Unbeaten Titans visit Merrill Field Friday night

Bolstered by outstanding defense, Harlan Community’s Week 7 opponent has allowed just 39 points all season

 HARLAN (Oct. 11) -- One week after losing the 2019 season opener vs. Lewis Central 35-7, Sergeant Bluff-Luton football coach Justin Smith was asked to compare this year’s LC team to the 2018 state semifinalist version.
 Are they as good as last year?
 “Uh, they’re better,” Smith replied. “They’re better at every position but quarterback and that quarterback is still a really good player. They’re loaded.”
 Six weeks into the season, the Titans have continued to back up Smith’s glowing report with a 6-0 start overall and a 2-0 record in Class 3A, District 9. They are ranked fourth by the Associated Press and listed No. 1 in this week’s initial RPI rankings released by the Iowa High School Athletic Association.
 One of five unbeaten teams remaiming in 3A, Lewis Central has outscored its first six opponents by a combined margin of 254-39, buoyed by a terrific defense that returned eight starters from last fall.
 On Friday night at 7:00, Harlan Community (4-2, 1-1 District 9) will host the mighty Titans at Merrill Field looking to bounce back from last week’s frustrating 28-21 loss at Glenwood.
 “They are a good football team and it’s an uphill climb, but we’ve got guys that are going to step up and we’re going to give them everything we’ve got,” said HCHS interim head coach Todd Bladt.
 The household name on last year’s 11-1 Titan squad was quarterback Max Duggan, who passed for 2,130 yards and 24 touchdowns, ran for 1,223 and 25 and is now the starting QB for TCU of the Big 12 Conference.
 LC graduated a few other standouts as well, including 1,100-yard receiver Josh Simmons (now at Iowa Western), but the majority of last year’s starters returned for first-year head coach Justin Kammrad.
   The Cyclones certainly face a tall task against LC but Bladt is well aware that anything can happen. “You’ve got to play them on Friday night,” he said. “High school football is a fickle thing. I’ve seen some really great teams [get upset]. Even when I played, we got beat by a Creston team [in 1997] that I think had a losing record, and we went on to win the state championship 14-7 against Decorah back when they had four Division I players on their defense... High school football you’ve got a lot of moving parts and a lot of different mindsets, and if we can get our kids with the right mindset we can make something great happen.”

Lewis Central (6-0, 2-0) at HCHS (4-2, 1-1) • Friday, Oct. 11 • 7:00 p.m. • at Merrill Field

Series History
HCHS leads all-time, 46-7.
at Harlan: HCHS leads, 22-4; at Lewis Central: HCHS leads, 24-3; Playoffs: HCHS leads, 3-1.
Lewis Central has won 5 of the last 6.

Last Five Meetings
2015: HCHS 38, LC 21 (at LC)
2016: LC 45, HCHS 13 (at LC)
2017: LC 31, HCHS 21 (at Harlan)
2018: LC 49, HCHS 14 (at LC)
2018 Playoffs: LC 35, HCHS 14 (at LC)

LC (6-0, 2-0 District 9)
at Sergeant Bluff-Luton - Won 35-7
vs. Carlisle - Won 13-3
vs. CB Abraham Lincoln - Won 70-7
at CB Thomas Jefferson - Won 60-14
vs. Creston/O-M - Won 48-8
vs. Winterset - Won 28-0
Individual Stat Leaders -- Passing: Bret Kobes 55/84 (65.5%), 816, 11 TDs, 2 INTs; Rushing: Brady Miller 85-676 (8.0), 8 TDs; Bryson Bowman 56-429 (7.7), 6 TDs; Receiving: Thomas Fidone 21-349 (16.6), 5 TDs.
 Tackles: Tevin Statzer 19s/14a, Jake Lear 17s/8a, Hunter Deyo 17s/5a; Tackles for loss: Deyo 9s/2a, Statzer 3s/4a, Brennan Kobes 4s/2a.

HCHS (4-2, 1-1 District 9)
at Denison-Schleswig - Won 27-22
at Sergeant Bluff-Luton - Lost 47-27
vs. Carroll - Won 34-21
at Atlantic - Won 49-13
vs. ADM - Won 41-28
at Glenwood - Lost 28-21
Individual Stat Leaders -- Passing: Johnathan Monson 49/119 (41.2%), 806, 6 TDs, 6 INTs; Rushing: J. Monson 75-559 (7.5), 11 TDs; Brenden Bartley 75-437 (5.8), 8 TDs; Receiving: Joey Moser 13-272 (20.9), 1 TD; Connor Bruck 9-219 (24.3), 2 TDs.
 Tackles: Will McLaughlin 29s/42a, Allen Fries 19s/23a, Joseph Fah 18s/23a, Michael Erlemeier 20s/13a, Chandler Leinen 15s/21a; Tackles for loss: Fries 14s/5a, Leinen 6s/4a, McLaughlin 3s/6a; QB Sacks: Fries 5s/1a, Leinen 3s/1a; INTs: Bartley 2, J. Monson 2.

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