TIFFIN — The result may not be a surprise but the manner was unexpected.
In a battle of Class 3A District 5 frontrunners, North Scott turned an anticipated close game into a lopsided affair.
Quarterback Nile McLaughlin rush for two touchdowns and threw for another, leading the third-ranked Lancers to a dominant 45-7 prep football victory over No. 6 Clear Creek Amana on Friday night at Clipper Field.
The loss was Clear Creek Amana’s first this season.
“They are as good of a team as there is out there in Class 3A,” CCA Coach Gabe Bakker said of North Scott. “They took it to us right away. They did what they had to do and our kids were reeling a little bit and we just never found our footing.”
Offensively, McLaughlin caused the Clippers fits. The senior quarterback completed 20 of 28 passes for 248 yards, including 195 before the break.
McLaughlin rebounded from his only turnover — an interception in the end zone — with a 7-yard touchdown run after a Cade Akers pick gave the Lancers the ball at the Clippers 18.
McLaughlin also connected with Carson Rollinger, who made a diving grab for a 24-yard scoring strike with 49 seconds left in the second quarter for a 24-0 halftime edge.
The Lancers (7-1, 4-0) manufactured a 13-play, 95-yard drive on their first possession of the second half. Jacob Porth capped the series with a 3-yard TD. McLaughlin struck again on the next possession, scoring on a 1-yard run for a 38-0 lead and a continuous clock for 10:54 of the fourth.
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North Scott’s special teams and defense made an impact, giving the Lancers a huge advantage in field position throughout the game. The defense held CCA to just one first down in the first half and six overall. It blanked the Clippers until Andrew Rohret hit Mitch Evans for a 9-yard TD with nine seconds left in the game.
Special teams even got in on the scoring when Kade Sandknop returned a punt 31 yards for a TD and a 17-0 lead at the end of the first quarter. The deficit was tough for a team powered by the run and a strong defense.
“If we could have stretched the field and hit a vertical ball early on that could have helped,” Bakker said. “We were inside our 20 like four times. We had two turnovers early and they returned the punt.
The Clippers (7-1, 3-1) are still on good footing in the playoff race and could still get a share of the district crown with a win over DeWitt Central and Davenport Assumption victory over North Scott next week.
“I said this can go one of two ways,” Bakker said. “We can learn from it and then put it behind us or we can dwell on it, because we have a chance to win an eighth regular-season game, which has never happened here.”
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