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Humboldt senior fullback Tyler Rutz busts through a pair of Charles City tacklers at the goal line in the Wildcats' 37-6 thrashing of the Comets on Oct. 19 in Humboldt.

Humboldt pounds Charles City for 3A-3 title, 37-6

HUMBOLDT – Letdown?
Not the Humboldt High football team, which had plenty to play for last week.
Not only did the Wildcats stay focused on the task at hand, they did it in dominating fashion with a 37-6 drubbing of the Charles City Comets in a regular season finale at Mason Maach Field in Humboldt on Oct. 19.
The Wildcats came out swinging and took it to the Comets early, building up a 30-0 halftime lead, and never looked back as they wrapped up the Class 3A District 3 championship and the No. 1 seed in the opening round of this week’s state playoffs.
While Humboldt and Clear Lake finish with identical 5-1 district records, the Wildcats secured the top spot by virtue of their 26-10 victory over the Lions back on Sept. 21 in Humboldt.
Humboldt hosted Newton (5-4), the fourth-place team from District 4 while Clear Lake, the No. 2 seed, hosted the District No. 3 seed Boone.
“We talked about coming out and setting the tone early and playing hard. We still had a lot to play for going into tonight’s game – an outright district championship and home field advantage in the playoffs,” Humboldt 13-year head coach Greg Thomas said.
“The seniors set down as a goal that they wanted to be 6-3 or 7-2 this year and they got it done and I’m very proud of them,” Thomas said.
Humboldt limited the Comets to 136 yards of total offense. Most of those came in the final minutes when the Comets capped their only scoring drive of the night.
The Wildcats, who got 211 of their 330 yards of net offense on the ground, were again paced by sophomore tailback Brady Ross, who piled up 149 yards on just nine carries. Ross now has 1,203 yards on the season on 210 carries for a 5.7 yards-per-carry average with 16 touchdowns.
Humboldt’s defense held the Comets on their opening drive and after a short punt, covered 52 yards on seven plays, capped by Austin Zylstra’s 22-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead.
Charles City’s next drive resulted in another three-and-out, thanks to a defensive sack on third down. Humboldt couldn’t advance on its next series, but neither could Charles City on their ensuing series, which saw Humboldt partially block a punt, giving HHS a first down on the Comet 15.
HHS senior fullback Tyler Rutz plowed in from one yard out for a touchdown at 11:22 in the second quarter. Zylstra’s kick made it 10-0 Wildcats.
Humboldt’s defense continued to apply pressure as the Wildcats’ Alex Nelson intercepted a Comet pass on the next possession at 10:24. Humboldt then marched 67-yards on 10 plays, capped by Ryan Lee’s one-yard touchdown run at 5:08. Zylstra’s kick was wide right, but HHS was in front 16-0.
Charles City managed one first down on its next drive, but it soon ended when Devin Shiflett sacked the Comet quarterback, giving HHS the ball on the CC 45. On the first play from scrimmage, Wildcat quarterback Ben Jacobson passed over the top of the CC defense to a wide open Matt Pogge, who caught the ball in stride and sprinted into the north end zone. Zylstra’s kick gave HHS a 23-0 lead with 2:30 left in the first half.
A Charles City turnover helped set up Humboldt’s next score, a 16-yard pass from Jacobson to Tyler Zaugg with 23 seconds left on the clock before halftime. Zylstra’s kick gave HHS a 30-0 lead.
Ross ended the scoring with a touchdown run in the third quarter. With reserves in the lineup, the Comets scored with 21 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
“Our defense played really well and stopped what they like to do. Charles City has some key kids out. Their starting quarterback is out with a high-ankle sprain and one of their running backs is out so they weren’t able to do things like they like to do. I’m really happy with the way our kids mentally prepared all week and focused and got the job done,” Thomas said.
If the Wildcats win their Wednesday first round game, they will most likely host the winner of the Waverly-Shell Rock (5-4, 3-3) at South Tama (7-2, 5-2) contest, on Monday, Oct. 29. The team with the best district finish hosts the second round game as well.

Quarter scoring
Charles City 0 0 0 6 6
Humboldt 3 27 7 0 37
Scoring summary
H–Austin Zylstra 22-yard field goal 6:29 in 1st quarter
H–Tyler Rutz 1-yd run, Zylstra kick, 11:22 2nd
H–Aaron Mickelson 1-yd run, kick wide right, 5:08 2nd
H–Ben Jacobson 45-yard pass to Matt Pogge, Zylstra kick 2:22 2nd
H–Jacobson 4-yd pass to Tyler Zaugg, Zylstra kick, 0:23 2nd
H–Brady Ross 15-yd run, Zylstra kick, 8:43 3rd
C–Adam Murray 1-yd run, conversion pass fail, 0:21 4th
CC Humb
1st downs 6 16
Rushes-yards 23-62 21-211
Passes (CAI) 5-19-1 4-12-0
Passing yards 74 119
Total net yards 136 330
Penalties-yards 2-15 1-5
Fumbles-lost 1-1 1-0
Tackles (solo-assist): Brady Ross 3-2, Michael Gargano 3-1, Blaine Struthers 3-1, Cody Weisbrich 3-0, Garrett Nelson 2-1, Ryan Lee 1-2, Geof Bruder 2-0, Aaron Mickelson 1-0, Devin Shiflett 1-0, Taylor Pedersen 0-1, Bryan Larson 0-1, Don Smith 2-0, Conner Thompson 1-0, Tyler Zaugg 1-0, Michael Orness 0-1, Alex Nelson 0-1, Jerod Hauck 0-1.
Pass interceptions: Alex Nelson 1.
Fumbles recovered: Ryan Lee 1.
Sacks: none.
Tackle for loss: Weisbrich, Smith, Shiflett.
Blocked punt: none.
Kickoffs: Austin Zylstra 5-285.
Kickoff returns: Zaugg 2-33, Heinz 1-0, Thompson 1-2.
Punts: Zylstra 4-109 (27).
Punt returns: Zaugg 1-16, Hauck 1-nr.
RUSHING–H: Brady Ross 19-149, Tyler Rutz 9-43, Jaxon Heinz 1-12, Aaron Mickelson 3-7, Ryan Lee 5-(-1), Ben Jacobson 1-3, Michael Gargano 2-(-2).
PASSING–H: Ben Jacobson 6 of 9 for 106 yards, 0 interceptions. Michael Gargano 1 of 2 for 13 yards, 0 ints.
RECEIVING–H: Garrett Nelson 3-48, Matt Pogge 1-45, Jack Curran 1-13, Jaxon Heinz 1-9, Tyler Zaugg 1-4.
Dist. All
Humboldt 5-1 *6-3
Clear Lake 5-1 7-2
Waverly-Shell Rock 3-3 5-4
Webster City 3-3 4-5
Iowa Falls-Alden 3-3 4-5
Algona 2-4 3-6
Charles City 0-6 0-9
*Humboldt forfeited Aug. 31 45-6 victory over South Central Calhoun
Oct. 19 games
Humboldt 37, Charles City 6
Clear Lake 27, Algona 7
Waverly-SR 35, Iowa Falls 25
Storm Lake 44, Webster City 29 (ND)
A Playoff Qualifiers, 1st Round
Newton (5-4) at Humboldt (6-3)
Waverly-Shell Rock (5-4) at South Tama (7-2)
Webster City (4-5) at Grinnell (9-0)
Boone (7-2) at Clear Lake (7-2)