HCHS head coach Curt Bladt hopes to lead the Cyclones to their 27th state semifinals appearance in 36 all-time trips to the playoffs when they host Sergeant Bluff-Luton on Friday night at Merrill Field.

Cyclones, Warriors battle for ticket to the Dome

Friday’s Class 3A quarterfinal at Merrill Field sets up as outstanding matchup

 HARLAN -- It’s a matchup only on paper so far, but all signs point toward a whale of a football game at Merrill Field Friday night when 6th-ranked Harlan Community hosts No. 4 Sergeant Bluff-Luton with a trip to the UNI-Dome as the prize.
 Champions of District 7 and District 1, respectively, in Class 3A, HCHS (9-1) and SB-L (10-0) both posted impressive first-round playoff wins a week ago - the Cyclones blowing out Sioux City Heelan 42-7 and the Warriors using a big second half to put away No. 8 Glenwood 47-25.
 Friday’s 7:00 p.m. quarterfinal showdown will feature two teams with outstanding running backs, balanced offenses, opportunistic defenses and plenty of size and speed to go around.
 “They’re outstanding speed-wise - everybody. Even their big linemen have got good speed,” said HCHS head coach Curt Bladt.
 Asked for his impressions of the Cyclones, Sergeant Bluff-Luton coach Justin Smith had plenty of positive things to say as well.
 “Harlan is a very disciplined, physical football team,” he said. “I have been coaching for 20 years, and their running back [Nick Foss] is probably the best one I have coached against. Mix that in with a very good offensive line, a quality quarterback and some explosive receivers and what you have is a very effective offense.
 “Defensively they are sound and don’t make mistakes. The defensive line is very good and they stunt well and cause disruption. There is no doubt we will need to play our best game of the season in order to beat them.”
 The running back matchup will certainly be fun to watch Friday as both Foss and Delperdang average better than eight yards per carry. Foss, a 5-foot-11, 200-pound senior, leads all of Class 3A with 1,718 yards and 33 total touchdowns. Delperdang, a 6-0, 190-pound junior, is second to Foss in 3A with 1,542 rushing yards and has scored 19 times.

Sergeant Bluff-Luton (10-0) at HCHS (9-1) • Friday, November 3, 7:00 p.m. -- at Merrill Field

Series History, Playoff Comparison
 The Cyclones and Warriors have met just one time on the gridiron when HCHS won a first-round home playoff game 21-7 in 2010.
 SB-L is making its ninth playoff appearance all-time and sports a postseason record of 8-8. HCHS is now 91-23 in 36 trips to the playoffs.

Family Ties
 Two members of the Sergeant Bluff-Luton football coaching staff have connections to Harlan Community as the two teams prepare for Friday’s 3A quarterfinal playoff game.
 Warriors head coach Justin Smith is married to Laurie (Wright) Smith, a 1992 HCHS graduate and the daughter of Harlan’s Don and Linda Wright. Don taught high school English at HCHS until retirement.
 SB-L assistant coach Jeff Moreau, meanwhile, is an uncle to HCHS senior linebacker Jared Moser.

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