The Clear Lake Lions locked up a spot in the Class 3A play-offs with a 35-8 win over District 3 foe Charles City. The win moved the No. 4 ranked Lions to 7-0 overall and 4-0 in the district. The Comets, who were riding a two-game win streak heading into the game, fell to 2-5, 2-2.
Although the Lions dominated statistically, the outcome of Friday’s game was largely the result of Charles City miscues leading to Clear Lake scores. Thanks to Comet turnovers, the Lions’ first three scoring drives were 28, 10 and 15-yards respectively.
At the end of the first half of play Clear Lake had just 81-yards of offense, but led the host team 21-0.
Charles City actually started the game strong, moving the ball efficiently from their own 20 to the Lion 45 on six plays. A Comet fumble was scooped up by Chase Lester and returned 40-yards. Five plays later Brock Adams contacted with Pete Swenson in the endzone for Clear Lake’s first score.
The second quarter opened with a blocked punt, courtesy of Tamarik Lee. The senior ran over the Comet front line and got his hands on the ball at the eight-yard line. Swenson got his second score by running the ball in from the 10. Logan Kracht put through his second PAT of the night to give the Lions a 14-0 lead.
Zach Merfeld set up Clear Lake’s third score of the half with an interception at the 25. Four plays later Carter Hand carried the ball in from the two. Kracht’s PAT was good, 21-0.
Hand added a touchdown reception and another short TD run in the second half to put the Lions well out in front.
Charles City finally put together a successful drive in the waning minutes of the game. A 16-play, 76-yard drive put the Comets on the board and the two-point conversion was good, making the final score 35-8.
“It was a crazy game” said Coach Fred Wieck after the game. “The defense forced turnovers and was opportunistic. I think we hung in there better in the second half.”
The Lions scored their 35 points without an abundance of yardage.
Adams was 3/8 passing for 51 yards. His 11-yard pass to Hand and 12-yard toss to Swenson produced touchdowns. Dustin King also had a 28-yard reception.
On the ground the Lions were led by Hand with 46-yards on 14 carries. Lester amassed 38-yards on six totes and Adams ran twice for 26. Alex Gonzalez rushed four times for 24-yards and Swenson carried three times for 19-yards. Chandler Diercks was handed the ball twice and gained 11-yards. Brennen Doebel had seven yards on two carries and King ran once for three-yards.
On defense, Swenson figured in 13 tackles, with three of them solos. Zach Zwiefel also had a big night with eight tackles, two of them solo. MacKean Bang had seven tackles and Tim Franken and Chase Lester each had six. Mitchell Keeran was credited with five tackles, a solo tackle for a loss and a sack. Connor Nosbisch also had a sack and four tackles in the win. In addition to his blocked punt, Tamarik Lee had a solo sack and finished with four tackles. Hunter Wubben also had four tackles for the Lions.
This week the Lions host Iowa Falls-Alden (0-4, 1-6). They will wrap up the regular season on the road at Algona (1-4, 2-5) Oct. 25.
The first round of the play-offs are scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 30, in all classes. Second round games will be played Monday, Nov. 4.