Oct. 3—PELLA — Lynnville-Sully needed just four plays to go up two touchdowns against Colfax-Mingo during their Class A District 6 football matchup on Friday night.
The Hawks stopped Colfax-Mingo on fourth down at midfield and then blocked a punt on the Tigerhawks' second possession.
Both short fields led to a pair of Corder Noun Harder touchdown runs and it set up a big night for the Hawks' sophomore running back.
Noun Harder finished with a school-record 259 rushing yards and four touchdowns on 15 carries as the Hawks stayed unbeaten in the district following a 52-13 win over Colfax-Mingo at Central College.
"That (Belle Plaine) game film was a good one for us knowing that we like to run the ball a lot," L-S head football coach Mike Parkinson said. "I guess for us, we saw what we felt like we could do and it was a statement game for us. It was a worthy opponent. We needed to put one on us for once. This was a big game for us and we needed to respond after last week's game against Madrid."
L-S survived previously-winless Madrid 21-14 last week but still ran for 247 yards. The Hawks are averaging 279 rushing yards per game for the season and gained 441 against the Tigerhawks on Friday.
Kyle Squires gained 110 yards on seven carries and Maxwell Mintle also had 59 yards on six carries. Both Hawk backs scored one touchdown. L-S did not throw a pass in the game.
"I don't think we tackled that well. We knew we had to limit their explosive plays," Colfax-Mingo head football coach Jeff Lietz said. "We hoped to make them drive the ball on us and sustain drives, but they got into our secondary and made some good plays. They were the better team tonight and made the plays when they had to and we didn't."
After winning one game last year, Lynnville-Sully improved to 5-1 overall and 4-0 in the district. The Hawks' fifth straight victory officially clinches a playoff berth, too.
"It's all about the guys. They bought into what we talked about in the offseason, to weight-room development and to our program changes," Parkinson said. "They accepted everything we asked of them and we saw positive changes from that."
The Tigerhawks started with the ball and moved it to near midfield but faced a fourth and short. They elected to go for it and the Hawks made the stop as Cole Bracewell was tackled for no gain.
After an offsides on the Tigerhawks, L-S scored on its first play from scrimmage when Noun Harder reached paydirt on a 36-yard touchdown run.
Colfax-Mingo got a first down on its next possession but was forced to punt. Mintle blocked the punt for the Hawks and L-S started its next possession at the C-M 20-yard line.
Three plays later, Noun Harder went in from 5 yards out and the Hawks went in front 16-0 after converting both two-point conversions.
"Huge momentum play for us. There's a stat out there that says something like if you block a punt, 97 percent of the time you win the game," Parkinson said. "We try to get blocks. We practice it. It allowed us to be great in all three phases."
Lietz said his decision to go for it on fourth down at midfield so early in the game was simple.
"I had faith in my offense that we could get it done," Lietz said. "I thought we could get it. I think if we pick up that one and continue to drive, things might have gone different. But we didn't get it, and that's the way it goes."
The momentum carried over to the next possession as the Hawks forced C-M into a three and out.
Lynnville-Sully couldn't take advantage though as it turned the ball over after a high snap went over Conner Maston's head. Merritt McConeghey recovered the fumble for the Tigerhawks.
That started a stretch of three straight turnovers as Lane Fisk picked off Bracewell on C-M's next possession, but L-S lost it again on another high snap. That fumble was recovered by Shane Aikin.
Another three and out by C-M, gave the ball right back to L-S. This time, the Hawks scored in two plays as Noun Harder sprinted 54 yards to the end zone.
Noun Harder now has 791 yards and nine TDs in six games. He's averaging 10.4 yards per carry.
The 259-yard rushing effort moves him into first place on the all-time single-game rushing leader list at L-S. Sage Ehresman had the previous record of 257 yards and he did that against North Mahaska in 2014.
"It's a big record for me, but I can't do any of it without my team and the guys blocking for me," Noun Harder said. "We had guys not only blocking in the initial hole but guys were shifting downfield knowing that if I get another one we could score."
C-M's next possession had promise early as Bracewell hit Justin Myers for a 30-yard completion. But a holding penalty and a sack by L-S moved them behind the sticks and the drive stalled.
The Hawks improved their lead to 31-0 after going 67 yards in three plays. Squires scored on a 57-yard TD run.
"We couldn't get our offense going," Lietz said. "They have a hard time sustaining drives. We saw that on film. They are a big-play machine.
"They had two big plays right away and they made them count. We needed to match them score for score and weren't able to do that."
Colfax-Mingo's best drive of the first half ended on downs. But the Tigerhawks picked up three first downs on the drive. Bracewell completed passes to five different receivers, but a Ty Jones sack slowed down the Tigerhawks' possession.
The second half began with Noun Harder going 65 yards on the first play from scrimmage. That TD run kicked on the continuous clock.
"The plays we run, I am running behind guys I don't want any part of when I am on defense in practice, so yes I feel like any time I get the ball with those guys in front of me, that scoring is a possibility," Noun Harder said. "The guys execute every single play. Our team is playing really well this year."
C-M scored on its next possession to get on the board. The Tigerhawks went 71 yards on 12 plays. They got behind the sticks again on two penalties but a 27-yard catch by Trey Hockemeier moved the chains on fourth down. Myers also had a 14-yard catch on the drive and Bracewell gained 21 yards on the ground one play later.
The drive ended when Bracewell found Hockemeier on a 7-yard TD pass play.
Bracewell finished 22-of-37 for 222 yards and one score. He also rushed for a 2-yard TD in the fourth.
The Tigerhawk receivers were led by Myers, who finished with 72 yards on six catches. Hockemeier added 43 yards and a TD on five catches and Cael Bracewell finished with 38 yards on four catches.
The Hawks' game plan was to take away Curtis Horras, who came into the game averaging 20 yards per catch and a Class A-best 515 receiving yards.
Horras had a 46-yard reception during the Tigerhawks' fourth-quarter scoring drive but was limited to two catches for nine yards the rest of the night.
"You want to eliminate what other team's do well and he's a great playmaker for them," Parkinson said. "I want to give credit to our defensive coach Brad Bowlin for a great game plan and the execution."
Maston led the Hawk defense with a career-high 9 1/2 tackles. Fisk had 5 1/2 tackles and one interception, Jones added 3 1/2 tackles, 1 1/2 sacks and 3 1/2 tackles for loss and Squires chipped in five tackles and now has a team-best 38 for the season.
Gage Elscott finished with three tackles, one sack and 2 1/2 tackles for loss and Noun Harder and Caleb Rea each had 3 1/2 tackles.
Colfax-Mingo's defense was led by Hockemeier and McConeghey, who each had 5 1/2 tackles. Joe Earles had 3 1/2 tackles and Bracewell and Grant Alexander added three tackles apiece.
The loss drops the Tigerhawks to 2-4 overall and 2-2 in the district. Colfax-Mingo can still clinch a playoff berth with wins in its final two regular season games.
"We have a lot to play for still. We need to learn from this one, move on and go get the next two," Lietz said.
Notes: Rea's only kickoff return went for 40 yards. ... The Hawks have scored at least 46 points in four of their six games this fall. The 52 points on Friday were a season-high. ... L-S hosts Ogden this week and plays at Belle Plaine in the final week of the regular season. Belle Plaine also is undefeated in the district and officially in the postseason. That game could decide the district championship. ... Colfax-Mingo can clinch a playoff berth with a road win over Madrid next week and a home win over Wayne in the final week.