Prep football: H-LP Wolves attack, win big
LAKE PARK, Iowa — Junior quarterback Brady Van Iperen rushed for a pair of touchdowns, passed for three six-pointers and scored on a thrilling 69-yard kickoff return Friday evening at Silver Lake City Park, sparking the Harris-Lake Park Wolves to a 63-22 victory over Kingsley-Pierson.
The impressive win improves H-LP to 4-4 for the season and the Wolves, now 3-3 in Eight Player, District 1, can likely earn a playoff berth if they can win in next week’s (Friday) season-finale at Remsen against Remsen St. Mary’s.
Playing its last home game of the regular season against a K-P squad which came to town with an identical 2-3 District 1 record and was 3-5 for the season, H-LP capitalized on an early holding penalty on the Panthers which nullified the game’s first touchdown.
After receiving the opening kickoff, K-P’s Colton Phelps, a 205-pound senior running back gained big yardage on a couple of bruising runs, moving the ball deep into Wolves’ territory.
It appeared the Wolves were in for a battle.
Phelps seemingly capped the Panthers’ six-play, 51-yard drive with an 11-yard touchdown burst, just a minute and 18 seconds into the contest.
But a holding penalty on the play erased the score —and the Wolves went to work on defense.
H-LP freshman defensive end Jordan Kyle and junior linebacker Ryan Gembler combined for a couple of tackles for losses before Kyle delivered a key quarterback sack and the Panthers were denied.
“I was impressed with how we came alive defensively and stopped their first drive,” declared H-LP head coach Lane Gunderson. “I really expected a close game, but that defensive series —after the penalty took their touchdown away —really set the tone for us.”
Buoyed by its defensive stand, the Wolves quickly went to work on offense.
Van Iperen, who finished the night with 148 yards rushing on 11 carries, ripped off a couple of nifty runs for first downs and then fired a pass along the left sideline to rookie wide receiver Cole Bosma.
Bosma, a senior transfer from Round Lake-Brewster who is playing his first season of football, leaped up and made a spectacular catch, turning the play into a 33-yard touchdown.
“Cole’s doing a great job for us,” praised Gunderson. “We’re really glad to have him.”
Junior David Schurtenberger, a foreign-exchange student from Switzerland, booted the first of his seven extra-point kicks without a miss and with 7:46 showing on the first-quarter clock, H-LP owned a 7-0 lead.
Once again, the Wolves defense —spearheaded by junior linebacker Skylar Cudmore —stopped the Panthers.
A 12-yard punt return by Van Iperen and a nine-yard rush by Cudmore moved the Wolves to midfield and then Van Iperen broke loose for what it looked like a 39-yard TD run.
A holding penalty on the Wolves nullified that score, but H-LP stayed focused and —after a 28-yard scamper by Van Iperen —were on the march again.
Van Iperen’s shifty 14-yard touchdown run capped the drive at the 3:13 mark.
Panthers score first in the second quarter, Van Iperen responds with his long TD kickoff return
Trailing 14-0, the Panthers recovered a Van Iperen fumble and midfield and capitalized with a well-executed drive, capped by Jacob Harvey’s one-yard touchdown plunge with 8:30 remaining in the first half.
A solid tackle by Schurtenberger stopped K-P’s two-point conversion attempt.
Van Iperen, who combines good speed with exceptional agility, gave the momentum right back to the Wolves with his 69-yard kickoff return, utilizing numerous fakes and cuts to weave his way all the way to the north end zone.
Schurtenbergers’ third PAT kick made the score 21-6 with 8:15 to play in the second quarter.
HL-P’s next score came after a successful defensive stand by the Panthers forced a rare Wolves’ punt.
But, Kyle boomed a beauty and a hustling Gembler downed the ball at the H-LP one-yard line.
On K-P’s first play, Bosma, Kyle, Van Iperen and junior defensive end Kole Ruml all crashed across the line of scrimmage and tackled the Panthers in the end zone.
Ruml, who later recovered a fumble, was credited with the two-point safety at the 2:12 mark.
H-LP scored once more before intermission.
Backed up against their own end zone, the Wolves increased their lead to 30-6 when Gembler raced 74 yards down the right sideline for a touchdown after catching a short pass from Van Iperen.
Wolves recover three fumbles, score four third-quarter TDs
Aided by a trio of fumble recoveries, H-LP totally took command in the third quarter.
Van Iperen, aided by a key block from Kyle, rambled 49 yards down the right sideline for the Wolves’ first score just 27 seconds into the second half.
Following a fumble recovery by Van Iperen, after a strip by Bosma, Van Iperen (six-of-seven passing for 155 yards) tossed a perfect lead pass to Kyle for a 24-yard scoring strike.
Leading 43-6, the Wolves scored again after Ruml’s recovery on a 23-yard tackle-breaking run by Cudmore (five rushes for 64 yards) down the left sideline.
H-LP-s fourth touchdown of the third quarter came on a nine-yard burst by Cudmore behind key blocks from Kyle and Gembler on a sweep to the right.
Schurtenberger scores fourth-quarter touchown as Wolves go up 63-6
With just 44 seconds gone in the fourth quarter, Schurtenberger thrilled his teammates by scoring his first-ever touchdown with a 26-yard dash along the left sideline.
“That was great,” beamed Bosma about Schurtenberger’s TD run. “He’s a great kid who does a lot of good things for us, both kicking and on defense. It was neat to see him run for a touchdown.”
The Panther scored twice in the closing minutes to make the final score a bit closer.
At the 8:52 mark, Jordan Laddusaw ran in from four yards out and quarterback Austin Neumann added the two-pointer.
Neuamann later broke loose on a 70-yard scoring romp and ran in the two-point conversion on a bootleg with 5:22 to play in the game.
H-LP’s late-game highlight was a 20-yard pass completion from a pair of freshmen —Cale Hellinga to Shane Nelson, who made a great catch along the left sideline inside the K-P 10-yard stripe.
Cudmore, who hits hard, paced the Wolves’ defense with 21 total tackles —12 solos and nine assists —along with a fumble recovery.
Besides racking up well over 300 all-purpose yards, the elusive Van Iperen had a great night on defense, too, with 13 tackles (seven solos, six assists).
“This was a fun game to watch,” summed up Gunderson. “I was impressed with how we battled and played physical. We played a complete game with the attitude that it takes to win football games.”
K-P 0 6 0 16 — 22
H-LP 14 16 27 6 —63