EARLY SEASON STATEMENT


SCC senior quarterback Cole Corey plants a stiff arm on a Greene County defender during the second half of a non-district matchup between the Titans and Rams, held this past Friday at Linduska Field in Jefferson. [Tyler Anderson/The Graphic-Advocate]
By: 
Tyler Anderson
The Graphic-Advocate Editor

Titans overcome early turnovers to surge past Greene County, 34-7

Originally, the South Central Calhoun football team’s 2020 schedule was going to focus less on traditional opponents and more in favor of new faces and new challenges.

Due to the shortened season brought on by the ongoing COVID-19 situation and revised guidelines from the Iowa High School Athletic Association; the schedule was shortened to a balance of tradition with unfamiliar opposition. Regardless, the Titans were ready for their big non-district litmus test.

SCC showed the rest of Class 1A-District 2 and the area that the purple and white has not missed a step, using a 20-point second half surge to put away Greene County, 34-7, this past Friday evening at Linduska Field in Jefferson.

The Titans, who are ranked No. 2 in the Associated Press polls, overcame two early interceptions with its modus operandi – stingy red zone defense, a sturdy line and a balance of speed and power within its running game – with a dash of big fourth down plays to overpower the seventh-ranked (Class 2A) Rams.

SCC was also lifted by the efforts of junior running back Blake McAlister, who churned out 179 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries, along with three catches for 60 yards and another trip to paydirt.

Senior quarterback Cole Corey tossed for 99 yards and a touchdown, but came up huge with two trips to paydirt and an 80-yard interception return for a score to put the Rams away. Even though the Titan defense gave up 200 yards through the air, it only yielded 33 yards on the ground.

SCC head football coach Bryan Case provided a quick recap of the game before praising his team’s second half performance.

“I thought we got off to a good start against a good Class 2A football team,” Case said. “Our opening series on both sides of the ball went very well. We forced a ‘three and out’ defensively, then we took about five minutes off the clock before scoring. From there, it was back and forth, until we broke the tie at the end of the second quarter.” 

“The second half looked more like Titan football, and the kids started to gain more confidence in our abilities and in our scheme,” Case continued. “We definitely took a step in the right direction, and I'm excited to see what this team will do from here on out. We start district play on Friday and we're looking forward to the challenge.”

From the win, the Titans move into Class 1A-District 2 action with a 2-0 record. The Rams dipped down to 1-1 overall.

SCC will return home for its district opener, playing host to Clarion-Goldfield-Dows, set for 7 p.m. on Friday at Titan Field in Lake City. The Cowboys (0-2) come into district play following a 30-8 setback at the hands of St. Edmond this past Friday at Dodger Stadium in Fort Dodge.

Game updates and video highlights from the clash between the Titans and the visiting Cowboys will be available on The Graphic-Advocate’s Facebook page and on Editor Tyler Anderson’s Twitter handle (@Tyler_Liger).

After forcing the Rams to punt in their opening series, the Titans were quick to move down the field, resulting in a five-yard touchdown run from Corey. Thanks to Corey’s run and the ensuing PAT from junior Jayden Soard, the Titans took an initial 7-0 lead at the 7:09 mark of the opening stanza.

SCC then experienced a few troubles, as Corey tossed a pick at the tail end of the first quarter. This eventually led to the Rams knocking at the door by the end of the period.

Facing a fourth and goal, the Rams knotted things up by way of a 12-yard touchdown connection between junior quarterback Bryce Stalder and senior receiver Jaxon Warnke. After Nathan Behne’s PAT with 11:09 to go until half, Greene County and SCC were locked at seven points apiece.

The Titans aimed to put on more points, before being turned away by a second interception by Greene County. However, the Rams were unable to take advantage of the turnover, held in check by a determined Titan defensive unit.

Less than seven minutes later, SCC broke through its funk. Facing a fourth and long, Corey stepped back in the pocket, found a streaking McAlister and threw downfield, before getting hit by a Greene County defender.

“Knew there was only one safety over the top, so I knew that if I looked him off to the right,” Corey said of his touchdown pass. “I could come back to Blake in the end zone and he would make the play.”

The pass sailed right into McAlister’s hands, before the junior fell forward into the end zone for a 30-yard touchdown completion with 4:10 left until the break.

“Before the play started, we knew that I would be isolation with the backer, one on one,” McAlister said of his diving catch. “I knew that I had to use my speed to get past him, and I happened to do so. As the ball was in the air, the opponent kind of got into me, and tripped me up. But, I was able to stay on my feet and snag the ball. It was a great ball by Cole, and it gave us some momentum moving forward.”

This, along with Soard’s ensuing PAT, granted the Titans an opening that they needed. SCC would hold on to that 14-7 lead until halftime.

Coming back from the break, SCC resorted to its bread and butter by controlling the football and chewing up game clock. On a fourth and one on the Rams’ 20-yard line, McAlister peeled to his right and turned on the jets for a touchdown.

Following Soard’s PAT, the Titans extended their lead to 21-7 with 4:08 left in the period.

Trailing by 14 points, Greene County drove down the field in the early fourth quarter and threatened to come back into the game. On a fourth and six at the Titan 16-yard line, junior Kevin King stretched out to bat down Stalder’s intended pass to wide-out Joe Carey.

It was one of several breakups made by King during the second half. King also had five tackles for the winning cause.

“I was just reading my keys,” King said of the fourth down deflection. “It’s what our coaches always preach to us.”

This led to the Titans driving down the field, culminating with Corey’s one-yard touchdown dive with 5:41 remaining. Even though the PAT was unsuccessful, SCC pushed its lead to 20 points at 27-7.

The Rams attempted to drive down the field once more, until Stalder tossed out a wobbly pass on a third and 14 fell into the waiting hands of Corey. Taking advantage of the opportunity, Corey made the Rams pay by weaving along with his blockers en route to an 80-yard interception return.

“I saw the ball coming in high to the receiver,” Corey said of his pick six. “So, I was ready for the tip and once I caught it, I ran for open grass. My teammates picked up some crucial blocks, and by the time I got to the sideline, there was nobody in front of me. The rest of the way was just a foot race to the end zone.”

With 3:41 remaining and a successful PAT from Soard, the Titans held a 34-7 advantage over Greene County.

The Rams drove down the field one final time, with the hope of cutting down on its 27-point deficit. On a proverbial fourth down and game, Stadler’s desperation pass fell harmlessly to the grass.

Taking over on downs, SCC was able to bring out its reserves and run out the clock to seal the victory.

Along with kicking extra points, Soard aided McAlister and Corey with six tackles on defense. Corey contributed with five and a half tackles, while sophomore Waylen Gemberling hauled in three tackles with two and half of those tackles of a loss.

Sophomore Dominic Kistler and junior Kolten Hildreth each attained two tackles for a loss against Greene County.

In other Class 1A-District 2 action, Pocahontas Area drubbed Manson-Northwest Webster by way of a 49-13 score this past Friday night at the PAC Athletics Complex in Pocahontas. The Indians remain unbeaten at 2-0 overall.

Conversely, the Manson-Northwest Webster Community School District announced on Sunday that the Cougars entered a two-week quarantine period, due to confirmed cases of COVID-19 among its varsity squad. Therefore, the Cougars had to forfeit its games against Alta-Aurelia and North Union, and pushed back its Homecoming activities to the week of Sept. 28 through Oct. 2.

Southeast Valley’s record also remained unblemished, improving to a 2-0 record with a 32-22 win over IKM-Manning this past Friday at Jaguar Field in Gowrie. In their regular season debut, the Broncos held off Lake Mills, 28-24, on Saturday in Belmond.

Belmond-Klemme (1-0) had to cancel its first game against West Fork due to a COVID-19-induced quarantine, but returned to practice on Sept. 1 and moved its opener against Lake Mills to this past Saturday afternoon.

The Jaguars and Broncos will collide in their respective district openers on Friday in Gowrie.

Eagle Grove saw victory elude them in their home opener, as a late rally fell short in a 26-24 contest against West Central Valley, held this past Friday night at Gene Hinrichsen Field in Eagle Grove. The Eagles (0-2) will welcome Pocahontas Area to Gene Hinrichsen Field for both teams’ district openers on Friday night.

South Central Calhoun 34, Greene County 7

SCC     7          7          7          13         –          34

GC       0          7          0          0          –          7

First Quarter

SCC – Cole Corey 5 run (Jayden Soard kick), 7:09.

Second Quarter

GC – Jaxson Warnke 12 pass from Bryce Stalder (Nathan Behne kick), 11:09.

SCC – Blake McAlister 30 pass from Corey (Soard kick), 4:10.

Third Quarter

SCC – McAlister 20 run (Soard kick), 4:08.

Fourth Quarter

SCC – Corey 1 run (kick failed), 5:41.

SCC – Corey 80 INT return (Soard kick), 3:41.

 

         SCC         GC     

First Downs                   15             11

Rushing                         247           33

Passing                          99            200

Total Yards                     346          233

C-A-I                              6-10-2      14-33-1

Punts-Avg. Yards           2-36.5      3-29

Penalties-Yards              5-25        4-28

Fumbles-Lost                 0-0           0-0

 

SCC INDIVIDUAL STATS:

RUSHING – Blake McAlister 20-179; Cole Corey 8-26; Cody Thompson 7-16; Jordan Khommanyvong 10-15; Jaydon Maschke 1-6; Evan Jacobs 1-5.

PASSING – Corey 6-10-1-99.

RECEIVING –McAlister 3-60; Khommanyvong 2-23; Josh Dietrich 1-16.

DEFENSIVE LEADERS – Jayden Soard 6 tackles; Corey 1 INT return for TD, 5.5 tackles; Kevin King 5 tackles; Waylen Gemberling 3 tackles, 2.5 TFL, Kolten Hildreth 3.5 tackles, 2 TFL; Dominic Kistler 2.5 TFL, Dietrich 3 tackles, 1 TFL.

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