Indians club Tigers, 49-14
Spirit Lake found the end zones early and often on Friday, using their speed and wide-open offense to build a 35-7 halftime lead before letting off the accelerator a bit in the second half. The Indians churned out more than 580 yards of total offense en route to a 49-14 dismantling of rival Spencer.
"I thought Coach (Terry) Bruinsma did a great job calling the game and the guys executed," said Spirit Lake coach Josh Bolluyt. "You get in a flow and rhythm when a team is prepared and I felt that he really had those guys prepared offensively."
The high-powered Indian offense immediately put the Tigers back on their heels, scoring three first-quarter touchdowns and eating up 236 yards.
"I felt like our offensive execution was just spot on throughout the night," said Bolluyt. "I thought our guys blocked well. Paul was 9 of 9 passing to start the game, the line did a good job of blocking and the receives did a good job of catching the ball. I just thought our execution was sharp."
After breaking their first offensive play for a touchdown in last week's 52-6 win, the Indians needed just five plays to break open a scoreless game against the Tigers. Luke Kabele capped off the initial drive by hauling in a 15-yard catch from Paul Brown (Brett Cochran-Bray PAT). A 40 yard completion off a play-action pass from Brown to Zack Herrig started the drive.
The Indian defense then forced a three-and-out, setting up a seven-play scoring drive. SL converted two critical third downs with Brown firing a bullet to Bryson McCabe from 10 yards out for the capper (Cochran-Bray PAT), putting his team ahead 14-0 with 6:39 left in the first quarter.
Backed up to their own 5-yard line after another defensive stop, Spirit Lake used its hurry-up offense to go 95 yards on nine plays in just two and a half minutes. Kevin Martinson kept the drive alive with a long completion on third-and-23. Four plays later, Brown scurried in for a five yard score (Cochran-Bray PAT).
After completing his first nine passes, Brown was picked off by Spencer's Max Rasmussen near midfield. However, Cody Poock forced an interception that killed Spencer's momentum.
Starting their next possession at the Tigers' 34, Kabele powered into the end zone on a three-yard touchdown that built the lead to 28-0 after Cochran-Bray's extra point.
Rasmussen sprinted 93 yards for a score on the following kickoff for Spencer. Mark Malm nailed the PAT kick.
SL added one final score in the first half, when backup quarterback Adam Dau launched a perfect 11-yard strike to Poock on third-and-goal.
The Indians tacked on a pair of touchdowns in the final 24 minutes, a majority of which was played with a continuous clock. They would add their final score with 1:07 remaining on a 39-yard run by Dylan Bryce. Waltz also scored on a 14-yard touchdown run.
Spirit Lake's defense limited Spencer to 218 total yards, with 85 of them coming on Hunter Cushman's final scoring run. They also forced three turnovers, recorded two sacks and had nine tackles for a loss..
"I'm really proud of how our defense has played to this point," said Bolluyt. "Our first group hasn''t given up any points yet. We attacked the ball, made plays and our pursuit was relentless. There are some things we need to work on yet, but our effort was great. What's fun is that it's all 11 guys played a part. We had a lot of great individual performances defensively, but we played really well as a team. We had a lot of tackles for a loss and some interceptions that we converted and it was a great team effort defensively."
Sawyer Harms and Tanner Kroon each had a sack. Kroon also made two tackles for a loss. Poock and Martinson had interceptions and Kabele recovered a fumble that was forced by Kroon. Tyler Lynn finished with four solo and four assisted tackles. McCabe, Alex Dau and Tate Hanson each recorded seven stops, followed by Harms with six.
Kabele rushed for 116 yards and two touchdowns -- one running and one receiving. Brown passed for two scores and ran for another while completing 13 of 19 passes for 168 yards. He rushed for 55 yards. Bryce added 70 yards and a TD on the ground. Herrig led the receiving corps with two catches for 65 yards. Poock finished with 80 total yards -- 46 receiving -- and Bryson McCabe racked up 65 yards -- 45 through the air.
"Luke Kabele had a great game and finished his runs hard. Aric Waltz and Bryson McCabe all finished their runs and then the receivers went out and caught the ball," Bolluyt said. "Kevin Martinson went out and got that one on third-and-23 and Zack Herrig made a good catch along the sideline on third-and-19, so our receivers did a great job going out and making plays."
The Indians tallied 377 yards rushing and 204 passing, for an average of 8.8 yards per play.
"It's a part of our game we wanted to work on and improve and we wanted to stay balanced offensively," said Bolluyt about his passing attack. "These three district games we're trying to get better every week and expand on what we do and it's something we've focused on in practice."
Bolluyt also noted that Cochran-Bray made all seven of his PAT attempts to move to a perfect 14 of 14 this season.
"Our PAT team being 100 percent again was great. We haven't missed a kick all year and we were really good in our execution," he said. "Cody Poock had a great night punting, he pinned them inside the 10 on both of his punts. It was neat to see some guys step up a little but. Paul Brown came out of the game and Adam Dau came in (in the second quarter). He stepped up and did a great job coming in because you don't know when you'll play. Tanner Kroon came in and did a great job defensively, too, in place of Andrew Broocks."
The Indians travel to Storm Lake for their final non-district game this upcoming Friday.