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Algona aerial attack rains down on Comets 48-0

Algona aerial attack rains down on Comets 48-0
Press photo by John Burbridge
Charles City’s Josiah Cunnings manages to drag down Algona tight end Jack Limbaugh after a big gain during Friday’s Class 3A-District 2 matchup, which the hosting Bulldogs won 48-0.

By John Burbridge

ALGONA — During their homecoming game while hosting a Class 3A-District 2 slate opener for both teams, the Algona Bulldogs scored early and often while rolling over the Charles City Comets 48-0 last Friday.

At least the visiting fans could find solace in knowing that every Bulldog touchdown went for a good cause.

The seat of Kossuth County is still reeling from the loss of Algona police veteran Kevin Cram, who was shot to death earlier this month while serving a warrant to the alleged shooter. In addition to the homecoming activities, the small city’s residents came out in force to “Back the Blue” while honoring Cram’s sacrifice to the community. Multiple donations for Cram’s surviving family were offered by numerous local businesses and residents for every TD the Bulldogs scored that night.

The collective gesture was resoundingly and repeatedly answered by the Bulldogs. The Comets just so happened to be on the same field as the opposition.

With their revered aerial attack, the Bulldogs struck 23 seconds into regulation with junior quarterback Alex Manske connecting with senior receiver Porter Reffer on a 40-yard scoring pass play. They were just getting started.

When Manske and Reffer connected for 6 for the third time — a 47-yard bomb launched from midfield — it helped initiate the running clock with the Bulldogs taking a 35-0 lead with still 9:23 left in the third quarter.

It has been a while since Charles City faced a Division I-caliber quarterback liken to Manske, who is being heavily recruited by Nebraska. Manske completed 12 of 16 pass attempts for 238 yards and four TDs.

Reffer caught six of those passes for 149 yards and the aforementioned three scores.

Reffer is among the state leaders in receiving yards with 711 while averaging around 25 yards per catch. If he’s not a D1 prospect like his QB teammate, it’s more likely because of his modest stature — 5-foot-10, 175 pounds according to the roster — rather than his sure hands and quick feet.

But the 4-1 Bulldogs have other D1 prospects in their midst, including junior Jack Limbaugh who is also being recruited by Nebraska as well as Iowa State. He is primarily being recruited as a defensive end, but if Limbaugh is not careful he might continue the state’s tradition of outstanding tight ends emerging at the collegiate level.

From the TE position, Limbaugh caught only one pass — but it revealed his prowess as an outstanding football player. While Limbaugh was cutting across the field, it looked as if Manske was going to miss hitting a wide-open receiver with a pass out of reach. But Limbaugh was able to snare the pass one-handed and deftly turn upfield for a 35-yard gain — it took a run-down effort from Charles City’s resident state-champion long jumper Josiah Cunnings, a D1 talent himself, to keep Limbaugh from reaching paydirt.

Though the humbling loss to the Bulldogs was a far cry from the week before when they came from behind in to defeat Class 4A-school Mason City, the Comets didn’t play as bad as the score indicated as their overall record fell to 3-2. They just bumped into a team with too many explosive weapons to account of and neutralize during an emotionally charged homecoming game.

Charles City senior Isaiah Roe, a physical and imposing player nice to have around when the going gets tough, helped the Comets hit back a little and move the chains on the ground several times with 33 “tough” yards on 10 carries.

Comet senior QB Jordan Foster only completed two passes, but were both for big plays. The first was a 22-yard pass to Keenan Wiley that impressed some of the local media who have grown accustomed to highlight reel receptions; the second was a 32-yard gainer to Kaden Liddleton, who had a wrest the ball completely out of a Bulldog defensive back’s hands after the two players went up for the pass simultaneously.

Senior Gabe Rogstad led the Comet defense with seven total tackles, four solo tackles, and a tackle for loss; senior Talan Weber, in his first active game of the season, had five solo tackles with one going for a loss; and senior Hayden Heyer was able to aggressively defend against a slant pass intended for Tate Slagle — another Algona D1 talent … but for baseball — while playing the ball and giving/taking the hit.

Charles City will host Humboldt on Friday (Sept. 29). The Wildcats (3-2) are coming off a 14-7 win over Hampton-Dumont-CAL.


Scoring By Quarters

Charles City 0 0 0 0 — 0

Algona 21 14 7 6 — 0

Individual Scoring

A — Porter Reffer 40-yard pass from Alex Manske (Tate Slagle kick) 11:37 1st, 7-0

A — Jayden Erpelding 30-yard run off fumble recovery (Slagle kick) 8:27 1st, 14-0

A — Reffer 27-yard pass from Manske (Slagle kick) :35 1st, 21-0

A — Evan Allie 8-yard run (Slagle kick) 10:17 2nd, 28-0

A — Reffer 47-yard pass from Manske (Slagle kick) 9:23 2nd, 35-0

A — Manske 1-yard run (Slagle kick) 3:42 3rd, 42-0

A — Jaxon Eischen 23-yard pass from Nathan Manske (No conversion attempt) 2:29 4th, 48-0

RECORDS — Charles City 3-2, Algona 4-1

Individual Statistics

PASSING — (CC) Jordan Foster 2-11, 54 yards, INT; Isaiah Roe 0-1, INT. (A) Alex Manske 12-16, 238 yards, 4 TDs; Nathan Manske 1-1, 28 yards, TD.

RUSHING — (CC) Isaiah Roe 10 carries, 33 yards; Deacon Caspers 8 carries, 22 yards. (A) Evan Allie 11 carries, 70 yards, TD; Jayden Erpelding 2 carries, 48 yards, TD; Alex Manske 4 carries, 0 yards, TD; Tate Garman 4 carries, 32 yards; Tyson VanDewalle 3 carries, 20 yards; Ashton Moreno 1 carry, 10 yards; Nathan Manske 1 carry, 4 yards.

RECEIVING — (CC) Keenan Wiley 1 catch, 22 yards; Kaden Littleton 1 catch, 32 yards. (A) Porter Reffer 6 catches, 149 yards, 3 TDs; Jaxon Eischen 1 catch, 28 yards, TD; Jack Limbaugh 1 catch, 35 yards; Evan Allie 3 catches, 19 yards; Jayden Erpelding 1 catch, 19 yards; Tate Slagle 1 catch, 16 yards.

DEFENSE — (CC) Gabe Rogstad 7 total tackles, 4 solo tackles, tackle for loss; Talan Weber 5 solo tackles, tackle for loss; Isaiah Roe 3 solo tackles, tackle for loss; Keegan Bollman 1.5 tackles for loss; Colton Anderegg 0.5 tackles for loss. (A) Devin Larsen 3 solo tackles, Jack Limbaugh tackle for loss; Tate Garman tackle for loss, fumble recovery; Daniel Kemna INT, William Weichert INT.

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