Cyclone title hopes dashed by North Scott

Lancers’ seven interceptions - five in second half - lead to 30-6 championship game win over HCHS; North Scott earns first state football title while Cyclones’ amazing run ends with runner-up trophy

 CEDAR FALLS (Nov. 19) -- It was an ugly ending to an otherwise unblemished season of Harlan Community football.
 But for at least a half, the 2nd-ranked Cyclones hung right with No. 9 North Scott in Thursday night’s Class 3A state championship game at the UNI-Dome.
 Trailing 6-0, HCHS tied the score just :01 before halftime on the kind of 58-yard touchdown pass that has been a trademark of 2020 and left opposing defenses shaking their head.
 The Cyclones forced a quick stop to start the third quarter, then moved just past midfield on a 30-yard completion from Teagon Kasperbauer to Connor Frame.
 And then it all started to come unraveled.
 Kasperbauer’s third-and-10 sideline throw drifted behind Aidan Hall and right into the hands of North Scott standout Oliver Hughes, who raced 61 yards for a game-changing pick-6.
 The Lancers would add four more interceptions the rest of the way - giving them seven on the night - and used a series of short fields to put away the Cyclones 30-6 and claim their first-ever state football crown.
 HCHS, which was outgained by just 21 yards in total offense, lost the turnover battle 7-1 and finished the year at 11-1 overall. Playing in their first state title game since 2009, the Cyclones left Cedar Falls with their ninth state-runner-up trophy to go along with a state-best 12 championships.
 “I’m just proud of the guys. I’m proud of everything that they’ve done the whole season,” said HCHS head coach Todd Bladt. “It doesn’t always land on one game. That’s the way everybody feels right now, but you forget about the great things that they did all year. I’m proud of what they’ve done... We just didn’t have it tonight.”
 Bladt added that the team continued “playing with a lot of heart” even as things were not going their way.
 “You look at the score - it was 30-6. That’s with seven turnovers,” he said. “You don’t win a lot of games with seven turnovers, especially one that goes to the house for a touchdown. Our defense played well.
 “It’s unfortunate it has to end, but that’s kind of how every football season does. It comes to an end and that’s what makes it special. It’s fleeting and it’s going to end at some point. You’d like to be on the other side of the coin when it does, though.”
 On the opposite half of that coin is the Lancers (9-1), who have spent many years facing early playoff exits in Class 4A. Now in just its third year in 3A, North Scott certainly earned title number one with consecutive playoff wins over Davenport Assumption, West Delaware, Cedar Rapids Xavier and Harlan Community.

North Scott 30, Harlan Community 6
North Scott: Carter Markham 45-yd. run (pass failed) - 1st qt., 3:29.
HCHS: Aidan Hall 58-yd. pass from Teagon Kasperbauer (run failed) - 2nd qt., 0:01.
North Scott: Oliver Hughes 61-yd. INT return (Hughes kick) - 3rd qt., 7:59.
North Scott: Hughes 4-yd. run (Hughes kick) - 3rd qt., 1:35.
North Scott: Hughes 40-yd. FG - 4th qt., 11:54.
North Scott: Jakob Nelson 38-yd. pass from Markham (Hughes kick) - 4th qt., 10:17.

N. Scott        HCHS
13    First Downs    14
44-142    Rush att.-Yards    22-55
147    Passing Yards    213
289    Total Yards    268
10-13-0    Comp.-Att.-Int.    15-35-7
3-1    Fumbles-lost    0-0
4-44.2    Punts-avg.    4-35.0
3-15    Penalties-yards    1-5

HCHS Individual Stat Leaders:
    Rushing -- Brenden Bartley 8-33, Mason Griffith 5-20. Passing -- Teagon Kasperbauer 15-35-7, 213. Receiving -- Aidan Hall 5-113, Connor Frame 5-64, Will McLaughlin 2-20.
    Kickoff returns -- Bartley 3-61, Moser 2-40. Punting -- Frame 4-140 (35.0). Kickoffs -- Stephen Leinen 2-99 (49.5).
    Tackles -- Joseph Fah 11s/1a, Lucas Stanley 5s/5a, Bartley 7s/2a, McLaughlin 3s/5a, Hall 5s/1a, Jameson Bieker 0s/6a, Jesse Schwery 2s/2a, Chandler Leinen 0s/4a. Tackles for loss -- Bartley 3s/0a, Bieker 0s/2a, McLaughlin 0s/2a. Fumble recovery -- J. Schwery.
North Scott Individual Stat Leaders:
    Rushing -- Carter Markham 19-96. Passing -- Markham 10-13-0, 147. Receiving -- Jakob Nelson 2-53, Parker Ruth 1-36, Darnell Butler 2-30.
 INTs-return yds. -- Connor Corson 4-22, Oliver Hughes 2-78 (1 TD), Dominic Miller 1-32.

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