COUNCIL BLUFFS — Harlan’s most important drive ended with seven.
Not points, but minutes off the clock.
With Lewis Central riding the momentum of its first offensive touchdown and a defensive stop, the Cyclones drained all but two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. The defense kept up its stellar performance to hold off the Titans 24-14.
It was a game of two halves for the Cyclones (5-1, 3-0). Harlan scored on four of its five first-half possessions. But when a strong north wind picked up after halftime, the Cyclones used a ground game led by Nate Gettys to grind down the clock.
“When it’s windy, passing’s hard,” Gettys said. “The running game comes in handy, and I could not ask for better linemen.”
It took just four plays for the Cyclones to get on the board. Spurred by a 66-yard run by Gettys on the second play of the game, Harlan found the end zone on an 11-yard pass from Adam Juhl to fullback Allan Hopp.
After Harlan added a field goal to stretch the lead to 10-0, Lewis Central’s Jake Rodgers weaved in and out of several Cyclones to take the ensuing kickoff 98 yards.
But that yardage didn’t continue for the Titans in the first half. Lewis Central (3-4, 2-1) mustered only 47 yards of offense in the first half — compared with 147 on the ground for Gettys, who added a rushing touchdown with 3:37 to play before halftime.
“If you don’t come out competing against a program like Harlan, that’s what happens,” L.C. coach Jim Duggan said.
L.C. marched into the stiff wind in the third quarter to close the gap to 24-14. After converting two fourth-and-1 plays on quarterback keepers, Titan quarterback Austin Simmons called his own number to cap a six-minute drive with an 11-yard touchdown.
Both teams traded punts — although a fumbled snap took Lewis Central out of a second-and-short situation in Cyclone territory down 10 points.
From there, Harlan, led by Gettys and Juhl on the ground, chewed up clock and yards. Gettys finished with 224 yards rushing and 32 receiving. A holding penalty kept the Cyclones running back from adding a second running touchdown.
But, by then, Harlan’s offense had done its damage.
Lewis Central drove into Harlan territory, but the Titans — who finished with just 231 yards of offense — were unable to get within a score, as Kyle Larson was tackled at the 5 as time expired.
Harlan (5-1) ............................ 10 14 0 0—24
CB Lewis Central (3-4) ............................ 7 0 7 0—14
HAR: Allan Hopp 11 pass from Adam Juhl (Ethan Knudson kick)
HAR: Knudson 31 FG
LC: Jake Rodgers 98 kick return (Caleb Shudak kick)
HAR: Juhl 7 run (Knudson kick)
HAR: Gettys 2 run (Knudson kick)
LC: Austin Simmons 11 run (Shudak kick)
PASSING: HAR: Adam Juhl, 12-20-0-137; LC: Austin Simmons, 12-26-1-128.
RUSHING: HAR: Nate Gettys 24-224, Allan Hopp 2-2, Juhl 8-1, Connor Clayton 1-23; LC: Ryan Main 3-0, Simmons 18-33, Tanner George 1-6, Caleb Shudak 1-(-2), Ethan Ruby 4-17, Luke Sutherland 2-7, E.J. Bourg 10-48, Ryan Schiedle 1-2.
RECEIVING: HAR: Hopp 3-31, Luke Hall 4-39, Trey Lansman 3-35, Getts 2-32; LC Jake Rodgers 3-17, Conner Hanafan 1-4, Mitchell Brinkman 2-9, Sutherland 1-10, Schiedle 1-15, Shudak 1-11, Kyle Larson 2-47, Lincoln Rodenburg 2-11.