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Local Sports News
Thunder Rally and Roll in Second Half to Top Redhawks
By Justin Fluke
Copyright: MSC Sports

Nemaha Central 52, Hiawatha 27

It was a tale of two halves and a shootout for the first two quarters on Friday night at Memorial Stadium as Nemaha Central eventually wore down Hiawatha and took their first lead after halftime before scoring the final 32 points of the game.  Hiawatha had leads of 13-0 and 20-7 as the teams combined to pass seven touchdowns in the first half alone and four of the scores were plays of 35 yards or longer.  Yet the Thunder got a big third quarter interception by Austin Ahlquist and came up with stops defensively while establishing a better run game on offense to beat the Hawks for the seventh straight time. 

After forcing a three-and-out to start the homecoming night, Hiawatha scored on consecutive offensive plays as Tyler Brockoff found Michael Moreno on deep go routes for a 39 and 35 yard TD pass that sandwiched a Nemaha fumble that was recovered by Trent Kolb. The Thunder got on the board with the second play of their third possession as Dylan Schultejans found Andrew Leonard on a 43-yard bomb to pull within 13-7.  But Hiawatha scored on all three of their drives in the first frame after converting a fourth down and six when Brockoff found Kade Tollefson for a six-yard touchdown to make it 20-7.  

Gage Palic scored on a five yard scamper for NC and then a Hiawatha fumble was followed on the next play by another 43-yard pass from Schultejans to Leonard to tie the score at 20. Brockoff finished 14-20 for 203 yards in the first half finding Moreno for a third time for a 10-yard score on fourth down to give the Hawks a 27-20 margin. Before intermission, the Schultejans to Leonard combination struck pay-dirt again on a 34-yard pass, but the PAT hit the upright as Nemaha failed to add point after touchdown on five of their eight scores. 

After forcing a three-and-out to start the second half, Nemaha Central got a spark on a great punt return by Tyler Gerety to the Hiawatha 10-yard line and scored three plays later on the fourth TD connection from Schultejans to Leonard, making it 34-27 after a two-point conversion run by Dylan.  Then came the INT by Alhquist and Palic scored on short touchdown runs of four and three yards to make it 46-27 just a couple plays into the fourth quarter. Schultejans found Leonard for a fifth touchdown pass with 3:49 remaining and cap the scoring and their incredible night and improve the Thunder to 1-1 on the season. 

Schultejans was 12-17 for 228 yards and added 68 rushing yards while most of their 230 team rushing yards came in the second half. Palic ran for 58 yards and Sam McWilliams added 53 helping fill in for injured starter, Gavin Duryea. Leonard was the Citizens State Bank and Trust Company of Hiawatha player to bank on with 173 yards on eight catches, including five scores while also having a great night on defense. Ahlquist added three receptions for 38 yards and Nathan Deters was selected the Giant Communications lineman of the game.  

Hiawatha wore down in the second half after the game was in question and multiple athletes missed several practices due to school/community illness all week that also kept a couple starters from participating Friday night. The Redhawks had only 59 total yards in the second half and Brockoff finished his night 21-33 for 246 yards.  Hiawatha only ran for 40 yards having to start a freshman runningback. Moreno had a monster night with 163 yards on nine grabs and ran for another 32 yards on four carries while also returning punts and kicks and making three of four PAT's and also handling kickoff duties. Tollefson had five receptions while Kolb added three before Hiawatha fell to 0-2 on the season.  

Hiawatha plays at Jeff West in week three while Nemaha Central will host Holton.     

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Hiawatha, KS 66434
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