For as much rain that has befallen the high school football fields in the last few weeks, a nickname like the Storm could easily be interpreted as a bad omen. For instance, maybe the bus wouldn't show up and a team would be left out in the cold.
The St. Cloud Apollo Eagles were waiting for the bus to arrive to take them to Sauk Rapids to take on Sauk Rapids-Rice in a section 8-4A football game. There was a mix up and the bus arrived late. The Eagles were dropped off at the field with only seven minutes to warm up. They were granted an extra 10 minutes, but it didn't help as the Storm ended the Eagles season 14-7.
The Eagles and Storm were facing each other for the second time this season. In week two, the Storm escaped Apollo with a 13-12 win. Eagles running back Travis Scepaniak was stopped short on a two-point conversion with no time left in the game.
This time around, the Ealges were "feeling scrappy" according to head coach Jon Benson. "They're a scrappy team too, but we're ready," Benson continued.
His defense was certainly prepared.
Neither team scored a point in the first two quarters. The clouds may have behaved, but the wind did not. A crosswind complicated the passing game to the point that Apollo attempted only two passes in the first half.
The scoring drought would continue until 14 points were put up in a three-and-a-half minute span in the third quarter.
The Storm got on the board first on a 70-yard touchdown pass to Joe Statz.
"We practiced that play all week," Storm quarterback Anthony Bemboom said. "They were biting on another route and I just stayed in there and threw a good ball."
The Eagles quickly answered on a touchdown pass of their own. Wade Mulhauser hit former quarterback Mitch Bidleman on a post route that turned into a 34-yard touchdown.
The defenses then forced each offense into consecutive punts. The game appeared to be heading to another close finish.
Unfortunately for the Eagles, the end came eight-and-a-half minutes earlier than expected.
Storm senior running back Tyler Spiczka refused to let his career end on this night. "Anthony came in to the huddle and said 'You did it against Rocori, now do it again'," Spiczka said, referring to a big run in a week 6 win over the Spartans. "My line made a huge hole and I just went through it."
Through the hole and the Eagles defense. Spiczka was tackled at the Apollo 2-yard line, but the damage was done. Evan Warnert scored two plays later to give the Storm a 14-7 lead.
"It was a battle. They're big and physical. We're not big, but we try to be physical," Sauk Rapids-Rice head coach Bill Magnuson said.
"The kid (Spiczka) made a great play. It means a lot to have a senior like him around."
Sauk Rapids-Rice will travel to Sartell to play the Sabres in the Section 8-4A semifinals.
St. Cloud Apollo finishes the year with a 1-8 overall record.
Other games in section 8-4A
#1 Detroit Lakes, bye
#2 Sartell-St. Stephen 33, #7 Little Falls 7
#4 Fergus Falls 12, #5 Rocori 20