EXIRA — Exira/Elk Horn-Kimballton controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, limiting Lenox’s rushing attack, while creating big holes for its own rushing game in a 56-20 win over the Tigers here Wednesday during Eight-Man first round playoff action.
The difference in the game was Lenox’s inability to run against the Exira/EHK defense, while the Spartans did what they wanted against Lenox’s defense.
Exira/EHK accumulated 400 yards rushing on 47 carries, while holding the Tigers to -3 yards rushing on 27 attempts.
“They control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball,” Lenox head coach Allen Dukes said. “Our defensive side, whenever they were running the ball, they were running wherever they wanted to. They pulled the guard and led with the fullback. They had a 5-yard gain every time, at least.”
Lenox was also hampered by losing quarterback Mason Peterson for a portion of the game, after leaving with a hip injury after just a few plays.
Peterson returned to the game, however, and threw for 129 yards and three touchdowns — all to Dustin Gordon, who replaced Peterson at quarterback while he was out.
The Tigers fell behind early after giving Exira/EHK a short field to play with on offense several times.
“In the first quarter, we had a couple of turnovers in our end,” Dukes said. “We had a feeling that’s what they were trying to do. When you’re as big and physical as they are, and you give them a short field, they’re going to take advantage of it.”
And, after falling behind 35-0, trying to stage a comeback becomes extremely difficult against a team that runs the ball as often and with as much success as Exira/EHK.
The Spartans completed just one pass out of five attempts during the game.
Lenox didn’t give up, however; as the Tigers continued to fight in the second half.
“Every time they had a running clock on us, we were able to get it into the end zone to get that back, until the fourth quarter and they had the wind at their back,” Dukes said. “They scored twice to put it back up over the 35.”
Lenox finishes the season with an overall record of 6-4. Exira/EHK, now 10-0 for the season, advances to take on a 7-4 Coon Rapids-Bayard team, which upset defending state champion Fremont-Mills 45-34 on Wednesday.
Exira/EHK 56, Lenox 20
Lenox 0 6 14 0 - 20
Exira/EHK 14 21 14 7 - 56
E — Drew Peppers 13 run (Zach Klieforth kick), 6:46
E — Nick Peppers 2 run (Klieforth kick), 1:46
E — D. Peppers 1 run (pass failed), 11:31
E — D. Peppers 2 run (D. Peppers run), 9:01
E — Trey Sander 22 run (Klieforth kick), 4:34
L — Dustin Gordon 7 pass from Mason Peterson (kick missed), 1:50
E — Sander 37 run (Klieforth kick), 9:48
L — Gordon 60 pass from Peterson (2-pt. failed), 7:40
E — D. Peppers 13 run (Klieforth kick), 5:47
L — Gordon 20 pass from Peterson (Caleb Lange pass from Peterson), 1:43
E — D. Peppers 47 run (Klieforth kick), 10:56
Rushing: L - Hugo Montiel 5-15, Dustyn Rauch 9-(-2), Mason Peterson 7-(-5), Dustin Gordon 6-(-11). E - Drew Peppers 18-155, Trey Sander 17-151, Nick Peppers 11-40, Jared Hansen 1-4.
Passing: L - Peterson 4-9-2 for 129 yards, Gordon 1-2-0 for 8 yards. E - D. Peppers 1-5-0 for 8 yards.
Receiving: L - Gordon 4-129, Grant Christensen 1-8. E - N. Peppers 1-8.
Tackles (solo-assists): L - Peterson (6-7), Caleb Lange (1-8), Rauch (3-5), Montiel (5-2), Christensen (4-3), Todd Stoaks (3-3).