Sigourney-Keota comes out firing vs. Comets
SIGOURNEY — After missing postseason play last year, Sigourney-Keota is right back where it belongs — in the playoffs.
The Savage Cobras, who have a tradition of strong teams that routinely made the playoffs in the late 1990s and early 2000s, clinched their 12th playoff berth in the last 15 years with their 58-7 blowout win over visiting Cardinal on Friday night.
“Any time you can make the playoffs, it’s huge,” said second-year Sigourney-Keota head coach Jared Jensen, who will lead the Savage Cobras into the playoffs for the first time.
Sigourney-Keota (4-4, 3-2 Class 1A District 6) overcame a 2-4 start to earn its first playoff berth in two years.
“We haven’t had the season that we’ve wanted, but we’ve been playing tough teams,” Jensen said. “We haven’t lost to any cupcakes. The teams that we’ve lost to are solid, good football teams. We kind of hopefully convinced our kids of that. It’s not like we’re playing bad.”
And the last couple of weeks, the Savage Cobras have begun to put everything together, earning back-to-back wins over Eddyville-Blakesburg and Cardinal.
“I think we’re clicking at the right time,” Sigourney-Keota junior quarterback Luke Lyle said.
The Savage Cobras were clicking from the opening kickoff on Friday night. Junior inside linebacker Kevin Weber hit Cardinal quarterback Tyler Batterson from behind on the third play of the game, and the impact jarred the ball loose. It fell right into the hands of senior defensive end Brandon Stuhr, who ran 12 yards to the end zone for a touchdown. Lyle found senior Jackson Davis for the two-point conversion, and Sigourney-Keota led 8-0 less than a minute into the game.
“I’d have to thank Kevin for that,” Stuhr said. “It was more him than me. I was just in the right place at the right time. I outstretched my hands and it was there.
“It was good to come out and get a good start like that, especially on defense. We didn’t even have the offense on the field yet, and it was already 8-0. That was a great feeling. We just kept rolling from there.”
They did. After forcing Cardinal to punt, Lyle sprinted for a 61-yard touchdown and freshman Peyton Crawford ran for the two-point conversion to put the Savage Cobras up 16-0.
Cardinal (3-5, 0-5 District 6) then mounted its lone touchdown drive of the night, which was capped by sophomore Nathan Yeager’s 1-yard touchdown run. The score trimmed Sigourney-Keota’s lead to 16-7, but it didn’t seem to fire up the Comets.
“Later in that first quarter we got it to 16-7, but we didn’t have any energy or life on the sideline when we did that,” Cardinal head coach Adam Hadenfeldt said. “By that point we had already given up two touchdowns, and our kids were thinking, ‘Oh, here we go again.’ I don’t know what we have to do get out of that mentality, but we have to do something.”
Sigourney-Keota answered the Comets’ touchdown with another of its own, with Lyle running 40 yards for a touchdown that put the Savage Cobras up 24-7 at the end of the first quarter.
The Savage Cobras blocked a Tyler Albert punt out of the end zone for a safety early in the second quarter, and then junior Kolton Greiner ran for touchdowns of 17 and 12 yards that put Sigourney-Keota up 42-7 at halftime.
Lyle ran for his third touchdown of the game in the third quarter, this one from 30 yards out, and Greiner added the two-point conversion. Lyle finished with 147 yards and three touchdowns on just eight carries.
“It helps when the line gives you holes you can drive trucks through,” Lyle said. “It was great. I just turned around and I’d see a huge hole there.”
Greiner added 89 yards and two scores on eight carries, and Crawford ran for 90 yards on nine attempts. Junior Derek Berg, who scored Sigourney-Keota’s final touchdown of the night on an 11-yard run early in the fourth quarter, had 38 yards on five carries. The Savage Cobras averaged 10.3 yards per carry on the night and finished with 392 rushing yards in the contest.
“We just pushed the ball down the field and had good blocks,” Sigourney-Keota senior center Derek Albert said. “It was 10 yards every play.”
Jensen gave a lot of credit to the improvement of the team’s offensive line.
“Our line did a great job tonight, and that’s kind of where we felt we improved this week,” he said. “There were some big holes. We dominated the line of scrimmage.”
Hadenfeldt was disappointed that his Comets were beaten up at the line of scrimmage.
“We were out-physicaled,” he said. “We knew coming in that they were a big, physical football team. We just weren’t ready for it. They run right at you with their single wing and to their credit they did a good job tonight and we didn’t have an answer.”
Sigourney-Keota’s dominant performance was topped by the fact that the Savage Cobras were 7-for-7 on two-point conversion tries.
“We’re playing the best football we’ve played all season, I feel,” Stuhr said. “We’re peaking at the right time. We needed this win to secure our [playoff] spot, and we’re looking to go next weekend and beat up on some [Iowa City Regina] Regals.”
Cardinal 7 0 0 0 — 7
S-K 24 18 8 8 — 58
SK — Brandon Stuhr 12 fumble return (Jackson Davis pass from Luke Lyle).
SK — Lyle 61 run (Payton Crawford run).
C — Nathan Yeager 1 run (Jonathan Pedersen kick).
SK — Lyle 40 run (Crawford run).
SK — Safety.
SK — Kolton Greiner 17 run (Nate Sieren run).
SK — Greiner 12 run (Sieren run).
SK — Lyle 30 run (Greiner run).
SK — Derek Berg 11 run (Crawford run).
RUSHING — Cardinal: Dakota Showman 14-29, Yeager 6-27, Tyler Albert 1-2, Pedersen 6-(-8), Tyler Batterson 1-(-9). Sigourney-Keota: Lyle 8-147, Crawford 9-90, Greiner 8-89, Berg 5-38, Sieren 3-9, Zach Mousel 1-5, Cole Streigle 1-4, Eddie Conrad 1-4, Danny Bechert 1-4, Colton Schwenke 1-2.
PASSING — Cardinal: Showman 5-10-1-57, Batterson 0-3-0-0, Yeager 0-1-0-0. Sigourney-Keota: Lyle 5-6-0-71.
RECEIVING — Cardinal: Quinn Honomichl 1-28, Cole Campbell 2-15, Pedersen 1-12, Yeager 1-2. Sigourney-Keota: Davis 3-38, Greiner 2-33.