PREP FOOTBALL: Orabs heading back to Dome with 29-19 win

LAKE CITY, Iowa -- Sheldon and South Central Calhoun were playing neck-and-neck during the first quarter of Monday night's Class 2A state quarterfinal football game.

LAKE CITY, Iowa -- Sheldon and South Central Calhoun were playing neck-and-neck during the first quarter of Monday night's Class 2A state quarterfinal football game.

Then the second quarter started.

The Orabs racked up nearly 150 yards of offense and scored 14 points en route to a 29-19 victory, sending Sheldon to the UNI Dome for the first time since 2005.

"It is pretty exciting," Sheldon head coach Matt Meendering said. "We had our expectations pretty high, but we've kind of surprised some people. This team has matured and has become an unselfish team. There aren't a ton of standouts, they just want to play football.

"These kids are going to realize their goal and hopefully we're playing two more games in there this season. We're going to give ourselves a shot and see what we got."


While the Orabs (11-1) don't have a standout player, quarterback Chris Balster was pretty good.

Balster ran for 129 yards and threw for 103 more.

Toby Lo had 56 yards rushing, while Michael Lovan (36) and Blake Koedam (34) each contributed to Sheldon's ground attack, which accounted for 265 yards on the night.

South Central Calhoun had 185 yards rushing and 64 yards passing.

Jacob Simpson led the Titans with 134 yards on 17 carries. He scored two touchdowns for SCC.

After the Titans took the opening kickoff and marched down the field for a touchdown, the Orabs answered.

Koedam answered with a five-yard run, but after the missed PAT, the score was tied at 6.

Sheldon added two points after the snap on a punt went over the head of SCC's punter for a safety.


Taking an 8-6 lead into the second quarter, the Orabs made their move.

Lovan scored on a 14-yard run to open the quarter and Balster found Ray Scott (two catches, 36 yards) for a 23-yard score as Sheldon took a 22-6 lead into halftime.

"The offense was really effective in the second quarter," Meendering said. "We ran for 107 yards in the second quarter alone and we had probably 40 yards passing. We forced a fumble late in the second quarter and we put that score in and we got the lead. That was big going into halftime."

Balster added an 18-yard touchdown run on Sheldon's first possession in the third quarter as the Orabs had a 29-6 lead.

The Titans, which formed from Southern Calhoun and Rockwell City-Lytton this season, couldn't recover. Even though the team won the previous two state titles in Class A, the Titans couldn't come back on the solid Orab defense.

"They are a team that didn't have to play from behind at all during the year," Meendering said. "You win that many state championships like they have and they are very good from coming from behind. But we put them in a position where they weren't comfortable."

Bruce McWilliams had 10 solo tackles and three assists for the Orabs, while Austin Johnson had seven solo tackles.

Daniel Westphalen had eight total tackles, while Michael Schilling had two sacks, forced a fumble and was credited with the safety.


Sheldon will face North Polk at 1:30 p.m. on Monday at the UNI Dome in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

"From what it sounds, they are a strong running team, but they do have 1,000 yards passing, as well," Meendering said. "They can run and pass and they have a couple good backs, so we have our work cut out for us. It's going to be a tough ball game."

SCC 6 0 7 6 -- 19

Sheldon 8 14 7 0 -- 29

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