LONE TREE — This time, they would leave no doubt.
A year after missing the 8-player playoffs despite a one-loss record, the Lone Tree Lions football team clinched a berth with a week to spare after a 77-30 thrashing of Iowa Valley Friday night in a District 4 high school football game.
“It means a lot,” first-year Lone Tree Coach Aaron Bohr said. “We put a lot of pressure on ourselves last year. … Getting this, it’s great because now we can just focus on getting a district title.”
Lone Tree (8-1, 5-0 8-player District 4) can earn that coveted district crown with a win at Midland next week.
Iowa Valley (5-3, 3-2) handed Lone Tree its lone loss last season, but Friday night was a different story from the beginning as the Lions jumped on top, 15-0, with a 46-yard touchdown run by senior Brock Smith, then a 53-yard TD pass from sophomore quarterback Harmon Miller to Smith.
Smith later added 16-yard return of a fumble forced by teammate Casey Shalla, part of a stout Lone Tree defensive effort that forced five turnovers and held a potent Iowa Valley offense to its lowest output this season.
“When you get those fourth downs, when you get those turnovers, it’s huge for us as a team,” said Smith, who caught five passes for 121 yards. “We can go out and make plays on offense and our sideline is jumping up and down, our fans out here, they’re jumping up and down. It’s great to see everyone get involved.”
Lone Tree outgained Iowa Valley, 501 to 337, and outscored the Tigers 34-6 in the second half.
Lone Tree senior tailback Bryce Houser — who entered the game ranked seventh in 8-player rushing yards and third in the state in rush TDs — ran for 204 yards in 24 attempts with TD runs of 42 and 49 yards. Houser closed the scoring with a 75-yard kickoff return.
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“I think we’ve just gotten better week in, week out,” Houser said. “Our entire offensive line is just doing a great job for me.”
Miller threw for 206 yards and accounted for four total TDs, including two tosses to sophomore Keegan Edwards.
Iowa Valley quarterback Ben Smith threw two TD passes and ran for another, but was intercepted twice (Houser and Avery Knock).
AT LONE TREE
Lone Tree 77, Iowa Valley 30
Iowa Valley 8 16 0 6—30
Lone Tree 22 21 20 14—77
LT — Brock Smith 46 run (Harmon Miller pass to Aaron Slaughter)
LT — Brock Smith 53 pass from Harmon Miller (Austin Marshek kick)
IV — Garet Sims 41 pass from Ben Smith (Garet Sims run)
LT — Keegan Edwards 23 pass from Harmon Miller (Austin Marshek kick)
IV — Ben Smith 37 run (Ben Smith pass to Breven Platt)
LT — Bryce Houser 42 run (Austin Marshek kick)
LT — Keegan Edwards 19 pass from Harmon Miller (kick failed)
IV — Garet Sims 2 run (Garet Sims run)
LT — Bryce Houser 49 run (Harmon Miller run)
LT — Avery Knock 22 run (run failed)
LT — Brock Smith 16 fumble return (run failed)
LT — Harmon Miller 2 run (Harmon Miller pass to Avery Knock)
LT — Aaron Slaughter 4 run (Austin Marshek kick)
IV — Noah Mumby 28 pass from Ben Smith (pass failed)
LT — Bryce Houser 75 kickoff return (Austin Marshek kick)
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RUSHING — Iowa Valley: Garet Sims 16-34, Ben Smith 11-53, Derek Leonard 2-10, Gavin Patterson 1-0, Evan Reuter 1-0, Tristan Stubblefield 1-(-5), Isaiah Moncada 1-(-3); Lone Tree: Bryce Houser 24-204, Avery Knock 5-18, Aaron Slaughter 5-14, Brock Smith 2-49, Harmon Miller 3-10.
PASSING — Iowa Valley: Ben Smith 12-23-2-207, Garet Sims 2-2-0-38; Lone Tree: Harmon Miller 9-14-0-206.
RECEIVING — Iowa Valley: Breven Platt 1-20, Garet Sims 6-110, Ben Smith 2-38, Noah Mumby 3-57, Derek Leonard 1-10, Ryan Becker 1-10; Lone Tree: Bryce Houser 1-15, Brock Smith 5-121, Keegan Edwards 2-42, Matthew Selck 1-27.
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