ROCK RAPIDS - For the second quarter and the start of the third, the momentum was all on Estherville Lincoln Central's side.
The Midgets had rallied from a 14-0 deficit to take a 20-14 lead. But ELC's defense struggled to stop Central Lyon/George-Little Rock's Josh Hunt as the Lions prevailed 42-23.
The 6-2, 185-pound senior rushed for 137 yards in the first half and finished the game with 237 yards on 27 carries.
Unofficially, the Lions finished with 426 yards on the ground and 79 through the air for 505 yards.
Hunt scored on runs of 6 and 54 yards in the first quarter as the hosts took a 14-0 lead.
The Lions then tried to keep the pressure on with an onside kick. Although they jumped on the ball, it was touched before the ball had gone 10 yards, which gave ELC the ball with good field position.
The Midgets drove down the short field and scored on a 7-yard run by Evan Hansen.
Later in the second quarter, Chase Bonner recovered a Lion fumble to give the Midgets another opportunity.
ELC took advantage and scored on a 6-yard run by Andres Blanco. Blanco had the second extra point blocked and ELC trailed 14-13 at the break.
"To the kids credit, after making some adjustments to the speed of the game, they got back in it," said ELC coach Chuck Fandel.
The Midgets got the ball to start the second half with good field position.
After a screen pass to Joe Heinrichs took the ball across midfield, Billy Snyder found a hole off-tackle on the next play and went 45 yards for the score. Blanco added the kick at led 20-14.
But back came the Lions and Hunt.
The senior came back with a 15-yard touchdown run. Then teammate Luke Grooters got in the act with a 9-yard run as the Lions led 28-20.
ELC came back with a drive and the Midgets got a 34-yard field goal from Blanco to cut the deficit to 28-23.
The Midget defense then came close to stopping the Central Lion/George-Little Rock. But instead of a third-and-8, a personal foul gave the hosts a first-and-10 at the ELC 27-yard line. The Lions threw their only pass of the second half as Jesse Markus connected with Kalvin Popkes for the score.
"We said in the pre-game that Central Lyon would keep coming at you," said Fandel. "The same plays in the first half that were going for 3 yards were going for 7 in the second half. They wore us down."
ELC's next drive ended after an interception. Hunt added a 20-yard touchdown run with 7:40 remaining.
ELC finished with 189 yards rushing. Blanco led the way with 94 yards on 13 carries. Snyder finished with 81 on seven carries and Hansen had 14 yards on three carries.
Hansen was 8-of-18 passing for 114 yards and a pair of interceptions. Matt Burrell was the recipient of most with Snyder and Heinrichs also grabbing a pass.
Blanco and Tucker Milburn led the ELC?defense with 10 tackles each. Randy Leon and Levi Jensen each had seven.
ELC (1-5 overall, 1-2 in district play) returns home the next two weeks against Forest City (Oct. 5) and Garner-Hayfield/Ventura (Oct. 13).