Battle-tested North Scott stands between HCHS and 13th state championship

Cyclones face team making first title game appearance

 CEDAR FALLS (Nov. 19) -- One team is seeking a 13th state championship and playing in its 21st title game all-time.
 The other is making its first-ever appearance in the state football finals.
 Don’t read too much into history and tradition, however. Thursday night’s Class 3A state championship game between 2nd-ranked Harlan Community (11-0) and No. 9 North Scott (8-1) looks like a great matchup and potential classic in the making.
 The Cyclones, boasting 12 gridiron titles and eight runner-up finishes - all prior to 2010 - used their speed and big plays to rout Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley 44-7 in the semifinal round last week. The Lancers, meanwhile, gutted out a 17-10 overtime battle with top-ranked Cedar Rapids Xavier.
 Both squads will return to the UNI-Dome for a 7:00 p.m. kickoff on Thursday.
 HCHS head coach Todd Bladt, for one, is expecting a tight ball game.
 “We’re down to two, and at this stage there’s no easy games,” he said. “(North Scott is) definitely a really good football team. They’ve beat Assumption and West Delaware and then Xavier, so they are on par with the best in the state and they deserve to be in the championship game. And so do we. It’ll be a battle on both sides of the ball.”
 The Cyclones will go from playing a school in B-H/RV that has spent a lot of time in Class 2A to facing a North Scott program that qualified for the 4A playoffs 14 times between 1999 and 2017. Since moving down a class to 3A in 2018, the Lancers bowed out to an outstanding Western Dubuque team in back-to-back quarterfinals and now find themselves in the 3A title game.
 At last report, the IHSAA listed North Scott’s enrollment for grades 9-11 at 727. Those same numbers at HCHS are 383.
 “I know they’re close to twice our [enrollment] size,” Bladt said. “They definitely have some good players out there. They’ve got guys that fly around and they’ve got a lot of speed. They’re kind of diverse on offense and they don’t really give anything away. They’re a little harder nut to crack here.”
 The Lancers might be at their best in the trenches, where Iowa State recruit Joey Petersen - the team’s top tackler as a defensive lineman - leads an experienced group. North Scott’s offensive line includes five seniors between 215 and 295 pounds and only one player (Oliver Hughes) is listed as a two-way starter. Hughes starts at receiver, defensive back, kicker and punter, and is a player to watch, according to Bladt.

Cyclones vs. Lancers: On Paper

HCHS (11-0 Overall)
vs. Grinnell -- Won 40-28
at Pella -- Won 21-18
vs. Glenwood -- Won 22-13
vs. Denison-Schleswig -- Won 35-0
at Carroll -- Won 28-14
at Creston/O-M -- Won 35-7
vs. Lewis Central -- Won 28-10
3A PLAYOFFS
First Round Bye
vs. Bondurant-Farrar -- Won 36-7
vs. Carlisle -- Won 49-42
vs. Lewis Central -- Won 21-14
vs. B-H/RV (at Dome) -- Won 44-7

Team Statistics
Total Points Scored: 359 (32.6).
Total Points Allowed: 160 (14.5).
Passing Yards: 2,408.
Passing TDs/INTs: 23/12.
Rushing Yards: 1,628.
Rushing TDs: 22.
Total Yards: 4,036 (366.9).
Total Off. TDs: 45.
Total Sacks: 21.0.
Interceptions: 12 (2 TDs).
Fumble recoveries: 9 (1 TD).

Individual Stat Leaders -- Passing: Teagon Kasperbauer 128/243 (52.7%), 2340, 22 TDs, 12 INTs. Rushing: Brenden Bartley 128-593 (4.6), 7 TDs; Mason Griffith 117-537 (4.6), 4 TDs; William Kenkel 95-386 (4.1), 6 TDs. Receiving: Connor Frame 39-885 (22.7), 12 TDs; Aidan Hall 29-747 (25.8), 7 TDs; Joey Moser 29-424 (14.6), 4 TDs; Will McLaughlin 14-170 (12.1).
 Tackles: McLaughlin 66.0 (38s), Jameson Bieker 56.5 (30s), Joseph Fah 46.0 (27s), Jordan Schechinger 39.5 (27s), Jesse Schwery 39.0 (19s), Hall 37.0 (30s). Tackles for loss: McLaughlin 11.5, J. Schwery 10.0, Bieker 9.0, Jacob Schechinger 7.5, Fah 6.5. QB Sacks: J. Schwery 4.5, Bieker 4.0, McLaughlin 4.0.
 Fumble recoveries: Chandler Leinen 2 (23-yd. TD return), Fah 2. INTs-return yards -- Hall 5-68 (1 TD), Ashton Lyon 2-18, Bartley 2-37 (1 TD).
 Kickoff Returns: Moser 9-247 (27.4), Bartley 10-207 (20.7). Punt Returns: Moser 13-154 (11.8), 2 TDs; Bartley 10-62 (6.2).
 Kickoffs: Stephen Leinen 33-1803 (54.6), 11 touchbacks; Ashton Lyon 32-1762 (55.1), 6 touchbacks. PATs: Lyon 43/47. FG: Lyon 2/2 (long, 35). Punts: Frame 33-1155 (35.0).

North Scott (8-1 Overall)
vs. Muscatine -- Won 26-0
at Pleasant Valley -- Lost 24-10
at Central DeWitt -- Won 7-0
Game Cancelled
Game Cancelled
at Marion -- Won 38-7
vs. Clinton -- Won 50-0
3A PLAYOFFS
vs. Burlington -- Cancelled/Forfeit
vs. Mount Pleasant -- Won 58-26
vs. Assumption -- Won 13-10
vs. West Delaware -- Won 24-21
vs. Xavier (at Dome) -- Won 17-10 (ot)

Team Statistics
Total Points Scored: 243 (27.0).
Total Points Allowed: 98 (10.9).
Passing Yards: 1,178.
Passing TDs/INTs: 11/5.
Rushing Yards: 1,611.
Rushing TDs: 20.
Total Yards: 2,789 (309.9).
Total Off. TDs: 31.
Total Sacks: 21.0
Interceptions: 9.
Fumble recoveries: 10 (1 TD).

Individual Stat Leaders -- Passing: Carter Markham 76/115 (66.1%), 899, 7 TDs, 2 INTs. Rushing: Markham 114-743 (6.5), 11 TDs; Darnell Butler 99-483 (4.9), 4 TDs; David Nass 25-117 (4.7), 2 TDs. Receiving: Oliver Hughes 34-382 (11.2), 3 TDs; Jakob Nelson 21-336 (16.0), 1 TD; Max Solis 17-222 (13.1), 3 TDs.

   Tackles: Joey Petersen 45.5 (40s), Ryan Campbell 38.5 (32s), Oliver Hughes 36.5 (33s), Grant Moeller 31.0 (28s), Connor Corson 31.0 (27s), Will Seligman 29.5 (28s). Tackles for loss: Petersen 12.0, Marquan Quinn 7.5, Hughes 7.0, Campbell 4.5. QB Sacks: Petersen 8.0, Payton Kruse 4.0, Campbell 3.0, Adam Allen 3.0.
 Fumble recoveries: David Borchers 4, Parker Ruth 1 (40-yd. TD return). INTs-return yards: Dominic Miller 2-63, Hughes 2-8.
 Kickoff Returns: Nass 4-115 (28.8), Quinn 4-79 (19.8). Punt Returns: Hughes 6-128 (21.3), Andrew Chizek 6-32 (5.3).
 Kickoffs: Hughes 37-2073 (56.0), 15 touchbacks. PATs: Hughes 11/12, Logan Cole 16/18. FGs: Hughes 6/7 (long, 43). Punts: Hughes 29-1101 (38.0).

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