NORWALK — The North Polk football team had a tough time moving the football and stopping a high-powered passing attack in a 36-3 loss to Norwalk on Friday.
The Comets were held to 220 total yards and they gave up 268 through the air, falling to 3-3 on the season and 0-2 in Class 3A District 8.
“We struggled to run the ball consistently, which made it hard to keep drives sustained,” North Polk head football coach Evan Groepper said. “I was really impressed with Norwalk’s front four. Defensively, we tackled well, but had too many times that we had (an) alignment error, and they started their drive with good field position too often.”
North Polk outplayed Norwalk in the first quarter. The Comets led 3-0 after the first 12 minutes, with Colin Swygman converting a 23-yard field goal to get them on the board in the final four minutes of the quarter.
“We played hard and got off to a great start,” Groepper said. “But penalties stopped us from getting a couple-score lead.”
The Comets couldn’t get anything going on offense after the opening quarter. Norwalk blew the game open with 22 points in the second quarter, and continued to pull away in the second half by keeping North Polk off the scoreboard.
Max Sutcliffe tossed touchdown passes of five and 18 yards to Carter Schmidt and Zack Marker respectively, and added a 10-yard scoring run of his own in the second quarter for Norwalk. The Warriors also picked up a safety in the quarter.
In the second half, Scott Anderson ran one in from five yards out and Sutcliffe found Marker on a 5-yard scoring toss for the Warriors.
The North Polk defense did a great job against the run, limiting Norwalk to under 100 yards for the game. But Sutcliffe was too hard to contain as he completed 24 of 39 passes with three touchdowns and one interception.
Mark Cox had six tackles, four stops behind the line and two sacks and Dylan Meiners also picked up a sack for North Polk on defense. Ryan Fausch had 3.5 tackles and an interception, Jeff Lamp picked up 7.5 tackles, Caleb Lomica 5.5 stops and Parkins five for the Comets.
Thomas Jones had a good game running the ball for the Comet offense. Jones picked up 109 yards rushing on 16 carries.
Parkins completed 8 of 17 passes for 84 yards with one interception and Quinten Sommers made five receptions for 81 yards. Logan Engebretson ran for 25 yards, had two catches for 14 and completed one pass for seven.
In addition to his 268 passing yards, Sutcliffe also ran for 74 as the driving force behind Norwalk’s success on offense. Schmidt made eight catches for 84 yards, Marker five for 43 and Adam Connelly three for 49 for the Warriors.
Nate Heckart tallied two sacks and Ben Clark, Schuchard and Ethan Vetterick one apiece for Norwalk on defense.
Carter Bunch added an interception for the Warriors, who improved to 3-3 overall and 2-0 in the district.
North Polk will attempt to get its first district victory this Friday against Gilbert (2-4, 1-1).
“Excited to get back out against a conference rival in Gilbert,” Groepper said. “I know Gilbert will see the best version of us on Friday.”
The Comets’ game against the Tigers will take place at Comet Field in Alleman. It will start at 7:30 p.m.
Norwalk 36, North Polk 3
NP 3 0 0 0 - 3
N 0 22 7 7 - 36
NP - Colin Swygman 23 FG, 3:52.
N - Carter Schmidt 5 pass from Max Sutcliffe (Mason Lucas kick), 10:19.
N - Safety (Nate Heckart), 6:38.
N - Zack Marker 18 pass from Sutcliffe (run failed), 0:55.
N - Sutcliffe 10 run (Lucas kick), 0:22.
N - Scott Anderson 5 run (Lucas kick), 3:21.
N - Marker 5 pass from Sutcliffe (Jake Patterson kick), 4:14.
Team statistics NP N
First downs 14 22
Rushes-yards 33-129 28-96
Passing 9-19-1 24-40-1
Passing yards 91 268
Total yards 220 364
Fumbles-lost 1-0 1-0
Punts-average 6-30.2 4-34.0
Penalties-yards 8-64 9-94
Rushing: NP - Thomas Jones 16-109, Logan Engebretson 6-25, Drake Johnson 3-4, Colten Parkins 8-(-9). N - Max Sutcliffe 19-74, Christian Nicholson 6-18, Scott Anderson 1-5, Sam Rohrer 1-1, Max Juergens 1-(-2).
Passing: NP - Parkins 8-17-1-84, Logan Engebretson 1-1-0-7, Joe Husak 0-1-0-0. N - Sutcliffe 24-39-1-268, Ethan Carlson 0-1-0-0.
Receiving: NP - Quentin Sommers 5-81, Engebretson 2-14, Ryan Fausch 2-(-4). N - Carter Schmidt 8-84, Sam Rohrer 2-50, Adam Connelly 3-49, Zach Marker 5-43, Nicholson 4-28, Blake Chittenden 1-9, Chase McKinney 1-5.
Tackles: NP - Jeff Lamp 7.5, Mark Cox 6, Caleb Lomica 5.5, Jones 5, Parkins 5. N - Ethan Vetterick 7.5, Grant Larson 6.5, Andrew Good 6, Gavin King 5, Nate Heckart 5.
Sacks: NP - Cox 2, Dylan Meiners 1. N - Heckart 2, Vetterick 1, Matt Schuchard 1, Ben Clark 1.
Interceptions: NP - Fausch. N - Carter Bunch.