COLO – Homecoming week was a success for the Colo-Nesco football team Friday as the Royals scored their second victory of the season with a 30-20 triumph over East Union.
Colo-Nesco dominated the first half and then withstood a furious fourth-quarter rally by East Union to improve to 2-3 overall and 2-1 in 8-man District 6.
"Our team had a great first half and we were able to hold on to a victory, due to some really good defensive pass coverage and pressure on their quarterback in the last few minutes of the fourth quarter," Colo-Nesco head coach Josh Nessa said. "Our JV also had a win against Ankeny Christian Academy on Monday, so overall we had a great homecoming week."
The Royals were in complete control heading into the fourth quarter.
Thanks to long touchdown runs of 55, 56 and 28 yards from quarterback Taylor Hill Colo-Nesco built a 22-6 lead at the half. The Royals remained comfortably ahead entering the fourth quarter, since neither team scored in the third.
In the final period East Union mounted a rally. The Eagles picked up a safety with 10 minutes, 42 seconds left in the fourth and just over one minute later, Trevor Barnett found the end zone on a 12-yard run to pull East Union within 22-14.
The Eagles weren’t finished with their comeback as Barnett scored on a 1-yard run with 2:01 remaining. East Union had a chance to tie the score on a two-point conversion, but it was unsuccessful as Colo-Nesco clung to a 22-20.
East Union made a defensive stand to get the ball back in the final two minutes. But Colo-Nesco was able to come up with a huge response as Hill stepped in front of a Cole Cambell pass for an interception and returned it 27 yards for a touchdown with 38 seconds left to ice the game.
In addition to rising to the occasion when it mattered most, the Royal defense had a great all-around performance Friday.
"I am especially proud of our defense," Nessa said. "We recorded five sacks, 10 tackles for loss, batted down at least two passes and had two interceptions and two fumble recoveries."
Casy Angell had 11 tackles, five tackles for loss, two sacks and a fumble recovery to lead the Royal defensive charge. Evan Webb had 13 tackles, one stop behind the line and a fumble recovery, Clayton Bryan finished with 11 tackles and one tackle for loss and Grant Tiarks made 10 stops.
Dustin Curran picked up two sacks for the Royals. Michael Starling added one sack and Gibbons joined Hill in coming up with an interception.
On offense Colo-Nesco compiled 289 yards. Almost all of that came on the ground as the Royals ran for 281 yards on 44 carries.
"Our offensive line and fullback are blocking and trapping better," Nessa said. "That allowed our backs to have more success in the run game."
Hill had a monster game. In addition to accounting for all four Royal touchdowns he ran for 211 yards on 30 carries and completed 1 of 2 passes for eight yards.
Alex Griffin picked up 52 yards rushing on 11 carries and he also converted three two-point conversions. Grant Tiarks ran for 11 yards on two carries, Clayton Bryan ran for seven yards on one attempt and Brady Stoeffler made an 8-yard reception for Colo-Nesco.
East Union fell to 1-4 overall and 0-2 in 8-man District 6 with the loss. Barnett ran for 51 yards on 12 carries, caught two passes for 62 yards and completed 2 of 2 passes for 33 yards for the Eagles and Cambell threw for 121 yards with two interceptions.
Colo-Nesco will face a big challenge this Friday in its attempt to remain in the playoff hunt as the Royals travel to Lamoni (3-1, 1-1).
"I believe this will be a big game for us as it will determine who is number three and four in our district," Nessa said.
The game will take place at 7 p.m. in Lamoni.
Colo-Nesco 30, East Union 20
EU 0 6 0 14 – 20
C-N 8 14 0 8 – 30
CN – Taylor Hill 55 run (Alex Griffin run), 7:57
EU – Cole Campbell 3 run (PAT failed), 7:07
CN – Hill 56 run (Griffin run), 6:55
CN – Hill 28 run (run failed), 3:58
EU – Safety, 10:42
EU – Trevor Barnett 12 run (PAT failed), 9:33
EU – Barnett 1 run (PAT failed), 2:01
CN – Hill 27 interception return (Griffin run), 0:38
Team statistics EU C-N
Rushes-yards 43-36 44-281
Passing 10-23-2 1-3-0
Passing yards 154 8
Total yards 190 289
Fumbles lost 2 4
Punts-average 6-30.0 6-31.8
Rushing: EU – Trevor Barnett 12-51, Jonathan Weiss 18-20, Mike Ward 3-15, Mason Gossman 1-3, Cole Cambell 9-(-43). CN – Taylor Hill 30-211, Alex Griffin 11-52, Grant Tiarks 2-11, Clayton Bryan 1-7.
Passing: EU – Cambell 8-21-2-121, Barnett 2-2-0-33. CN – Hill 1-2-0-8, Brady Stoeffler 0-1-0-0.
Receiving: EU – Barnett 2-62, Gossman 4-47, Ward 1-22, Jesse Akers 2-12, Cambell 1-11. CN – Stoeffler 1-8.
Tackles: CN – Evan Webb 13, Casy Angell 11, Bryan 11, Dacian Wilson 9, Dustin Curran 5.
Sacks: CN – Angell 2, Curran 2, Michael Starling.
Fumble recoveries: CN – Angell, Webb.
Interceptions: CN – Hill, Noah Gibbons.