SPIRIT LAKE - Estherville Lincoln Central knew it needed a near perfect game to stay with Class 2A No. 5 Spirit Lake on Friday.
But the wheels fell off early for the Midgets.
Two fumbles on ELC's first two possessions led to two quick Indians scores. A three-and-out for the Midgets was followed by Spirit Lake's longest scoring drive of the first quarter-five plays.
This 13-yard reception by Estherville Lincoln Central’s Matt Burrell (14) set up a 2-yard touchdown by Andres Blanco late in the first half against Spirit Lake on Friday.
EDN photo by David Swartz
"Every thing that could go wrong, did," said ELC coach Chuck Fandel.
Before ELC recovered, the Indians led 35-0 after one quarter of play. The only break was when a second punt return for a touchdown was called back because of a holding penalty.
When the dust settled, Spirit Lake had posted a 52-21 victory.
On the Midgets first drive, the Indians took advantage of a fumble on the ELC 13-yard line. Cody Poock needed just one play to run the ball in as Spirit Lake led 7-0 at the 10:17 mark in the first quarter.
Andres Blanco fumbled the ensuing kickoff. This time Spirit Lake needed four plays and an offside call against the Midgets, which ended on an 8-yard run with 9:22 on the clock.
ELC faced a fourth-and 22 on its next possession deep in its own territory. After a short kick, the Indians needed just one play, a 34-yard pass from Paul Brown to Casey Spaeth to go up 21-0.
ELC's next possession resulted in another punt. This time, the Indians were in their own territory at the 23-yard line. Poock broke through the ELC's initial line of defense and went 77 yards for the score with 4:57 remaining as the Indians led 28-0.
After ELC's next punt, Spaeth returned it 43-yards and Spirit Lake led 35-0 with 2:56 left in the first quarter.
Although Spaeth's next punt return was called back on a holding penalty, the Indians didn't take long to score early in the second quarter, this time on a 32-yard pass from Brown to Poock.
Spirit Lake's starters scored their final touchdown on a 50-yard punt return by Bryson McCabe with 9:15 remaining. Brett Cochran-Bray kicked all seven extra points.
With the score 49-0, the Indians put in their reserves and gave ELC some life.
On its next drive, ELC took advantage a pair of Indian penalties, including a facemask call that gave ELC first and 10 at the Indian 15. Quarterback Evan Hansen then connected with Matt Burrell on a 13-yard pass and Andres Blanco completed the drive with a 2-yard run.
ELC scored late in the half when the Midgets did a double reverse with Derek Nieland connecting on a 58-yard pass with fellow senior Matt Burrell to make the score 49-14.
With a running clock in the second half, Spirit Lake added a 23-yard field goal in the fourth quarter by Josh McQueen.
ELC scored with 40 seconds remaining as Hansen connected with Nieland on a 12-yard reception.
Unofficially, ELC had 42 yards on 31 carries. Andres Blanco had 69 yards on 16 carries.
Passing, Evan Hansen was 7-of-14 for 51 yards. Nieland was 1-1 for 58 yards and Blanco was 1-1 for 9 yards.
For Spirit Lake, the Indians had 189 yards on the ground led by Poock with 95 on four carries.
The Indians were 7-of-10 passing for 120 yards. Brown was 5-of-5 with 81 yards.
ELC ends the season with a 1-8 record overall. Seniors playing in their final game were Andres Blanco, Derek Nieland, Evan Hansen, Matt Burrell, Tucker Milburn, Jeff Perkins, Randy Leon, Bryce Hansen and Levi Peterson.
Spirit Lake (8-1) begins the playoffs on Wednesday against the No. 4 seed in Class 2A District 1.