Clear Lake took a major step toward earning the Class 3A District 3 title with a 35-25 victory over sixth ranked Humboldt Friday night at Lions Field. The No. 5 ranked Lions, who moved to 5-0, will host the only other undefeated team in the district, Webster City, this Friday.
Clear Lake opened Friday’s showdown of unbeatens with revenge on the mind. Last year the Wildcats tripped up the Lions to earn a share of the District 3 title. Both teams finished with 5-1 records and advanced to post-season play.
This time the Lions opened fast, scoring in just over a minute. On the second play from scrimmage, quarterback Brock Adams fooled the Wildcat defense and rambled for 71-yards. Two plays later Carter Hand scored the first of his three TD’s by pounding the ball in from the one. Logan Kracht added the PAT for a 7-0 Lion lead.
Humboldt’s defense was able to tie the score two-minutes later when Alex Nelson scooped up a Lion fumble and took it 41-yards to the endzone for a score. The kick was good to knot the score at 7-7.
Clear Lake opened the second quarter with an 11-play, 56-yard drive capped by a one-yard pass from Adams to Hand in the endzone. Kracht’s kick was good for a 14-7 Lion lead.
Ernie Miszewski intercepted Wildcat quarterback Jaxson Heinz and the Lions were quickly on the move again. When the drive stalled on the Humboldt 24 Kracht made a fieldgoal attempt, but his 42-yard kick into stiff wind fell short.
Another interception, this time by Zach Merfeld, put the Lion offense back on the field and with 4:19 remaining in the half Miszewski made an impressive over-the-shoulder catch for a 22-yard score. This time the kick was good and the Lions had a 21-7 lead. Adams finished the half driving his team to another score. An eight-yard pass to Hand and Kracht kick made the score 28-7.
Throughout the season it has been the Lions which have made effective adjustments at halftime to put away their opponents. This time, the Wildcats came out in the second half with an improved game plan. And although the Lions remained in control, Humboldt could not be counted out until the final minutes. That irritated Lions Coach Fred Wieck.
“I’m disappointed with our mistakes-- too many mistakes. We could be real good, but right now we’ve got work to do,” said Wieck.
Humboldt found a way to get their standout running back, 220-pound Brady Ross, some running room. He scored the first of his three second half touchdowns midway through the third quarter. The PAT failed.
The Lions put their thumb in the dike of Humboldt momentum with another touchdown in the closing minute of the third quarter. Chase Lester took the ball in from the five for a TD. Kracht’s kick made the score 35-7.
Ross scored again early in the final quarter, bringing Humboldt to within two scores at 35-19. The two-point conversion failed.
Pete Swanson handled an on-side kick by the Wildcats, but the Lions couldn’t capitalize on the good field position and turned the ball over on downs with 5:54 to go in the game. Swenson stepped up big again with an interception to stop a Wildcat scoring threat.
Humboldt got the ball back again deep in their own territory with three minutes to play, but a series of completions resulted in a score in under one-minute. The two-point try was foiled, putting the score at 35-25.
The Lions were able to handle another on-side kick attempt and ran the clock out for the win.
“I’m happy to be 5-0, but right now I don’t like how it ended,” said Coach Wieck after the game. “I like the score going up, not down at the end of the game.”
Adams ended the game 10/14 passing for 11-yards. He was intercepted twice. Adams ran the ball seven times for 21-yards. Miszewski caught two passes for 44-yards and Lester had three catches for 40. Hand finished with four receptions for 15-yards and Chandler Diercks grabbed one pass for 12-yards.
Hand led the Lions on the ground, carrying 10 times for 104-yards. Lester rus 12 times for 66-yards and Diercks had 65-yards on 10 carries. Alex Gonzalez made five carries late in the game and gained 28-yards. Connor Nosbisch ran once for 23-yards.
Nosbisch was everywhere on defense for the Lions. The senior accounted for 15 tackles in the game, four of them solo. He was credited with two solo tackles for a loss and a solo sack. Tim Franken also made two sacks in the game and seven tackles in all. Zach Zwiefel was also in double digits with nine tackles, two of them solo. Mitchell Keeran had three solo and six assisted tackles, while MaKean Bang finished with one solo and six tackle assists. Swenson and Hunter Wubben finished with six tackles apiece. Lester had five and Diercks recorded four.
Humboldt’s Brady Ross ended the game with 182 yards on 24 carries. He scored twice on the ground and once on a 25-yard reception.