptions.

Pietruszewski leads the team in rushing as well, with 171 carries for 1,036 yards and a staggering 24 touchdowns. Anthony Perez has 135 carries this season as well for a total of 818 yards and six touchdowns.