CRESTON, Iowa – Chase Shiltz finds another gear whenever he plays Harlan.

Last fall, the Creston-Orient/Macksburg running back had a huge hand in ending the Cyclones’ season when he totaled 370 yards and four touchdowns in a 34-11 Panther postseason triumph.

Believe it or not, he may have bettered that performance against the Cyclones Friday. Shiltz accounted for eight touchdowns and finished with 305 rushing yards as Creston had to hold off a hard-charging Harlan offense in a 70-49 shootout victory for the Class 3-A, No. 10 Panthers. The teams combined for 1,135 yards of total offense in the game.

Shiltz scored four touchdowns on the ground, passed for one, caught one and added a fumble return and kickoff return for scores.

“Our line up front has some pretty big guys, and they’re all tough to stop,” Shiltz said. “I give all my credit to them. Last year’s game was just surreal against (Harlan), too, coming back after losing to them in the regular season and beating them in the playoffs.”

After Friday’s contest, Shiltz’s career rushing numbers against Harlan are eye-popping: 112 carries, 921 yards and 13 touchdowns.

“He played an outstanding game on both sides of the football,” Creston coach Brian Morrison said. “We ask a lot out of him. He’s a special kid, and this was a big game for us. It was our first district game.”

Beginning this season, only two teams from each 3-A district will qualify for the postseason instead of four. That made Friday’s win even more critical for the Panthers (3-0, 1-0 District 7).

Making matters more difficult was that the game was delayed by lighting twice and didn’t end until 11:38 p.m. The scheduled 7:30 kickoff didn’t happen until 7:52. Four minutes into the first quarter, lightning stopped the game again, this time for another 60 minutes.

Once play resumed with Creston holding a 6-0 lead, neither offense could be stopped.

Shiltz had a three-yard touchdown run and 18-yard fumble recovery, and teammates Zach Carlson and Mitchel Swank added touchdown runs to help Creston take a 35-21 halftime lead.

The teams combined for 42 points in a back-and forth third quarter. Shiltz had all three Creston touchdowns: a 90-yard kickoff return to begin the half, a 39-yard reception from Smallwood and a 24-yard run.

But Harlan (1-2, 0-1) hung the whole way thanks to the running of Nick Foss. He found pay dirt on runs of 25, 18 and 59 yards. The Cyclones trailed 56-42 by quarter’s end, then cut the lead to seven early in the fourth when Nick Tarney scored on a three-yard run.

Shiltz shut the door on any Harlan comeback hopes with two more rushing touchdowns later in the quarter for the final tally.

Creston finished with 553 yards of total offense. Smallwood completed 6 of 11 passes for 139 yards. In addition to Shiltz, Smallwood added 51 rushing yards, Zach Carlson had 26 and Swank added 32.

“Harlan has always been one of Creston’s rivals,” Shiltz said. “Harlan week is always really exciting for us, just from the Monday that we start practice. We’re always fired up and everything. It’s something in our blood.”

Harlan totaled 582 yards of offense. Cyclone quarterback Deren Schmitz finished 18 of 32 through the air for 343 yards. Foss finished with 129 yards, Schmitz had 85, and Tarney had 25.

Harlan (1-2, 0-1) 7 14 21 7 – 49

Creston (3-0, 1-0) 14 21 21 14 - 70

First Quarter

C: Kylan Smallwood 6 pass from Chase Shiltz (kick failed)

C: Shiltz 3 run (Shiltz run)

H: Nick Tarney 1 run (Kyle Schmitz kick)

Second Quarter

C: Zach Carlson 26 run (Evan Jacobson kick)

H: Deren Schmitz 1 run (K. Schmitz kick)

C: Shiltz 18 fumble return (Jacobson kick)

C: Mitchel Swank 30 run (Jacobson kick)

H: Caleb Rasmussen 13 pass from D. Schmitz (K. Schmitz kick)

Third Quarter

C: Shiltz 90 kickoff return (Jacobson kick)

H: Nick Foss 25 run (K. Schmitz kick)

C: Shiltz 39 pass from Smallwood (Jacobson kick)

H: Foss 18 run (K. Schmitz kick)

C: Shiltz 24 run (Jacobson kick)

H: Foss 59 run (K. Schmitz kick)

Fourth Quarter

H: Nick Tarney 3 run (K. Schmitz kick)

C: Shiltz 3 run (Jacobson kick)

C: Shiltz 4 run (Jacobson kick)

Be the first to know when news happens. Get the latest breaking headlines sent straight to your inbox.

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Commenting is limited to Omaha World-Herald subscribers. To sign up, click here.

If you're already a subscriber and need to activate your access or log in, click here.

Load comments

You must be a full digital subscriber to read this article You must be a digital subscriber to view this article.