ALLEMAN — The inability to produce in short-yardage situations on offense or stop Winterset on third down defensively doomed the North Polk football team in a 32-20 loss to Winterset Friday in Alleman.
North Polk (2-1) had a wonderful night on offense, with 448 total yards and 26 first downs. The Comets also made some big defensive plays, including forcing a turnover and picking up a sack, as they held Winterset (1-2) to 326 yards and 16 first downs.
But the Comets were unable to finish enough drives or get the timely defensive stops they needed to keep pace with the Huskies.
“We improved from last week, but weren’t able to overcome a couple of key mistakes,” North Polk head football coach Evan Groepper said. “I was really happy with our effort.”
North Polk trailed 19-14 at the half.
Winterset got a 51-yard fumble return for a touchdown by Casey Kleemeier to open the scoring. North Polk answered with an 11-yard touchdown pass from Colten Parkins to Caleb Lomica and Hunter Pashek came back with an 11-yard scoring run of his own for Winterset in the first quarter.
Parkins completed a scoring drive with a 4-yard run into the end zone early in the second quarter to give North Polk a 14-13 lead. Winterset eventually went back on top on a 2-yard Kleemeier run late in the half.
North Polk had a chance to pull within 19-17 at the half. Colin Swygman drilled a 52-yard field goal, but a dead-ball penalty was whistled on Winterset prior to the attempt, negating the kick.
Swygman tried from 47 yards following the penalty, but was off the mark.
Winterset increased its lead to 25-14 by the end of the third quarter after Kleemeier found Kaden Shaw on a 42-yard touchdown pass with 1:44 left on the clock.
North Polk pulled within 25-20 on a 2-yard Thomas Jones scoring run with 3:11 left in the fourth quarter to make things interesting. But Pashek dealt a fatal blow to the Comets one minute later by breaking loose on a 63-yard touchdown run to ice the game.
Parkins completed 22 of 31 passes for 279 yards with one touchdown and interception apiece and he also ran for 57 yards and a score in a losing effort. Quinten Sommers and Ryan Fausch both had 87 yards receiving and Lomica finished with four catches for 58 yards.
“Colten Parkins was really efficient most of the game at quarterback, making great reads and spreading the ball around,” Groepper said. “Ryan Fausch and Quinten Sommers had very good games making plays on the edge for us.”
Trevor Mathis added two catches for 27 yards, Swygman one grab for 11 and Jones one catch for nine. Logan Engebretson led North Polk in rushing with 95 yards and Jones picked up 17 on the ground.
Lomica came up with 12 tackles, including 2.5 tackles for loss and a sack in a losing effort for the Comets on defense.
“Caleb Lomica really anchored our defense down,” Groepper said. “(He) had a great game on both sides of the ball.”
Fausch made 3.5 tackles and an interception and Eddie Burt tacked on 5.5 stops for North Polk. Matt Cox finished with 3.5 tackles and Jones added three.
Pashek had a huge night on the ground to lead Winterset. He ran for 210 yards and two touchdowns on 28 carries.
Kleemeier threw for 71 yards and a score and ran for 38 and a touchdown. Shaw had the one 42-yard touchdown grab and Matt Benshoof made one catch for 27 yards.
Jacob Honkomp made 9.5 tackles, two stops behind the line and a sack, Jaden Sweeney delivered four tackles and a sack and Kleemeier chipped in 5.5 tackles and an interception to go along with his big fumble return for a touchdown.
North Polk goes on the road this weekend to face Perry (0-3) in its final tuneup for Class 3A District 8 competition.
“We are looking forward to getting back after it on Friday and trying to end our non-district (schedule) at 3-1,” Groepper said.
North Polk’s game against Perry will take place at 7:30 p.m. in Perry.
Winterset 32, North Polk 20
W 13 6 6 7 - 32
NP 7 7 0 6 - 20
W - Casey Kleemeier 51 fumble return (Tage Kaldenberg kick), 10:14.
NP - Caleb Lomica 11 pass from Colten Parkins (Colin Swygman kick), 2:08.
W - Hunter Pashek 11 run (kick failed), 1:33.
NP - Parkins 4 run (Swygman kick), 11:59.
W - Kleemeier 2 run (kick failed). 0:42.
W - Kaden Shaw 42 pass from Kleemeier (run failed), 1:44.
NP Thomas Jones 2 run (pass failed), 3:11.
W - Pashek 63 run (Kaldenberg kick), 2:18.
Team statistics W NP
First downs 16 26
Rushes-yards 41-255 39-169
Passing 3-11-1 22-31-1
Passing yards 71 279
Total yards 326 448
Fumbles-lost 1-0 2-1
Punts-average 5-40.0 4-39.8
Penalties-yards 8-47 8-60
Rushing: W - Hunter Pashek 28-210, Casey Kleemeier 11-38, Hunter Hughes 1-4, Logan Connelly 1-3. NP - Logan Engebretson 14-95, Colten Parkins 17-57, Thomas Jones 8-17.
Passing: W - Kleemeier 3-10-1-71, Tage Kaldenberg 0-1-0-0. NP - Parkins 22-31-1-279.
Receiving: W - Kaden Shaw 1-42, Matt Benshoof 1-27, Brock Johnson 1-2. NP - Quinten Sommers 9-87, Ryan Fausch 5-87, Caleb Lomica 4-58, Trevor Mathis 2-27, Colin Swygman 1-11, Jones 1-9.
Tackles: W - Jacob Honkomp 9.5, Kruise Kiburz 8, Benshoof 7, Carter Griffin 6. NP - Lomica 12, Eddy Burt 5.5, Fausch 3.5, Matt Cox 3.5, Jones 3.
Sacks: W - Honkomp, Jaden Sweeney. NP - Lomica.
Fumble recoveries: W - Kleemeier.
Interceptions: W - Kleemeier. NP - Fausch.