A strong second half lifted the Storm Lake High football team here Friday night to a 29-8 win over district opponent Sergeant Bluff Luton.
According to SLHS coach Bill McCabe, his team was sluggish in the first half and it showed on the scoreboard.
Midway through the first quarter, S-BL drove deep into Storm Lake territory. On a fourth down play, Tornado defensive back Tyson Brandt intercepted a pass in the end zone.
Brandt took a knee and a holding penalty was called on the Tornadoes in teh end zone. The officials the called a safety SBL and went up 2-0. That lead held up until the end of the first quarter.
On the Tornadoes' next possesion, they drove 97 yards on 16 plays before Brandt scored from two-yards out. The point after was missed as SLHS led 6-2.
Sergeant Bluff-Luton responded quickly and effectively, using a four-play, 65 yard drive capped by a five-yard scoring pass from Jake Thomas. The PAT kick was made and the Warriors led 9-6 at the half.
"Our intensity level just wasn't there in the first half," McCabe said. "We told the kids they better push things up a notch or it would be a long night."
The Tornadoes, especially the defensive interior, took that to heart, sacking Warrior quarterbacks eight times in the second half.
The SL defense held SBL to 37 total yards in the second half on 25 playzs from scrimmage.
The Tornadoes owned the third quarter, scoring two touchdowns, including on a 57-yard punt return by Brandt and a 12-yard run by Brandt after the Tornadoes inherited a short field from a short punt.
Leading 22-9 after three frames, Storm Lake finished the night's scoring on a 2-yard plunge off tackle by SL's 325-pound lineman Adam Davis.
Kyrie Butler made two extra-point kicks in the second half, becoming the first female to play on the SLHS football varsity.
Meanwhile, it was a night to remember for Brandt. He went into the game needing 150 yards to reach the 1,000-yard rushing mark..
According to official SLHS statistics, Brandt rushed 30 times for 180 yards. He now has 1,030 yards this season with one game left.
The performance by Brandt was bittersweet. In the first quarter, he sustained what could be a separation of his right shoulder.
Senior quarterback Mitch McCabe aggravated a sore shoulder, and was replaced by Ryan Drey during the game.
Mitch McCabe completed 10 of 16 passes for 157 yards and two interceptions. As a team, the Tornadoes rushed 46 times for 220 yards.
Sergeant Bluff Luton rushed for 59 yards on 28 attempts.
"I thought we had a great defensive game in the second half," coach McCabe said.
"Once we decided to get aggressive, we start putting some big-time pressure on their quarterback," he said.
Up next for the Tornadoes is a trip to Sioux City next Friday for a game with Bishop Heelan .
"If we can get healed a little bit and play the way we did in the second half (Friday), we could stay with them," McCabe said.