AVOCA, Iowa — Nate Herbst threw a couple interceptions. He lost feeling in his right arm for a few moments when he smacked his funny bone on a defender.
Just about everything else went right for the AHSTW senior quarterback – and homecoming king – in a career game against a district rival.
Herbst piled up 356 yards of total offense (244 rushing) and had a hand in all five touchdowns as AHSTW pulled away from IKM-Manning 34-21 in a battle of unbeatens in Iowa Class 1-A’s District 1 on Friday night. The Vikings outgained last year’s district champion 520-240.
"It coincides with our O-line – they had a great game," Herbst said. "When they get out and make blocks and are physical against a great team like IKM-Manning, we get to make stuff happen."
The elusive QB made plays all evening against a defense that came to Avoca allowing an average of 13 points per game. He rushed for a pair of 1-yard touchdowns and two more from 24 and 47 yards out. A 16-yard scoring pass to Dustin Engel early in the fourth quarter also helped the hosts pull away.
Overall, Herbst went 6-of-16 passing for 112 yards and racked up 244 on the ground on 27 totes. Engel added 85 rushing yards and Terry Shannon added 60 thanks largely to an effective option attack.
"(IKM’s) defensive line was really aggressive as we thought they would be and that gave us some fits," AHSTW coach Davis Pattee said. "But we just executed at a higher level, I think."
Perhaps the most impressive sequence came in the fourth to help ice the game. On third and 11 from midfield, a high snap bounced on the wet grass before Herbst corralled it and threw off his back foot to Shannon down the left sideline. Three plays later, Herbst plunged across the goal line to extend the AHSTW lead to 20-7 with 7:02 left.
Kicker Aaron Young recovered his own squibber off an IKM-Manning player on the ensuing kickoff, and the Vikings added another touchdown on Herbst’s pass to Engel to pull away.
"He kind of put the team on his back," Pattee said of Herbst. "He’s been a leader for a long time, but we haven’t seen him too many times say, ‘Hey, give me the ball in this situation. I want it.’ He did tonight, and I was impressed by that."
IKM-Manning (3-2, 2-1) unconventionally got on the board with 4:21 left in the third frame. Quarterback Kyle Wagner completed a 36-yard pass to Noah Harlow, who fumbled the ball. Teammate Jared Vollstedt recovered in the end zone to make it 14-7.
The Wolves added a 3-yard Ridge Muhlbauer touchdown run and 58-yard aerial score to Vollstedt in the fourth quarter. Muhlbauer ran for 46 total yards while Wagner finished 8-of-17 passing for 158 yards.
But IKM-Manning coach Tom Casey said it was stopping AHSTW that really proved easier said than done.
"(Herbst) is one of the best quarterbacks in the district – we knew we’d have a hard time holding him down," Casey said. "And (Engel) runs hard and is the best back we’ve seen yet. That’s all tough to defend."
A grind-it-out first half featured five punts and a pair of turnovers and turnovers on downs in addition to the Vikings’ lone touchdown. AHSTW used 10 plays to travel 79 yards on its first possession, but fumbled away the ball near its own goal line. The Wolves went three and out, but went back on offense four plays later after Kyle Wagner picked off a long Herbst pass attempt.
The Wolves’ most promising drive of the first half lasted 13 plays and got as close as the AHSTW 27-yard line. But a holding call pushed them back, and a fourth-and-14 try from the 34 came up short as Shannon swatted away the ball on a deep throw.
AHSTW won despite dealing with 75 penalty yards and losing the turnover battle 3-1. The Wolves beat the Vikings 42-9 a season ago.
"We don’t want to look at the past, but they definitely kind of hurt us last year," Herbst said. "We needed to come back and finish strong against them."
IKM-Manning (3-2, 2-1) ........................ 0 0 7 7—14
At AHSTW (4-1, 2-0) ............................. 0 7 7 20—34
A: Nate Herbst 1 run (Aaron Young kick)
A: Herbst 24 run (Young kick)
I: Jared Vollstedt fumble recovery (Young kick)
A: Herbst 1 run (pass failed)
A: Dustin Engel 16 pass from Herbst (Young kick)
I: Ridge Muhlbauer 3 run (Kyle Wagner kick)
A: Herbst 47 run (Young kick)
I: Vollstedt 58 pass from Wagner (Wagner kick)
RUSHING: IKM, Ridge Muhlbauer 20-46, Coltan Lesle 3-8, Kyle Wagner 3-14, Noah Harlow 4-14. AHSTW, Terry Shannon 14-60, Dustin Engel 19-85, Nate Herbst 27-244, Ricky Miedl 1-3, Chase Jacobsen 5-16, Zach Hagadon 1-0.
PASSING: IKM, Wagner 8-18-0 158. AHSTW, Herbst 6-16-2.
RECEIVING: IKM, Vollstedt 4-88, Harlow 1-36, Jared Johnson 1-8, Ben Wegner 2-26. AHSTW, Shannon 4-78, Zach Hagadon 1-8, Cain Francois 1-10, Engel 1-16.
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