Storm Lake had opportunities in the red zone and was gifted with four Spencer fumbles, but often could not capitalize. Spencer set the tone early, marching methodically with a 66-yard, nine-play drive without throwing a pass, chewing up clock en route to a four yard TD run by junior quarterback Matt Finnern.
Storm Lake got the offense started on their first drive with a 15-yard third-down burst by Aaron Krier and a couple of runs by Chase Lange, but Spencer's defensive end Chance Steward dropped Tornado quarterback Nic Seaman for a big loss, forcing a punt. Spencer continued to rip off yardage exclusively on the ground, with a 22-yard sweep, a pitch play, and an end-around 11-yard TD run from Cody Mowery to go up 14-0.
As the second quarter got underway, it looked like the Tornadoes would claw back into the game. Spencer tried their first pass of the night with a long bomb that failed, forcing the Tigers to punt. Storm Lake's Charlie Robbins blocked the kick and Ethan Kenkel scooped it up and returned it to the Tiger 20. Seaman hit Jay Grant at the eight, but Seaman's pass attempt to Luke Lenhart in the end zone was picked off and run back for what appeared as if it would go for a Spencer score. Krier raced back and stripped the ball from the Tiger player, SL recovering on its own 44. The Tornadoes gave up the ball at midfield. but Spencer fumbled and Lenhart recovered to give Storm Lake one more chance with four minutes left in the half. They could not capitalize and opted to punt on fourth down, pinning Spencer at their own 5. The clock ran out with no scoring in the second quarter.
In their first possession of the third, Spencer's senior running back Austin Lauck broke up the middle on the second play and raced for a 43-yard TD, the kick making it 21-0. Storm Lake went nowhere on their next possession, but Spencer fumbled the punt return and Kenkel recovered at the Storm Lake 33. Seaman hit his 6'5" tight end Kenkel on the next play to move to the Spencer 44, and again moments later for a first down to keep the drive alive. Krier culminated the march bulling 12 yards into the end zone, and the Jorge Sanchez PAT kick drew SL to within 21-7. Spencer answered as Brady Illig skipped in untouched on a one-yard run, the PAT making it 28-7.
A roughing the passer call against Spencer tacked 15 yards onto a Krier screen pass catch to give the Tornadoes good field position headed into the fourth quarter. A Seaman keeper and a Kenkel catch quickly moved the ball to the 14. Several plays later, Seaman scored on a two-yard sneak for his first rushing TD of the season. The kick sailed left, leaving it 28-13. Spencer had another drive into the red zone, but Finnern fumbled away the ball at the SL 10. A delay of game call moved the ball back to the 3. Seaman was nailed in the end zone by Seward while waiting for a receiver to break open, the safety made it 30-13 with under eight minutes remaining. A tiring Storm Lake defense couldn't stop the Tiger run game, and Hunter Cushman took a pitch into the end zone. The kick was missed, 36-13 Spencer. Both teams pulled their starters with three minutes remaining.
Spencer attempted just two passes Friday, while running the ball 47 times for an impressive average of over 7.5 yards per run, including 103 yards for the quarterback and 143 for workhorse Lauck. They survived four fumbles and six penalties.
Seaman threw for 135 yards on 10 of 21, with one interception and no touchdowns. Kenkel led the receiving corp with four catches for 60 yards, with Krier adding 2 for 39. Krier carried the ball 18 times for 58. SL had six penalties for minimal impact.
Storm Lake Coach Craig Lyon said after Friday's game that Spencer simply executed better than his team did. "We couldn't stop the run, that was the difference. They controlled the ball. We got inside the 20 twice without getting points. We had too much ground to make up, and they are too good a team to be able to do that."
SL also suffered some minor dings in the bruising contest. Lineman Eduardo Ruis went down with an elbow injury and his status for next week is uncertain.
Still, the Tornado mentor is optimistic heading into two home games " We're getting close. We're gonna turn the corner, I know we are."
Now 1-2, on Friday Storm Lake hosts 1-2 Denison-Schleswig coming off a win over Carroll. Spencer hosts Sgt. Bluff-Luton.