NP controls second half in 29-20 win

STORY CITY – The North Polk football team found out it must be prepared for a dog fight every night out in Class 2A District 7 play after having to rally past Roland-Story, 29-20, in Story City Friday.

The Comets improved to 3-0 overall and started 1-0 in the district, despite being given all they could handle from a struggling Roland-Story squad that fell to 0-3 and 0-1 respectively.

Roland-Story dropped its first two games by 22 and 42 points respectively, but on Friday the Norsemen led 14-12 at the half and never let the Comets feel comfortable until the final buzzer sounded.

"It’s a tough task to win at Story City," North Polk head coach Evan Groepper said. "We had only won there once since 1987. It is always good to start district play with a win, but we are going to have to do a better job playing situational football if we want to continue to win games."

North Polk went to the air to take the lead in the second half.

Comet quarterback Cole Jackson found tight end Austin Williams on a 4-yard touchdown pass midway through the third quarter and Carter Hartwig added the extra point to give North Polk a 19-14 advantage. The Comets went up 26-14 early in the fourth quarter after Jackson connected with receiver Russell Greene on a 23-yard scoring strike.

Roland-Story managed to get back within one score with six minutes, six seconds left in the fourth as Josiah Soderstrum capped a Norse drive with a 5-yard touchdown run. That pulled Roland-Story within 26-20, but North Polk showed resolve by coming back with a scoring drive of its own to ice game.

Hartwig delivered the final dagger for North Polk as he connected on a 30-yard field goal to give the Comets a two-score lead with just 1:10 left.

Jackson was very efficient in directing the Comet offense as he ended up completing 5 of 8 passes for 106 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. His first touchdown strike was the longest play of the game – a 66-yard toss to tailback Matt Cox in the first quarter.

Cox also ran one in from five yards out in the second quarter. He was the leading Comet rusher with 98 yards on 15 carries.

Garrett Moeckly also found success on the ground for North Polk as he ran for 86 yards on 17 carries. Jackson picked up 22 yards rushing on eight totes with the football.

Playing in his first game of the season, Greene led North Polk in receiving with three catches for 36 yards.

On defense Landon Schuessler had 11 tackles and an interception and Braedon Ingersoll also made 11 stops for the Comets. Jon Lackore and Williams tacked on seven tackles apiece, Kris Bower tallied six tackles and an interception, Greene and Collin Hoshaw both made six stops and Grant Schiltz finished with four tackles and an interception.

Soderstrum ran for an even 100 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries for Roland-Story. Zach Hovick completed 12 of 21 passes for 121 yards with three interceptions and one score and he also run for 39 yards and Charlie Messer made five catches for 39 yards.

North Polk faces a tough task this Friday. The Comets face a Gilbert team that is 2-1 overall and 1-0 in the district.

"Gilbert is very good and aggressive," Groepper said.

The Comet-Tiger game will take place at 7:30 p.m. in Alleman.

North Polk 29, Roland-Story 20

NP 6 6 7 10 – 29

RS 6 8 0 6 – 20

Scoring

First quarter

RS – Josiah Soderstrum 37 run (kick failed), 4:22

NP – Matt Cox 66 pass from Cole Jackson (kick failed), 3:21

Second quarter

RS – Blake Morgan 14 pass from Zach Hovick (Charlie Messer pass from Hovick), 4:30

NP – Cox 5 run (run failed), 1:09

Third quarter

NP – Austin Williams 4 pass from Jackson (Carter Hartwig kick), 6:16

Fourth quarter

NP – Russell Greene 23 pass from Jackson (Hartwig kick), 10:38

RS – Soderstrum 5 run (pass failed), 6:06

NP – Hartwig 30 FG, 1:10

Team statistics NP R-S

First downs 16 20

Rushes-yards 40-206 40-192

Passing 5-8-0 12-21-3

Passing yards 106 121

Total yards 312 313

Fumbles lost 1 0

Punts-average 3-30.7 1-34.0

Penalties-yards 7-55 5-50

Individual statistics

Rushing: NP – Matt Cox 15-98, Garret Moeckly 17-86, Cole Jackson 8-22. RS – Josiah Soderstrum 13-100, Zach Hovick 12-39, Blake Morgan 9-29, Andrew Schlatter 4-18, Kane Hassebrock 1-3, Eli Samo 1-3.

Passing: NP – Jackson 5-8-0-106. Hovick 12-21-3-121.

Receiving: NP – Cox 1-66, Russell Greene 3-36, Austin Williams 1-4. RS – Charlie Messer 5-39, Soderstrum 3-39, Morgan 2-25, Trent Elliott 1-15, Sam Miller 1-3.

Tackles: NP – Landon Schuessler 11, Braedon Ingersoll 11, Jon Lackore 7, Williams 7.

Interceptions: NP – Schuessler, Kris Bower, Grant Schiltz.