Over the summer, St. Clair/Loyola football coach Dustin Bosshart wasn’t exactly sure who was going to carry the load at running back.
Logan Marzinske — the Spartans’ top back last season — graduated, and Mason Ward was switching to quarterback.
“We didn’t know what we would have,” Bosshart said. “We knew Mason could step in at quarterback and do a nice job ... our other running backs really hadn’t been tested.”
Junior Brandon Meng has been tested the last two weeks, and it’s safe to say he’s passed.
Meng, who didn’t have a varsity carry last season, made defenders miss all night Friday, leading the Spartans to a 42-0 road victory over Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton.
“Obviously I don’t have much size. I’m not the guy who tries to truck everyone,” Meng, who’s listed at 160 pounds, said with a laugh. “I’ve got to make the first guy miss and just beat them with my speed.”
He did just that all night — on the ground and in the receiving game.
It started in the second quarter when Ward found Meng for a 59-yard touchdown pass that extended the Spartans lead to 21-0. Meng got open deep over the middle and easily pulled away from the Bulldogs’ secondary after the catch for a walk-in touchdown.
Meng added rushing touchdowns in the third and fourth quarter, and helped the Spartans kill the clock with several long runs in the second half.
He finished with 15 carries for 150 yards and two touchdowns on the ground, and added two catches for 59 yards to also lead the Spartans in receiving. Last week, Meng carried 17 times for 95 yards.
“Brandon’s been like this all the way through — junior high, junior varsity ... it was just taking the next step to varsity,” Bosshart said.
The Spartans’ defense was stout all night en route to the shutout, with senior Devin Embacher making a massive impact in his first game in over a year.
Embacher had a season-ending injury in the Spartans’ first game in 2020, and missed the season-opener last week with a concussion.
He led the Spartans with nine total tackles, including 3.5 tackles for loss. Embacher also had a strong game offensively, finishing with nine carries for 58 yards and a touchdown.
“He’s an impact player. He just flies to the ball,” Bosshart said. “He plays with reckless abandon ... every ounce of him goes into every play. He just plays with so much passion.”
For the Spartans, Ward went 5 of 6 for 109 yards passing and one touchdown. Simon Morgan made two catches for 53 yards.
The Spartans out-gained the Bulldogs 411-195.
The Bulldogs (0-2) play Friday at New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva. St. Clair/Loyola (2-0) will host Mayer Lutheran on Saturday, Sept. 18 at Loyola.
Follow Kevin Dudley on Twitter @Dudley7Kevin.