NEWTON — It was a tale of two halves when Oskaloosa visited Newton Friday night at H.A. Lynn Stadium.
The Indians controlled the first-half scoring three touchdowns for a 21-0 halftime lead and holding the Class 3A, District 7 top rushing offense to 84 yards in the first 24 minutes.
The second half saw the Cardinals rally to tie the game at 21, only to have Tyler Miller score his second touchdown of the game with 2:54 remaining in the fourth quarter to lead the Indians to a 28-21 victory.
The win moves Oskaloosa’s record to 4-2 overall and 2-0 in the district.
Oskaloosa got touchdowns on their first two possessions as a result of two big running plays.
Miller ran for 20 yards to put the ball at the Newton 22 and the Oskaloosa quarterback ran for 12 more yards two plays later to give the Indians a first down at the newton 10.
On the next play, Wyatt Krier scored on a 10-yard run midway in the opening quarter.
After the Oskaloosa defense forced Newton to punt, Miller hooked up with Will Schultz for a 13-yard scoring strike five minutes later to give the Indians a 14-0 cushion at the end of the first quarter.
Oskaloosa tacked on one more first-half TD as Miller scored on an 18-yard run with 40 seconds remaining in the half for a three-touchdown advantage at the intermission.
“We really got after them in the first half and had their number,” Oskaloosa coach Jake Jenkins said. “We did a good job getting out of the gate and we talked about getting off to a good start. We had a good defensive stop after stop after so was huge.
“We said they’re not going to quit and we can’t quit. We’ve got to play four quarters. You have to fight through adversity. If you’re going to be a great team, you have to fight through a lot of adversity. We can't let the foot off the gas if we want to be the team we want to be.”
The Indians was forced to punt on their first possession of the second half. With the ball at the Oskaloosa 39, Aaron Blom had his punt blocked by Breyton Schwenker and the ball went out of bounds at the 25.
The Cardinals capitalize on the break on a Will Cheng 12-yard touchdown run to get them back in the game.
Cheng added another TD early in the fourth as he scored on an 11-yard run and a Kyle Long 24-yard run with 6:57 to go tied the contest at 21.
But Oskaloosa came right back on an eight-play, 69-yard drive that provided the winning margin.
With the ball on the Newton 44, a 42-yard run by Miller placed the ball at the 2 and Miller recorded his third touchdown of the game on two plays later as he scored on a 1-yard run with less than 3 minutes remaining in the contest for the 28-21 lead.
The Oskaloosa defense had to to come up with a big play and come up with one it did.
Colton Butler, who earlier in the game was the recipient of a hook-and-lateral that set up a first-half touchdown, sacked Long for an 11-yard loss at the Newton 48 on third down and an incomplete pass turned the ball over on downs and the Indians would stay unbeaten in the district.
“It was a crazy game with lots of turnovers,” Jenkins said. “It was an exciting game and a fun game. I was proud of the way we fought until the end.”
Oskaloosa had 314 yards of offense with 234 of that coming from the running game while Newton had 286 yards of offense.
Miller ran for 155 yards and two touchdowns for the Indians as Schultz had 49 yards and Krier had 33 yards rushing and one TD. Cale Holmberg had three yards carrying the ball.
Miller was 7 for 12 passing for 80 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions while Blom didn’t complete the one pass he attempted.
Schultz caught two passes for 20 yards and a touchdown as Iszac Schultz had 39 yards on one reception. Reed Brown also caught two passes for 18 yards as Noah VanVeldhuizen had one catch for three yards and Bulter had one reception for no yards.
Krier recorded nine tackles to lead the Oskaloosa defense while Kenny Settimi and Cody Gunn both had eight tackles. Blom and Leland Evans both recorded six tackles as Iszac Schultz and Walker Newman, who left the game with an injury, both had five tackles. Bulter was in on four tackles as VanVeldhuizen and Mason Ford both had three tackles. Collecting two tackles apiece were Brown, Andrew Else, gavin Higgins and Bobby Opheim while Quan Lewis and Blake Westercamp each had a tackle. Gunn also recovered a pair of fumbles and Iszac Schultz intercepted a pass.
Oskaloosa closes out the road portion of the season next week as it visits Pella, which routed winless South Tama 63-12, in a battle to district co-leaders.