NP improves to 4-0
ALLEMAN – For the second week in a row, the North Polk football team ground out a tough Class 2A District 7 victory as the Comets outlasted Gilbert, 27-20, Friday in Alleman.
North Polk, the 10th-ranked team in Class 2A, remained unbeaten at 4-0 overall and 2-0 in 2A District 7, thanks to an explosive stretch of offense from late in the first quarter through the early stages of the third period, and a great second half performance on defense.
“It was the most physical we have played all year,” North Polk head coach Evan Groepper said. “It was a tough game and our guys found a way to win. It was a great win for us.”
The Comets trailed 7-6 going into the second quarter. Gilbert scored four minutes into the game on a 35-yard pass from Jared Gescheidler to Dax Hatfield and North Polk answered late in the quarter on 1-yard Garrett Moeckly touchdown run, but the extra point was missed.
In the second quarter Comet quarterback Cole Jackson found the end zone on a 6-yard run and Carter Hartwig added the extra point with seven minutes, 48 seconds left. Gilbert answered with a 1-yard Gescheidler run and James Howell hit the extra point to regain the lead for the Tigers.
Just before the end of the half, North Polk went ahead for good as Jackson found Braedon Ingersoll for a 7-yard touchdown pass with just 15 seconds to go in the half.
North Polk carried that momentum over to the third quarter as Jackson threw another touchdown pass just three minutes into the quarter. This time he hooked up with Russell Greene from nine yards out to give the Comets a 27-14 lead.
The defense took over from there, shutting out Gilbert in the third quarter and keeping the Tigers at bay for most of the fourth quarter. Gescheidler scored on another 1-yard touchdown run with 1:44 to go in the final period, but Gilbert ran out of time, falling to 2-2 overall and 1-1 in the district.
“Our defense played great in the second half and allowed us to hold on for the win,” Groepper said. “I also thought our special teams were the difference in the game.”
North Polk edged Gilbert in total yards, 255-249. The Comets committed two turnovers and force one.
Jackson had a good game through the air to help North Polk prevail. He completed 13 of 20 passes for 164 yards with two scores and one interception.
“We struggled to run the football, but we were able to make the plays in the passing game,” Groepper said.
Greene made five catches for 48 yards, Landon Schuessler had three grabs for 45 yards and Grant Schiltz caught two passes for 34 yards. Matt Cox made one 18-yard catch, Austin Williams caught one ball for 12 yards and Ingersoll finished with the one 7-yard touchdown catch.
The Comet ground game totaled 91 yards on 37 carries. Moeckly ran for 62 yards on 18 attempts, Cox finished with 21 yards on 12 carries and Jackson picked up eight yards on seven rushes.
Defensively, Jon Lackore had a monster game with 15 tackles and a fumble recovery. Colin Hoshaw and Blake Brauer both picked up two sacks, Kris Bower made 12 tackles, Williams had 10 stops and Greene finished with eight.
Gescheidler completed 12 of 20 passes for 182 yards and one score with no interceptions and he also ran for 50 yards on 22 carries for Gilbert. Chase Whetstone made three catches for 75 yards, Hatfield had two grabs for 55 yards and Darin Rinehart caught two passes for 18 yards for the Tigers.
Next up for North Polk is its biggest game of the season. The Comets will travel to State Center to take on unbeaten and fourth-ranked West Marshall in a battle for district supremacy.
“We have a huge challenge against West Marshall,” Groepper said. “They haven’t lost a district game in years. They are extremely skilled, well-coached and aggressive.”
The Comet-Trojan game is set to start at 7:30 p.m.
North Polk 27, Gilbert 20
G 7 7 0 6 – 20
NP 6 14 7 0 – 27
G – Dax Hatfield 35 pass from Jared Gescheidler (James Howell kick), 8:04
NP – Garrett Moeckly 1 run (kick failed), 1:47
NP – Cole Jackson 6 run (Carter Hartwig kick), 7:48
G – Gescheidler 1 run (Howell kick), 3:46
NP – Braedon Ingersoll 7 pass from Cole Jackson (Hartwig kick), 0:15
NP – Russell Greene 9 pass from Jackson (Hartwig kick), 8:59
G – Gescheidler 1 run (kick failed), 1:44
Team statistics G NP
First downs 19 21
Rushes-yards 34-67 37-91
Passing 12-20-0 13-20-1
Passing yards 182 164
Total yards 249 255
Fumbles lost 1 1
Punts-average 1-33.0 3-28.7
Penalties-yards 10-105 9-100
Rushing: G – Jared Gescheidler 22-50, Zach Becker 9-15, Ben Hinners 1-5, Wyatt Rhoads 2-(-3). NP – Garrett Moeckly 18-62, Matt Cox 12-21, Cole Jackson 7-8.
Passing: G – Gescheidler 12-20-0-182. NP – Jackson 13-20-1-164.
Receiving: G – Chase Whetstone 3-75, Dax Hatfield 3-55, Darin Reinhart 2-18, Rhoads 2-13, Ryan Blum 1-13, Jackson Breen 1-8. NP – Russell Greene 5-48, Landon Schuessler 3-45, Grant Schiltz 2-34, Cox 1-18, Austin Williams 1-12, Braedon Ingersoll 1-7.
Tackles: NP – Jon Lackore 15, Kris Bower 12, Williams 10, Greene 8, Blake Brauer 5.
Sacks: NP – Brauer 2, Colin Hoshaw 2.
Fumble recoveries: NP- Lackore.