Siuox Central tops Alta-Aurelia for 1st win
Alta-Aurelia fought out of a slow start for a 12-6 lead at halftime, but the Rebels, led by another monster effort from sophomore running back Devin Tripp, pulled away in the second half in a 26-18 victory.
A week after putting up 258 yards on 43 carries against Sheldon, Tripp toted the ball 38 times for 276 yards and two scores against the Warriors.
Tripp got the Rebels on the board first with 5:30 left in the first, breaking out of a pile for a 45-yard score. The two-point try failed for a 6-0 Rebel advantage.
Alex Stephan looked to bring the Warriors even, breaking loose on a 42-yard run of his own along the sideline, but Alta-Aurelia would fumble away possession soon thereafter to end the threat.
After the Rebels punted away possession, Stephan brought the Warriors level, punching in a score from 27 -yards out. Their two-point try also failed for a 12-12 tie.
After a pair of Warrior sacks led to a Sioux Central punt, both teams traded away fumbles, giving the ball back to the Warriors with time dwindling in the half. Joe Napierala moved the chains through the air with completions to Mitchell Fritz and Stephan. Unfortunately, Stephan would go down awkwardly on his reception along the sideline and would not return with an ankle injury.
Alta-Aurelia pushed on, with Napierala completing two passes to Jeremiah Ruby to put the Warriors on the two-yard line. Manny Murillo punched it in from there, and the Warriors led 12-6 after the conversional failed.
Tripp would break off a 50-yard run to give the Rebels a chance to answer before the half, but the Alta-Aurelia defense held tight and Sioux Central turned the ball over on downs.
The Warriors' opening drive of the second half would stall out, and Sioux Central's Tanner Archer would block the first of two punts to put the Rebels in prime field position. Tripp and Nathan Leer would methodically move them from the 35-yard line down to the five, where Habben capped off the drive with a TD run to tie the game.
"We started off pretty sluggish, but when you get two big blocked punts like that from your special teams, that's a game-changer," Sioux Central coach Brandon Goodchild said. "The guys up front did a nice job again. You can't put up 300 yards rushing without them moving guys off the ball."
The Rebels would tack on another score seconds into the fourth, with Tripp getting the TD and conversion for a 20-12 lead.
Alta-Aurelia would have an answer as Napierala connected with his favorite target on the night, Ruby, for a 23-yard TD. The conversion failed, however, for a 20-18 deficit.
The Rebels answered with a nine-play, 61-yard drive that saw Habben cap it off by scoring from 23 yards out to push it to the final score of 26-18.
After Tripp's near 300-yard night, Leer followed with five carries for 17 yards. Habben had two rushing scores and finished with three yards rushing on the night. Habben was 1-of-6 passing for 28 yards to Leer.
Alta-Aurelia had a balanced night with 157 yards rushing and 167 passing. Stephan led the way before injury sidelined him, rushing seven times for 121 yards and a score. Garrett Van Houten rushed 12 times for 42 yards. Napierala was 18-of-26 passing for 167 with zero interceptions. Ruby hauled in six passes for 61 yards, Fritz four for 50, Van Houten three for 34 and Mitch McDonald three for 12.
Turnovers hurt the Warriors with three fumbles lost. They also had two punts blocked.
The Rebels move to 1-1 and visit Pocahontas Area next week. Alta-Aurelia drops to 0-2 on the season and will head to Sibley-Ocheyedan next week.