ELDORA – An awesome defensive performance lifted the North Polk football team to a 29-0 victory over South Hardin Friday in Eldora.
The Comets held South Hardin to a measly 93 yards of total offense to post their first shutout of the season. North Polk also put nine points on the board defensively, improving to 7-1 on the season and 4-1 in Class 2A District 7.
“We played our best defensive game of the season,” North Polk head coach Evan Groepper said. “Our guys did a great job in preparing for what they were going to try and attack us with.”
North Polk’s dominant display on defense more than made up for a shaky showing on offense. The Comets struggled running the football and they also had consistency problems in the passing game, totaling just 257 yards.
But thanks to the great defensive play, North Polk was able to methodically pull away from South Hardin.
The Comets led 14-0 at the half. Matt Cox caught a 27-yard touchdown pass from Cole Jackson with five minutes left in the first quarter and Garrett Moeckly capped a Comet scoring drive late in the second quarter with a 2-yard touchdown run.
Moeckly added a 5-yard touchdown run with 6:48 to go in the third quarter to build North Polk’s lead to 20-0.
The fourth quarter saw the Comet defense slam the door on the Tigers. North Polk picked up a safety with four minutes left in the fourth, and in the last minute of play, Dakota Woodard recovered a fumble in the end zone for a touchdown.
North Polk forced two turnovers on the night. In addition to Woodard’s fumble recovery, Landon Schuessler came away with an interception for the Comets.
On offense Jackson completed 13 of 31 passes for 179 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. Blake Brauer caught two passes for 64 yards, Grant Schiltz made a team-high six grabs for 61 yards, Cox had 36 yards receiving on three receptions and Schuessler and Austin Williams each had one 9-yard reception.
Moeckly was North Polk’s only consistent rushing threat as he picked up 77 yards on 13 carries. Alec White ran the ball seven times for 25 yards.
“Offensively, we had our moments,” Groepper said. “But we weren’t able to take advantage of their aggressiveness often enough.”
Next up for North Polk is a home game against a winless East Marshall team to close out the regular season.
“We have one week left of district play,” Groepper said. “We want to finish strong and healthy to give ourselves the best shot to make a run in the playoffs.”
South Hardin dropped to 1-7 overall and the Tigers finished 1-5 in the district. Bobby Hatton had 47 yards rushing, seven passing and five receiving and Sam Shindelar ran for 17 yards and completed 5 of 12 passes for five yards for the Tigers.
North Polk 29, South Hardin 0
NP 7 7 6 9 – 29
SH 0 0 0 0 – 0
NP – Matt Cox 27 pass from Cole Jackson (Carter Hartwig kick), 5:00
NP – Garrett Moeckly 2 run (Hartwig kick), 1:14
NP – Moeckly 5 run (kick failed), 6:48
NP – Safety, 4:00
NP – Dakota Woodard fumble recovery in end zone (Hartwig kick), 0:32
Team statistics NP SH
First downs 19 4
Rushes-yards 32-78 26-81
Passing 13-31-0 6-18-1
Passing yards 179 12
Total yards 257 93
Fumbles lost 2 1
Punts-average 4-38.0 5-27.8
Penalties-yards 10-85 12-95
Rushing: NP – Garrett Moeckly 13-77, Alec White 7-25, Cole Jackson 8-(-7), Matt Cox 3-(-8). SH – Bobby Hatton 13-47, Sam Shindelar 6-17, Candler Hallett 4-8, Jordan Wilkie 1-6, Ahmed Alibrahmiy 2-3.
Passing: NP – Jackson 13-31-0-179. SH – Shindelar 5-12-1-5, Hatton 1-6-0-7.
Receiving: NP – Blake Brauer 2-64, Grant Schiltz 6-61, Cox 3-36, Landon Schuessler 1-9, Austin Williams 1-9. SH – Jonathon Weber 1-7, Hatton 3-5, Wilkie 2-0.
Fumble recoveries: NP – Dakota Woodard.
Interceptions: NP – Schuessler.