LAKE CITY - A week after watching Estherville Lincoln Central come up with big plays to score against Clarion-Goldfield, the Midgets played South Central Calhoun in a defensive barnburner.
The host Titans came up with the one big play, a 41-yard screen pass with 2:33 left to play that gave the hosts a 13-7 homecoming victory. But it was the little things and missed opportunities that ELC?will remember
South Central Calhoun got on the board first with the opening drive that ended on a 4-yard run by Kyler Case at the 4:51 mark in the first quarter. The extra-point kick gave them a 7-0 lead.
ELC responded with a drive of its own. Andres Blanco tied the game with a 15-yard run and that added the extra point with 1:03 left in the first quarter.
The game turned into a defensive battle after that.
ELC had a drive late in the second quarter that stalled on the Titans' 20-yard line.
Early in the fourth quarter, the Midgets' drive stalled at the Titans' 5-yard line.
That's when South Central Calhoun went to the air with two quick passes taking them to the Cadet 30.
ELC's defense had the hosts stopped just across midfield.
But as the Titans were punting the ball, the Midgets were called for an offside penalty.
South Central then had fourth down and less than a yard to go. They converted that, but fortune still seemed to be in the Midgets' favor.
After the Titans drove inside the 20, holding penalty gave the hosts a second-and-22 from the 27-yard line. A pass from Jake Petzenhauser to Corey Jacobs took South Central Calhoun to the 1-yard line, but he ball came back on another Titan penalty.
Facing a long second down from the 41-yard line, Petzenhauser threw a screen pass in the flat to Tanner Toms. Toms got a key block from teammate Nathan Christensen and juked his way into the end zone.
With time running out, ELC couldn't get as much as a first down and the Titans ran out the clock.
ELC coach Chuck Fandel said his team had chances.
"We had three or four times where we had fourth and a yard and we couldn't get it," he said. "That's when we need our seniors to step up and get the yards when we need it."
Unofficially, the two teams were even on rushing yards. ELC had 39 carries for 151 yards while the Titans had 39 carries for 155 yards.
ELC's Evan Hansen was 10-of-11 passing for 64 yards. The Titans were 10-of-19 passing for 137 yards.
Blanco had 93 yards on 19 carries. Billy Snyder had 51 yards on 11 carries and Hansen had 7 yards on nine carries.
Blanco led the defense with 12 tackles while Derek Nieland and Tucker Milburn each had 10. Randy Leon had a sack.
ELC (1-4 overall, 1-2 in the district) is on the road for a non-district game against Central Lyon/George-Little Rock next Friday.