Second half dominance lifts Cyclones to 3-0
HARLAN (Sept. 10) -- It was a tale of two halves at Merrill Field Friday night.
Following a wildly entertaining first half that featured eight touchdowns, diving and juggling catches all over the field, and even a sequence of three turnovers in two plays, top-ranked (3A) Harlan Community went to the locker room clinging to a 28-26 lead over No. 4 Sergeant Bluff-Luton.
The second half, though, was all Cyclones.
Setting the tone with a quick three-and-out and an interception on defense, HCHS took advantage of excellent field position to score four more touchdowns and never let the Warriors cross their own 35-yard line, pulling away for an impressive 55-26 victory.
The Cyclones have now beaten a pair of top-five opponents - Lewis Central and SB-L - as part of a 3-0 start and will finish their non-district slate at Glenwood (2-1) this Friday at 7:00 p.m.
“We just need to take it one game at a time, but I think this team is special, for sure. We have something going and I’m just excited to see where it goes,” said senior wide receiver and cornerback Connor Frame, who led the team with 95 receiving yards (including perhaps the catch of his life), two touchdowns and a 43-yard interception return to set up another.
Junior Aidan Hall, who like Frame was an all-state receiver last year, made his first start at tailback Friday and did not disappoint, rushing for 125 yards and four touchdowns on just 13 carries.
Hall brought the fans to their feet on the very first play from scrimmage, running off right tackle, cutting across the field to his left and showing great vision and balance on an electric, tackle-breaking 60-yard touchdown scamper.
Filling in at running back for Will McLaughlin, who played on defense only for part of the first half due to injury, Hall looked like a natural at the position despite losing a second-quarter fumble.
“I had to step up,” Hall said. “I didn’t really know what to expect coming in as a running back since I’ve never played [the position], but that [first] run felt really good... After about the first quarter, I got pretty comfortable. I kind of figured out what I could and couldn’t do.”
The Cyclones allowed just two first downs in the second half and outgained the Warriors 139-47. At halftime, the yardage totals were 285 (HCHS) and 271 (SB-L).
“They’re a darn good football team and I don’t want to take anything away from them,” said HCHS head coach Todd Bladt of Sergeant Bluff. “They played really well and they’re a hard-hitting outfit and they’ve got some serious players. But we came out in the third quarter and just gave them kind of a right hook. We kind of stunned them with the D stepping up and getting a three-and-out and then the offense going and striking, and then it was kind of a domino effect."
Full story in Sept. 14 Harlan Tribune
HCHS 55, Sergeant Bluff-Luton 26
1 2 3 4 F
SB-Luton 7 19 0 0 --- 26
HCHS 21 7 21 6 --- 55
HCHS: Aidan Hall 60-yd. run (Stephen Leinen kick) - 1st qt., 11:42.
HCHS: Hall 6-yd. run (Leinen kick) - 1st qt., 7:35.
SB-L: Jacob Imming 57-yd. pass from Tyler Smith (Scout Sneller kick) - 1st qt., 5:25.
HCHS: William Kenkel 1-yd. run (Leinen kick) - 1st qt., 1:50.
SB-L: Smith 1-yd. run (Sneller kick) - 2nd qt., 10:17.
SB-L: Smith 1-yd. run (kick blocked) - 2nd qt., 5:04.
HCHS: Hall 14-yd. run (Leinen kick) - 2nd qt., 3:05.
SB-L: Scott Kroll 22-yd. pass from Smith (pass failed) - 2nd qt., 0:12.
HCHS: Connor Frame 11-yd. pass from Teagon Kasperbauer (Leinen kick) - 3rd qt., 8:35.
HCHS: Hall 3-yd. run (Leinen kick) - 3rd qt., 6:47.
HCHS: Lucas Stanley 1-yd. run (Leinen kick) - 3rd qt., 2:57.
HCHS: Frame 14-yd. pass from Kasperbauer (pass failed) - 4th qt., 4:38.
12 First Downs 21
31-72 Rush att.-Yards 34-196
246 Passing Yards 228
318 Total Yards 424
13-25-1 Comp.-Att.-Int. 14-20-1
2-1 Fumbles-lost 2-1
4-29.8 Punts-avg. 0-0
7-60 Penalties-yards 6-55
Harlan Community Individual Stat Leaders
Rushing -- Aidan Hall 13-125, William Kenkel 12-53, Lucas Stanley 4-19. Passing -- Teagon Kasperbauer 14-20-1, 228. Receiving -- Connor Frame 5-95, Hall 3-53, Jacob Birch 3-48, Joey Moser 2-25.
Kickoffs -- Stephen Leinen 9-539 (59.9), 8 touchbacks.
Tackles -- Jameson Bieker 2s/7a, Garrett Assmann 2s/7a, Joseph Fah 4s/4a, Stanley 3s/4a, Zane Bendorf 0s/6a, Alex Monson 1s/4a, Matt Schwery 0s/4a, Ashton Lyon 0s/3a, Mason Anderson 0s/3a. Tackles for loss -- Fah 1s/0a, Bieker 0s/1a, Bendorf 0s/1a.
Fumble recovery -- Brouillard. Interception-return yds. -- Frame 1-43. Blocked PAT -- Bieker.
Sergeant Bluff-Luton Individual Stat Leaders
Rushing -- Jacob Imming 9-26, Jason Dickson 3-19. Passing -- Tyler Smith 13-22-1, 246. Receiving -- Imming 4-82, Scott Kroll 2-72, Jake Hamilton 4-51, Tyler Schenkelberg 2-34.
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