CEDAR FALLS — For the second straight season, North Scott played Cedar Rapids Xavier’s spoiler.
This time it resulted in the Lancers’ first trip to the state finals.
Carter Markham hit Parker Ruth for a 7-yard touchdown in overtime, lifting eighth-ranked North Scott over No. 1 Xavier, 17-10, in a Class 3A state football semifinal thriller Thursday night at the UNI-Dome. The Lancers (8-1) will face No. 2 Harlan (11-0) here next Thursday at 7 p.m.
Xavier didn’t get on the board for the first three quarters but finally scored with 11:11 left in the fourth. Jaxon Rexroth hit Jack Lux on an 11-yard swing pass for a TD, capping a 10-play, 69-yard drive and cutting the deficit to 10-7.
The Saints (10-1) forced the extra frame with a final drive to the North Scott 16. Lincoln Oakley nailed a 33-yard field goal as time expired to give Xavier another chance.
North Scott scored on its third play in OT, then its defense held, breaking up a last-ditch Xavier pass play at the goal line on fourth-and-goal from the 9.
The opening half was a slugfest that made points a rarity. Xavier had the first prime opportunity on its first possession. After first-down runs by Rexroth and Lux, Nick Mautino broke a run to the outside. As he dove forward inside the North Scott 5, the ball popped loose and bounced out of the back of the end zone, returning the ball to the Lancers on the touchback.
Turnovers played a part in last year’s first-round game that North Scott won 9-3 in Eldridge. Xavier had issues handling the ball in the first half, fumbling four times and losing one of those.
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North Scott broke the scoreless tie here on its last possession before the break. Lancers QB Carter Markham scored on a 7-yard run. Luck was on North Scott’s side as Markham lost the ball as he dove for the goal line. He scrambled and recovered it in the end zone for a 7-0 lead with 50 seconds left in the second quarter.
Defenses dictated the first half, allowing just one score. North Scott had 141 yards in the opening half, while Xavier managed 137.
Turnovers hampered the Saints in the third quarter. Their opening drive ended with an interception in North Scott territory. After stopping the Lancers, Xavier fumbled the ensuing punt that was recovered by North Scott at the Saints 19.
The Lancers capitalized with an Oliver Hughes field goal for a 10-0 lead with 3:20 remaining in the third.
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