Klitgaard fumble return TD etched in Cyclone history

Dr. Don Klitgaard: 1968-2021

 HARLAN -- It’s championship week in the Iowa high school football playoffs, which always stirs up memories of past state titles won by Harlan Community.
 Very few of the Cyclones’ 12 state championships were as memorable as the 1984 final against Waterloo Columbus. HCHS trailed 13-7 with time winding down and Columbus had the ball deep in Cyclone territory. The PA announcer at the UNI-Dome had already informed Sailor fans where the championship celebration would be held back in Waterloo.
 But shortly after the Cyclone band played “Jesus Christ Superstar,” a miraculous finish was written into the history books. As Columbus quarterback Chris Klieman - now the head football coach at Kansas State - rolled to his left, he was drilled by the Cyclones’ Pat Shelton. The ball popped free and was scooped up by linebacker Don Klitgaard, who sprinted three-fourths the length of the field for the game-tying touchdown. Brian Ernst kicked the extra point to give HCHS an unforgettable 14-13 victory and its first of two state title three-peats.
 The Shelby County community lost a great one last week when Dr. Don Klitgaard died at the age of 53 following a battle with cancer. Services were held Monday, November 15, at First Baptist Church in Harlan.
 Klitgaard’s incredible fumble return will always be part of Cyclone football lore, but his true legacy will be measured by his great service and dedication to the community, his family and friends. Rest in peace, Don.

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