By John Burbridge firstname.lastname@example.org
CHARLES CITY — Aside from the mythical winged equine Pegasus … can horses fly?
The short answer is “yes”, and there’s proof provided by frame-by-frame film footage of galloping horses with all four legs tucked under them and off the ground — hence the Ford Mustang logo.
The Independence Mustangs football team can also fly — or at least attack efficiently through the air as it did Friday in a Class 3A-District 3 encounter with the hosting Charles City Comets.
Mustang junior quarterback Logan Schmitt threw for 210 yards and four touchdowns — bringing his TD pass total to 18 through seven games — while leading Independence to a 38-13 victory.
Schmitt, who is also the Mustangs’ leading rusher this season, ran for 108 yards on 29 keeper carries, and scored a touchdown himself.
The win improved the Mustangs’ record to 6-1 overall and kept them atop the Northeast Iowa Conference standings with Decorah as both teams have 3-0 conference records with two games remaining in the regular season.
The Comets fell to 4-3 overall and 1-2 in the NEIC.
If there was one bright spot for Charles City it was the effective return of senior running back/linebacker Dylan Koresh.
Two weeks ago, Koresh sprained a medial collateral ligament in his right knee during the first half of the Comets’ win against Waterloo East. For those who saw the play that injured Koresh up close or even in the game video, it appeared that Koresh’s season was over.
But in his return against the Mustangs, Koresh rushed for a game-high 122 yards on just 10 carries, and also was credited with 6.5 tackles.
He also quickly made up for turning the ball over in the red zone.
With Charles City fans desperately looking for a reason to cheer in their final home game of the season after Independence had taken a 30-7 lead in the third quarter, Wyatt Stevenson was able to get a hand on a Schmitt pass while batting up in the air where Kelly Ward seized it and returned it 10 yards inside the Mustangs’ 20.
But several plays later, Koresh couldn’t get a firm handle on a pitch while he was simultaneously engaged with an Independence defender resulting in the Comets giving back the ball.
Yet Charles City’s defense was able to force a punt on the ensuing possession, and that’s when a counter play sprung Koresh for a 53-yard TD.
Koresh also helped Charles City open the scoring in the first quarter when he sealed off a defender enabling Elliott Sinnwell to break free for a big gain down the sidelines to get the Comets inside Independence’s 10.
Soon after, Comet QB Marcus Cranshaw punched it in from 3 yards out to give Charles City a 7-0 lead with Kaleb Byers’s PAT kick.
Independence responded with a 75-drive capped off by a 3-yard keeper by Schmitt. Then employing the good ol’ “Lonesome Polecat” formation — the eligible-receiver center, quarterback and a flanker line up separately from the other eight players — Schmitt found Sean Geertsema all alone in the endzone for the two-point conversion to put the Mustangs up, 8-7.
Schmitt would later hook up with Geertsma twice for touchdown passes of 21 and 44 yards. Geertsma finished the day with 146 receiving yards on eight receptions.
Due to a pending thunder storm in the forecast, the game’s kickoff was moved up to 5 p.m.
Charles City will finish the regular season on the road, including a 100-mile trip to Manchester to take on West Delaware (3-4, 0-3) this Friday (Oct. 12).
The regular-season finale will be at Waverly-Shell Rock on Oct. 19.
CHARLES CITY 13
Scoring By Quarters
INDEPENDENCE 8 15 15 0 — 38
CHARLES CITY 7 0 6 0 — 13
CC — Marcus Cranshaw 3-yard run (Kaleb Byers kick), 7:13 1st
IND — Logan Schmitt 3-yard run (Schmitt pass to Sean Geertsema), 2:51 1st
IND — Tristan Cordes 3-yard pass from Schmitt (Schmitt run), 9:44 2nd
IND — Geertsema 21-yard pass from Schmitt (Geertsema kick), 1:10 2nd
IND — Geertsema 44-yard pass from Schmitt (Geertsema kick), 10:04 3rd
CC — Dylan Koresh 53-yard run (Pass failed), 4:13 3rd
IND — Blake Bartz 25-yard pass from Schmitt (Schmitt pass to Kaleb Lamphier ), :56 3rd
Charles City 4-3 (1-2 Class 3A-District 3)
Independence 6-1 (3-0 Class 3A-District 3)