BAXTER - Colo-NESCO finished strong against Baxter Friday, but the Royals couldn’t make up enough ground after a poor start in a 56-40 loss at Baxter.


Colo-NESCO was outscored 22-0 in the first quarter. The Royals were hurt by two lost fumbles, falling behind big early.


In the second quarter, Colo-NESCO regrouped to keep Baxter within striking distance at the half. The Royals still trailed by 20, but a strong third quarter pulled them within 42-36 going into the fourth.


Colo-NESCO still played solid ball defensively in the fourth, but the offense slowed down too much for the Royals to make up any more ground.


“We couldn’t recover from the weak performance in the first quarter,” Colo-NESCO head football coach Josh Nessa said. “Our players did much better the rest of the game. We outscored them the remainder of the game, but just couldn’t quite overtake that early lead we gave them.”


In the first half, Kelly Gray ran one in from 10 yards out and Brandon Roberts had a 1-yard touchdown run for the Royals. Francis Bower took over in Colo-NESCO’s big third quarter, finding the end zone on runs of 27 and 47 yards and also catching an 8-yard touchdown pass from Brandon Roberts.


Gray scored Colo-NESCO’s touchdown in the fourth quarter on a 9-yard run.


Brendyn Padget threw touchdown passes of 53 yards to Rory Heer, six yards to Dalton Heer and two yards to Will Clapper during the game for Baxter. Rory Heer and Peyton Johnston each added two touchdown runs and Padget crossed the goal line on one run.


Colo-NESCO ran for 316 yards and totaled 369. Baxter finished with 419 yards, including 308 on the ground.


Bower ran for 156 yards and had two catches for 16 yards on the night. Gray picked up 123 yards rushing, Roberts threw for 53 yards and ran for 37 and Ethan Wilson made two catches for 18 yards for the Royals.


Bower and Gray each ended up with 9.5 tackles on defense. Andrew Grover tallied eight plus a fumble recovery, Wilson made 7.5 stops and Colin Hall delivered seven tackles.


Colo-NESCO fell to 1-8 overall and 1-5 in the district, and Baxter improved to 2-6 and 2-4 respectively.


“Despite our record, we have made huge improvements since the beginning of the season,” Nessa said. “Our seniors did a great job leading on their senior night and the whole season.”


Up next for Colo-NESCO will be its final game of the year at district leader Gladbrook-Reinbeck (6-2, 6-0). The game starts at 7 p.m. in Reinbeck.


Baxter 56, Colo-NESCO 40


CN 0 14 22 6 - 40


B 22 12 8 12 - 56


Scoring


First Quarter


B - Peyton Johnston 5 run (Johnston run).


B - Rory Heer 53 pass from Brendyn Padget (run failed).


B - Padget 15 run (Padget pass from Heer)


Second Quarter


B - Rory Heer 16 run (pass failed).


CN - Kelly Gray 10 run (run failed).


B - Dalton Heer 6 pass from Brendyn Padget (Peyton Johnston pass from Brendyn Padget).


CN - Brandon Roberts 1 run (run failed).


Third Quarter


CN - Francis Bower 27 run (pass failed).


B - Johnston 12 run (Carter Nelsen pass from Padget).


CN - Bower 8 pass from Roberts (Roberts run).


CN - Bower 47 run (Roberts run).


Fourth Quarter


B - R. Heer 1 run (pass failed).


CN - Gray 9 run (run failed).


B - Will Clapper 2 pass from Padget (pass failed).


Team statistics C-N B


Rushes-yards 39-316 46-308


Passing 6-10-0 9-19-0


Passing yards 53 111


Total yards 369 419


Fumbles lost 2 1


Punts-average 1-27.0 NA


Individual statistics - Colo-NESCO


Rushing: Francis Bower 12-156, Kelly Gray 21-123, Brandon Roberts 8-37.


Passing: Roberts 6-10-0-53.


Receiving: Ethan Wilson 2-18, Bower 2-16, Trevor Burg 1-11, Andrew Tschantz 1-8.


Tackles: Bower 9.5, Gray 9.5, Andrew Grover 8, Wilson 7.5, Colin Hall 7.


Sacks: Jake Perry.


Fumble recoveries: Grover.