Vikings sail past Comets 33-6
By John Burbridge
DECORAH — Propelled by a series of big plays — including two 50-yard touchdown runs and a long field goal by high school standards — the Decorah Vikings sailed past the Charles City Comets, 33-6, in Class 3A-District 3 football action on Friday.
For the Vikings (3-3, 2-0), it was their third straight victory after losing their first three games of the season in a top-heavy schedule that featured several non-district perennial state-ranked powers.
The Comets fell to 2-4 and 0-2.
Andrew Magner led Decorah’s running attack with 100 yards on six carries. More than half of that total came on a 51-yard touchdown run late in the first half where he broke free of several would-be tacklers before outrunning the rest of the field to the end zone.
Earlier, Cael Luzum found a path down the sidelines for a 50-yard TD to open the scoring for the Vikings in the first quarter.
Lucas Benzing caught a 31-yard TD pass from Viking quarterback Tucker Young to give Decorah a 17-0 lead in the second quarter ahead of Magner’s run, which helped put the Vikings up 24-0 at halftime.
Like in their previous loss to Waterloo East, the Comets were again plagued by a punt that pinned them inside their own 5-yard line. While trying to crawl out from that hole, the Comets put the ball on the ground while running a sweep play and Decorah senior defensive end Logan Halverson was able to recover the ball in the end zone to help put the Vikings up 30-0 early in the fourth quarter.
Charles City suffered from poor field position right from the start.
Though forecasted rain showers managed to miss the game, there was substantial rain before the game which made the field slippery.
A slip upon receiving the opening kickoff placed the Comets inside their own 5 yard line to start the game.
Without the services of one of its big play makers, Charles City attacked up the middle with reigning Team MVP Trever Heitz getting the bulk of the calls.
Heitz led all rushers with 100-plus hard-fought yards as he moves closer in becoming Charles City’s all-time leading rusher amid his junior season.
With three regular-season games left, Heitz is a little more than 300 yards short.
During Charles City’s lone scoring drive, junior quarterback Alec Staudt went down with a leg injury. He was replaced by Mario Hoefer, who eventually scored on a 1-yard keeper to get the Comets on the board with 5:44 left in regulation.
The play was set up with Hoefer’s 13-yard pass to Marcus Cranshaw.
In addition to converting a pair of PAT kicks, Decorah senior kicker Gabriel Austin accounted for 6 more points for the Vikings while going 2 of 2 on field goal attempts. After connecting from 25 yards out in the second quarter, Austin capped the game’s scoring with a 39-yarder that would have been good from at least 45 yards out.
The Comets will travel to Independence next Friday (Oct. 11) for another district game. The Mustangs are undefeated (6-0, 2-0) while outscoring the competition 267 to 35.
DECORAH 33, CHARLES CITY 6
Scoring By Quarters
CHARLES CITY 0 0 0 6 — 6
DECORAH 7 17 0 9 — 33
D — Cael Luzum 50-yard run (Gabriel Austin kick) 7-0, 1:34 1st
D — Austin 25-yard field goal 10-0, 8:03 2nd
D — Lucas Benzing 31-yard pass from Tucker Young (Austin kick) 17-0, 6:37 2nd
D — Andrew Magner 51-yard run (Owen Bruening kick) 24-0, 2:28 2nd
D — Logan Halverson fumble recovery in end zone (Kick failed) 30-0, 10:10 4th
CC — Mario Hoefer 1-yard run (Pass failed) 30-6, 5:44 4th
D — Austin 39-yard field goal 33-6, 4:14 4th