It may have been brisk enough to force fans under the blankets at Tornado stadium, but Storm Lake was running hot from the beginning, as Aaron Krier took a handoff and rambled 72 yards for a touchdown on the second play from scrimmage. A Jorge Sanchez PAT kick put them up 7-0. After forcing a three-and-out, Storm Lake stalled and had its punt blocked by Colin Snyder, leading to a Warriors score as quarterback Spencer Wyant crossed the goal line in the midst of a gaggle of players on a fourth and inches keeper.
Storm Lake answered with a strong Sam Aguilar return followed by a long run from Krier. A holding penalty ruined a touchdown pass to skyscraper tight end Ethan Kenkel, but moments later Kenkel posterized a leaping grab over a defender in the back corner of the end zone on a perfectly-located touch pass from Nic Seaman. Storm Lake led 14-7.
On their next three possessions, SB-L threatened but failed each time going on fourth downs in Storm Lake territory, leading to a pair of Storm Lake TD's in just over five minutes late in the half. On the second of those defensive stands, Storm Lake safety Luke Lenhart picked off the ball in the end zone, then a bomb to Kenkel moved the Tornadoes deep into SB-L territory. Krier swept to the outside and raced 23 yards into the end zone to cap the 80-yard drive and put SL up 21-7.
After taking over on downs once again with 54 seconds left, the Tornadoes unveiled a hook-and-lateral, Seaman delivering a short pass to Kenkel, who pitched back to Krier as Aaron sped past in the opposite direction and jetted on 64 yards to the end zone. The PAT was blocked, with SL up 27-7 at half.
To start the second half, Kenkel intercepted Wyant for a 35-yard pick-six to put the game out of reach. SB-L's workhorse back Dillon Hiserote produced a long kick return and then pulled in a 22-yard pass for a score. The kick was missed. The Tornadoes responded quickly with another scoring drive, Krier finishing it with a seven-yard stroll into the end zone untouched behind some relentless blocking. The senior tailback wasn't done, breaking through on the next possession and racing 65 yards for his fourth TD on the night as the third quarter neared its end, pushing the score to 47-13.
The Storm Lake kicking game continued to struggle, as SB-L blocked its second punt to go with a pair of extra-point knock-downs. A few moments later they scored on a Steven Garcia five-yard plunge.
Krier took the kickoff for Storm Lake in full stride and scampered all the way to the SB-L 11. Moments later Brian Thepavong blasted it in one yard to complete the scoring. Sanchez and Ryan Gutz each recovered a rumble to to snuff the final SB-L possessions.
The Tornadoes topped 400 yards in total offense to SBL's 333. Krier piled up his 230 yards on 17 carries in basically three quarters of backfield action, and with return yards would have been near 300. Hiserote also topped the century mark rushing for SB-L at 126 yards.
SL signal-caller Seaman, returning from a concussion that sidelined him last week, was 7-of-13 passing for 118 yards and one TD. He showed no ill effects, hurdling the sidelines bench on one keeper roll-out run, leaving the defender bearing down on him to crack head-first into the steel. Seaman let out a whoop as he sprinted back to the huddle.
"Everything got going for us on offense," Tornado Coach Craig Lyon said. "Aaron had a great game and had some good blocking up front. Nic made several good throws and Ethan had some really nice catches. Our special teams put us in position to score, and as the game went on, the defense got better and better."
Storm Lake, now 3-4 and 2-3 in the district, still has a chance to make the playoffs, but needs to beat a strong LeMars team on the road next week, and get a little help.
"LeMars runs the ball well. They're a good football team, and I know our kids are looking forward to it - they're talking about it already. We know we're going to have to play good defense against them," Lyon said. LeMars, entering Friday's action second in the district at 3-1, stumbled in a non-district 21-12 loss to Humboldt last night.