ARMSTRONG - Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn running back Hunter Kuehl ran 16 times for 236 yards and three touchdowns to help the Hawks run past the North Union Warriors 35-12 during Class 1A, District 1 action Friday night in Armstrong.
After the teams traded scores in the early portion of the game, Kuehl plowed his way to the end zone on a 27-yard score with 2:27 left in the third quarter to put the game out of reach for the Warriors.
"It came down to the big plays tonight. They had a bunch of big runs that they were able to score on, and when we had our chances, we couldn't complete the play," said North Union head coach Tommy Elliott. "We had our opportunites to respond to their scores, but we just missed. And that was the difference."
EVASIVE MANEUVER — North Union receiver Jacob Braddock (1) evades Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn safety Jordan Japenga and runs into the end zone for a 27-yard touchdown during Iowa Class 1A, District 1 football action Friday night in Armstrong. (Photo by Leanna Becker)
The Hawks jumped ahead 7-0 on the first of Kuehl's three TDs - a 48-yard run with 2:12 left in the opening quarter.
After the Warrior offense had driven the ball to the Hawks' 15-yard line, linebacker Logan Rozeboom forced a North Union fumble and recovered it to keep the game scoreless.
The Hawks then took advantage, using a nine-play drive to find the end zone, capped by Kuehl's 48-yard run.
"Early on, we were moving the ball well. We had a big drive to kick off the game, but then we put the ball in the dirt and we really needed to put six on the scoreboard," said Elliott. "The score could have been totally different if we start out with a touchdown there."
The Warriors were able to find a response as the second quarter started, using a halfback pass from Jacob Braddock to wide receiver Braden Ortman for the 35-yard strike.
Cody Runksmeier, who had 20 carries for 100 yards to lead the Warriors, kickstarted the drive with an 8-yard run to put the ball on the Hawks' 35.
After Runksmeier gained another three yards on the next play, Braddock took the handoff, but lost three yards.
Braddock made up for it though, finding Ortman along the Hawk sideline on the ensuing play for the score to make it 7-6.
Both teams traded possesions during the second, with the defense keeping the electric Hawk offense off the board.
With 50.4 seconds left in the half, however, the Hawks were able to extend their lead.
Kuehl took the handoff on the opening play of the HMS drive that started at the Warrior 25-yard line, and motored for the 75-yard score.
Marcus Rodriguez, the Hawks' placekicker, went a perfect 5-for-5 on the night with PATs, making it 14-6 at halftime.
"Coming out of halftime, we didn't make many adjustments, but later in the third we switched up our front hoping to keep them contained. It worked, but then we just couldn't take advantage of our opportunities," said Elliott. "We were holding them down early in the game, but we literally let them squeak through our fingers."
Logan Rozeboom took advantage of one of his 16 rushes for 73 yards, finding the end zone for a 9-yard score in the third quarter.
Jordan Japenga, who also rushed 16 times for 154 yards in the game, helped set up the score with back-to-back carries for 12 and nine yards, respectively, to put the ball on the Warrior 15.
Kuehl then powered by the Warrior defense for six yards, before Rozeboom raced in for the touchdown.
North Union responded quickly again, after 9-yard and 13-yard runs by Runksmeier helped the Warriors get to the Hawk 27.
On first down, quarterback Aric Runge floated a pass into the waiting hands of Braddock for the 27-yard strike with 6:25 left in the third.
Unfortunately for the Warriors, just over four minutes later, Kuehl scored his third touchdown of the night to take the 28-12 advantage.
With 4:41 left in the game, Japenga scored on a 77-yard run to cap the Hawks efforts.
Defensively, Runksmeier, Jacob Govern and Kaleb Olson each made 11 tackles, while Eythan Blair contributed eight for the Warriors.
North Union (1-7) travels to Okoboji, Iowa, next Friday night for a 7 p.m. game.
Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn (4-4) hosts Sheldon in a 7 p.m. game next Friday night in Hartley, Iowa.
HMS 7 7 14 7 - 35
NU 0 6 6 0 - 12
HMS - Hunter Kuehl 48 run (Marcus Rodriguez kick), 2:12.
NU - Braden Ortman 35 yard pass from Jacob Braddock (kick fail), 11:52.
HMS - Kuehl 75 run (Rodriguez kick), 0:50.
HMS - Logan Rozeboom 9 run (Rodriguez kick), 8:23.
NU - Jacob Braddock 27 yard pass from Aric Runge (pass fail), 6:25.
HMS - Kuehl 27 run (Rodriguez kick), 2:27.
HMS - Jordan Japenga 78 run (Rodriguez kick), 4:41.
Offense: Rushing: Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn 48-463; North Union 28-99. Passing (Comp-Att-Int-Yards): NU 5-15-1-102; HMS 2-11-0-5. Penalties: NU 3-20; HMS 3-12. Fumbles-lost: NU 3-2; HMS 3-0.
Offense: Rushing: Hunter Kuehl (HMS) 16-236; Jordan Japenga 16-154; Cody Runksmeier (NU) 20-100; Logan Rozeboom (HMS) 16-73. Passing: Aric Runge (NU) 4-14-1-102; Jacob Braddock (NU) 1-1-0-35; Evan Metzler (HMS) 2-11-0-5. Receiving: Braden Ortman (NU) 1-35; Braddock (NU) 2-33; Kaleb Olson (NU) 1-29.
Defense: Interception: Japenga (HMS). Fumble recoveries: Rozeboom (HMS) and Kuehl (HMS).