HCHS senior Eli Boldan (24) makes a leaping touchdown catch over Sergeant Bluff-Luton’s Deric Fitzgerald in the end zone for his second score of the game. Boldan totaled 181 receiving yards by halftime and finished with seven catches for 186. Sergeant Bluff-Luton quarterback Daniel Wright (9) is sacked by Harlan Community senior Brady Wagner (on turf) as Cyclones Jake McLaughlin (83) and Caleb Bieker also converge. Cyclone defensive players Johnathan Monson (14), Wyatt Schaben and Connor Bruck (9) tackle a Warrior receiver near the sideline. (Photos by Mike Oeffner) HCHS defensive back Thomas Fah (23) tries to strip the ball away from Sergeant Bluff-Luton’s Britton Delperdang at the 1-yard line as Jon Owens (34) also closes in to make the tackle. Delperdang scored on the next play with 17 seconds left to lift the Warriors past the Cyclones 34-32 at Merrill Field. Cyclone senior Brett Sears nearly makes a one-handed catch on the dead run during the first half against Sergeant Bluff-Luton. The ball slid off Sears’ fingertips for an incompletion.

Warriors rally past Cyclones, 34-32

HCHS lets early 20-0 lead slip away as SB-L scores three times in 4th quarter; Quarterbacks Wright, Mulligan combine for 642 passing yards, 8 total TDs

 HARLAN (Aug. 31) -- Staked to a 20-0 lead early in the second quarter, the Harlan Community football team spent the rest of Friday night trying to hold off the patient, persistent and speedy attack of Sergeant Bluff-Luton.
 The Warriors rallied to take their first lead, 28-26, with 5:47 to go before the Cyclones answered back two minutes later to go up 32-28.
 In hindsight, HCHS simply scored too soon.
 Left with 3:38 to navigate 80 yards, Sergeant Bluff-Luton scored 10 plays later on Britton Delperdang’s one-yard run out of the wildcat formation with 17 seconds remaining.
 The Cyclones tried to set up a field goal chance, but Preston Mulligan’s high-arcing heave downfield was intercepted by SB-L’s Zach Shultz near the 20 as time expired, clinching the 10th-ranked (3A) Warriors’ 34-32 non-district win over the fifth-ranked Cyclones at Merrill Field. Both teams are now 1-1 overall.
 “There was only about a thousand ways we could have won the ball game,” said HCHS head coach Curt Bladt. “It doesn’t fall on one guy, but it’s a hard pill to swallow.”
 The final stats confirmed just how close of a game it was. Sergeant Bluff-Luton finished with a 20-yard edge in total offense, 426-406, including 324-318 in the passing game as quarterbacks Daniel Wright (SB-L) and Mulligan both had excellent nights.
 The Warriors converted three more first downs than Harlan (19-16) and were flagged for three more penalties (11-8) while neither side turned the ball over until the final play of the game.

Sergeant Bluff-Luton 34, HCHS 32

HCHS: Eli Boldan 14-yd. pass from Preston Mulligan (kick failed) - 1st qt., 4:03.
HCHS: Mulligan 1-yd. run (Kyle Knudson kick) - 1st qt., 1:50.
HCHS: Boldan 25-yd. pass from Mulligan (Knudson kick) - 2nd qt., 10:27.
SB-L: Britton Delperdang 2-yd. run (David Clausen kick) - 2nd qt., 7:32.
SB-L: Conner Groves 54-yd. pass from Daniel Wright (Clausen kick) - 2nd qt., 2:30.
HCHS: Brett Sears 38-yd. pass from Mulligan (pass failed) - 3rd qt., 0:19.
SB-L: Groves 34-yd. pass from Wright (Clausen kick) - 4th qt., 11:53.
SB-L: Deric Fitzgerald 34-yd. pass from Wright (Clausen kick) - 4th qt., 5:47.
HCHS: Johnathan Monson 9-yd. pass from Mulligan (run failed) - 4th qt., 3:38.
SB-L: Delperdang 1-yd. run (kick blocked) - 4th qt., 0:17.

HCHS Individual Stat Leaders
    Rushing -- Johnathan Monson 3-51.
    Passing -- Preston Mulligan 19-34-1, 318.
    Receiving -- Eli Boldan 7-186, Sears 3-57, A. Schechinger 4-50.
    Tackles -- Wyatt Schaben 11 (2s/9a), J. Monson 8 (5s/3a), Jake McLaughlin 8 (5s/3a), Owens 8 (4s/4a), Derec Weyer 8 (2s/6a).

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