Sep 11

Wildcats Ride Vitzhum, Defense to District Win

By: Nathan Bloechl — nathanb@977thebolt.com

Humboldt, Iowa — You had to wonder when he would get his opportunity — you also had to wonder why it took so long?

Nevertheless, Humboldt junior Tyler Vitzhum took off — and secured — the bellcow role for the Wildcats in the rest of 2017 after rushing 25 times for 128 yards, in Humboldt’s 17-14 win over the Spencer Tigers, Friday night.

Entering the contest, Humboldt had only mustered up 90 yards of rushing on 48 carries, a measly 1.88 yards per carry.

That all changed when Vitzhum ripped off consistent 5, 7, 8 and 4 yard runs. It gave Humboldt something they were missing — balance.

Vitzhum kept Humboldt in manageable down and distances and also allowed their play action game to flourish even more.

Junior quarterback Joey Busse used a play-fake to roll right into the end-zone in the first quarter to tie the game at 7, which would stay that way until the half.

However, if not for the heroics of Lucas Volf, Spencer would have been leading. In the second quarter, Spencer running back Brendan Ellis scampered to freedom, looking poised to score a 70 yard-plus touchdown. Yet Volf, hustling from the weak-side of the play, came from behind to punch the ball out of Ellis’ hands, resulting in a touch-back. It was the best defensive play Humboldt has seen all year.

Riding momentum out of the half, quarterback Joey Busse would link up with Eli Sande in the on a 47-yard touchdown pass to give Humboldt a 14-7 lead in the third quarter.

Spencer — and their triple option attack — would counter after forcing the second of two Busse interceptions. On a four play drive, Isaiah Spencer found pay-dirt to tie the game at 14-14.

Humboldt saw a late drive into the red-zone stall which would set them up with an opportunity to kick a go-ahead field goal. Their place-kicker, Lucas Volf, did not kick a field goal in all of 2016, but drilled the 22-yard kick to give Humboldt a 17-14 lead.

Spencer had just over a minute to tie the game but quarterback Cade Hopkins’ fourth down pass fell incomplete to allow Humboldt to avenge their 14-7 loss last year versus Spencer.

Humboldt will play Algona next week in Algona, as they try to start district play 2-0. Kick-off is set for 7:00 p.m.