STANTON -- For some teams, converting third down situations into first downs is an emphasis.
But for Lutheran High Northeast, a willingness to ‘go for it’ on fourth down-and-short yardage situations kept the ball in the Eagles’ possession and extended scoring drives that keyed a 49-6 win over Stanton Friday night.
Both of those benefits were especially instrumental in the first half when Lutheran High converted fourth downs on three occasions that led to touchdowns, a 28-6 halftime lead, and control of the game.
“It depends on the situation of the game, field position, and how we feel we can block,” Eagles coach Darin Suckstorf. “We have a third down, fourth down-short yardage period (in practice) that we work on.”
“Fourth down is a big play in football; when you can make it, momentum goes on your side,” he said. “They (Stanton) do a lot of things that are hard to defend; we wanted to try to make the possessions as long as we could.”
Lutheran High’s possession of the ball allowed the Eagles to run 33 rushing plays in the first half, accumulating 184 yards, while also completing 4-of-6 passes for 33 yards.
Meanwhile, Stanton managed just 26 yards on four running plays, and picked up 104 passing yards by completing 5-of-10 first half passes--totaling just 14 offensive plays to the Eagles’ 39 during those 24 minutes of action.
Lutheran High scored twice in the first period on an eight-yard counter sweep by Garrett Adams and a 20-yard end run by Korrell Koehlmoos.
Stanton’s lone touchdown came midway through the second quarter on a 66-yard touchdown pass from Marcus Spotanski to Beau Wilke to keep the Mustangs in contention trailing 14-6, but the Eagles added two more scores on a one-yard run by Jaxson Kant and a short-field drive that ended with a 10-yard run by Logan Nitz for a 28-6 lead with just 23 seconds left.
A 22-yard touchdown run by Tyler Brand and another score on a 60-yard romp by Koehlmoos during the third quarter initiated a running clock for the rest of the game before a one-yard Kant run mid-way through the final period capped scoring in the Eagles’ 49-6 win.
“We couldn’t get them off the field; they just got the push that they needed, and they’re so skilled, not only in their offensive line but their fullback and quarterback and upback are all power runners,” Mustangs coach David Stoddard said.
Koehlmoos finished with 197 yards on 16 rushes, while Kant added 105 yards on 20 tries to pace an Eagles ground game which totaled 417 yards.
Stanton, with just five seniors on its roster, slips to 2-3 on the season.
“We don’t want the expectations to change--alignment, assignment, technique,” Stoddard said. “We need to get physically a little stronger, and we’re young and sometimes getting exposed at the point of attack, but the kids did a much better job this week of doing what they’re supposed to.”
Spotanski, a junior, completed seven of 19 pass attempts in the game, with Wilke’s 66 yards leading the Mustangs’ receivers. Cade Goger, a junior, and freshman Sutton Pohlman accounted for 26 and 25 receiving yards, respectively. On the ground, sophomore Guage Erickson picked up 36 yards on five carries.
“We expected to see a lot of passes tonight because in our last game (a 55-50 loss to Lincoln Lutheran) we didn’t do very well defensing the pass,” Suckstorf said. “We defended the pass better tonight.”
Lutheran High improves to 4-1 and will prepare to play an undefeated Hartington Cedar Catholic team on Saturday in Norfolk. Stanton will host a 3-2 Crofton squad on Friday.
Lutheran High Northeast 14 14 14 7 -- 49
Stanton 0 6 0 0 -- 6
LH: Garrett Adams 8 run (run failed), 6:09.
LH: Korrell Koehlmoos 20 run (Blake Freudenburg pass from Jaxson Kant), :25.
ST: Beau Wilke 66 pass from Marcus Spotanski (kick failed), 7:07.
LH: Kant 4 run (Matt Becker kick), 2:16.
LH: Logan Nitz 10 run (Becker kick), :23.
LH: Tyler Brand 22 run (Becker kick), 6:04.
LH: Koehlmoos 60 run (Becker kick), 1:58.
LH: Kant 1 run (Becker kick), 5:17.