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Wildcats rout Newton in playoff opener, 42-3

Nikko Wheeler runs outside for yardage against Newton on Oct. 24 in Humboldt in first round 3A playoff action.

HUMBOLDT – About the only thing wrong with opening night of the Iowa High School football playoffs last week (Oct. 24) was the weather.
And even at that, the cold, wet, slippery conditions at Mason Maach Field in Humboldt played right into the Wildcats’ rushing attack as the Wildcats routed the Newton Cardinals, 42-3 in the first round of the Class 3A state playoffs.
Humboldt ran right over the Cardinals on their opening drive and never looked back in rolling up an impressive post-season victory.
Brady Ross ran for 158 yards and two touchdowns and quarterback Ben Jacobson hooked up with teammates Tyler Zaugg, Jaxon Heinz and Garrett Nelson on touchdown passes as Humboldt piled up 416 yards of offense.
“We really set the tone early. I didn’t see this final score coming. Newton is a good football team. I couldn’t be more proud of a group of kids. They have worked their tails off. We played really well tonight,” Humboldt coach Greg Thomas said.
“I thought the key to tonight’s game was Humboldt’s offensive line play. They were on all of our defenders in the box. They run hard – all of their backs. It seemed like they had us all blocked and that’s a credit to them. They got off the ball and got into us,” Newton coach Joe Ergenbright said.
“Newton can be a dangerous team offensively with their passing attack. It rained all da today and the weather conditions were in our favor,” Thomas said.
“We talk about being physical with people and it starts with our offensive line and our running backs. Rutz had some nice yards and did a great job kicking out and blocking. Our offensive line did a super job. Brady continues to run hard and Nikko did a nice job when he got in there and ran hard,” Thomas said.
“Defensively we had the philosophy that they were going to get a few, but we’ll bend and not break. We didn’t think they could consistently move the football on us. It turned out our way tonight,” Thomas said.
Ergenbright, whose team finished the season with a 5-5 record, continued his praise for the Wildcats.
“They would go play action and we didn’t get pressure on their quarterback, so he would have time to throw. I know our cornerback slipped a few times back there and they were open on some big third down plays, which kept drives going for them. We just couldn’t get our defense off the field,” Ergenbright said.
“Credit goes to Humboldt. They’re a good football team,” Ergenbright said. “I wish Humboldt good luck. They’re a good team that will go a ways. We were beat by a better team tonight. There’s no about that.”
Quarter scoring
Newton 3 0 0 0 3
Humboldt 6 22 7 7 42
Scoring summary
H–Brady Ross 9-yd run, kick wide right, 9:19 1st quarter
N–Nick Easley 20-yd field goal, 2:14 1st
H–Ben Jacobson 40-yd pass to Tyler Zaugg, Jacobson pass to Zaugg, 11:46 2nd
H–Jacobson 22-yd pass to Jaxon Heinz, Austin Zylstra kick, 6:47 2nd
H–Ryan Lee 1-yd run, Zylstra kick, 1:13 2nd
H–Ross 13-yd run, Zylstra kick, 7:28 3rd
H–Jacobson 16-yd pass to Garrett Nelson, Zylstra kick, 10:01 4th
GAME STATISTICS
Newton Humb
1st downs 16 22
Rushes-yards 29-158 21-211
Passes (CAI) 12-24-2 11-14-0
Passing yards 136 205
Total net yards 294 416
Penalties-yards 6-50 6-40
Fumbles-lost 0 0
HHS DEFENSIVE STATISTICS
Tackles (solo-assist): Jerod Hauck 2-7, Alex Nelson 5-3, Brady Ross 3-5, Ryan Lee 2-5, Nikko Wheeler 3-3, Bryan Larson 3-0, Garrett Nelson 1-2, Taylor Pedersen 2-0, Michael Orness 2-0, Ben Jacobson 1-1, Jaxon Heinz 1-0, Don Smith 1-0, Tyler Zaugg 0-1, Austin Zylstra 1-0.
Pass interceptions: Aaron Mickelson 1, Alex Nelson 1.
Fumbles recovered: Ryan Lee 1.
Sacks: none.
Tackle for loss: Wheeler 1, Larson 1, Hauck 1.
Blocked punt: none.
Kickoffs: Austin Zylstra 7-377.
Kickoff returns: Zaugg 1-27.
Punts: none.
Punt returns: Zaugg 1-16, Hauck 1-nr.
OFFENSIVE STATISTICS
RUSHING–H: Brady Ross 16-158, Nikko Wheeler 10-68, Tyler Rutz 7-51, Christian Birdsell 2-1, Ryan Lee 1-1.
PASSING–H: Ben Jacobson 10 of 13 for 197 yards, 0 int. Michael Gargano 1 of 1 for 8 yards, 0 int.
RECEIVING–H: Jaxon Heinz 2-52, Tyler Zaugg 2-48, Matt Pogge 2-43, Garrett Nelson 3-40, Brady Ross 1-14, Christian Birdsell 1-8.