TRURO – A non-district game against a winless I-35 squad gave the North Polk football team a chance to work on things and get more players involved Friday as several Comets stepped up in a decisive 40-7 victory at Truro.
North Polk put the game away by halftime. The Comets scored two touchdowns in the first quarter and three more in the second to build a 34-0 lead; then they went on cruise control en route to improving to 6-1 on the season.
"The kids had a really good week of preparation and showed improvement Friday night," North Polk head coach Evan Groepper said. "With a non-district game stuck in the middle of our district schedule, it allowed us to get back to some fundamentals and refocus, and we had contributions from a lot of different kids."
Cole Jackson had touchdown runs of 23 and 3 yards and a 19-yard touchdown pass to Landon Schuessler for North Polk in the first half.
Matt Cox and Alec White each chipped in a long touchdown run in the first half. Cox went for 54 yards early in the first quarter and White took one to the house from 63 yards out four minutes into the second period.
I-35 got on the board with eight minutes, seven seconds left in the third quarter when Briar Vogel found Garrett Heckman on a 12-yard touchdown pass. North Polk answered with a touchdown at the 5:29 mark of the third when Jackson connected with Cox on a 31-yard touchdown pass to cap the scoring.
North Polk ended up with an impressive 503 total yards. The Comets only downside on offense was two lost fumbles.
Garrett Moeckly picked up 109 of North Polk’s 338 yards rushing. Cox and White both ran for 71 yards on five attempts and Jackson picked up 65 yards on seven carries.
Jackson also completed 8 of 9 passes for 157 yards and two scores with no interceptions. Blake Brauer added an 8-yard competition in two passing attempts for the Comets.
Grant Schiltz was the top receiver for the Comets as he made four grabs for 78 yards. Cox caught three passes for 60 yards, Schuessler had the one 19-yard touchdown reception and Brian Keasey caught one ball for eight yards.
On defense North Polk limited I-35 to 200 yards and the Comets had five sacks.
Zach Houseman picked up two of North Polk’s sacks and Collin Hoshaw, Masson Weiss and John Washington contributed one apiece. Jon Lackore led the team in tackles with eight and Schuessler, Braedon Ingersoll and Dakota Woodard each tallied seven.
North Polk returns to district play this Friday when the Comets travel to Eldora to face South Hardin (1-6, 1-4). The game will start at 7:30 p.m.
"We have two district games left and we want to finish the season strong," Groepper said.
I-35 fell to 0-7 on the season. Alex Middelton ran for 47, Vogel ran for 34 and threw for 12, Zachery Irelan picked up 33 yards rushing, Zach Goering had 31 yards passing and 25 rushing and Hunter Wearmouth made a 31-yard catch for the Roadrunners versus the Comets.
North Polk 40, I-35 7
NP 14 20 6 0 – 40
I-35 0 0 7 0 – 7
NP – Matt Cox 54 run (Carter Hartwig kick), 9:55
NP – Landon Schuessler 19 pass from Cole Jackson (Hartwig kick), 1:36
NP – Alec White 63 run (Hartwig kick), 8:10
NP – Jackson 23 run (Hartwig kick), 4:45
NP – Jackson 3 run (kick blocked), 0:44
I-35 – Garrett Heckman 12 pass from Briar Vogel (** kick), 8:07
NP – Cox 31 pass from Jackson (kick blocked), 5:29
Team statistics NP I-35
Rushes-yards 43-338 37-157
Passing 9-11-0 4-21-0
Passing yards 165 43
Total yards 503 200
Fumbles lost 2 0
Punts-average 3-20.0 7-31.6
Rushing: NP – Garrett Moeckly 16-109, Matt Cox 5-71, Alec White 5-71, Cole Jackson 7-65, Blake Brauer 2-15, Masson Weiss 2-3, Chad Purcell 3-3, Michael Ballard 1-1, Collin Hoshaw 2-0. I-35 – Alex Middelton 19-47, Briar Vogel 8-34, Zachery Irelan 4-33, Zach Goering 5-25, Jaylan White 1-18.
Passing: NP – Jackson 8-9-0-157; Brauer 1-2-0-8. I-35 – Goering 1-7-0-31; Vogel 3-14-0-12.
Receiving: NP – Grant Schiltz 4-78, Cox 3-60, Landon Schuessler 1-19, Brian Keasey 1-8. I-35 – Hunter Wearmouth 1-31, Garrett Heckman 2-9, White 1-3.
Tackles: NP – Jon Lackore 8, Braedon Ingersoll 7, Schuessler 7, Dakota Woodard 7.
Sacks: NP – Zach Houseman 2, Hoshaw, Weiss, John Washington.