ATLANTIC, Iowa — Ten years after Atlantic’s last win over Harlan Community, 48 minutes again weren’t enough to decide a winner.
And on this occasion, the Cyclones had the final word.
Nate Kloewer broke up a fourth-and-goal pass by Harrison Hoegh in the extra session, and Harlan pranced away with a 28-21 overtime victory over the Trojans in a Class 3-A, District 1 matchup at the Trojan Bowl.
The victory clinched the 18th straight playoff berth for state No. 10 Harlan, which improved to 7-1 and 4-1. Atlantic dropped to 5-3 overall and 2-3 in district play, and has been eliminated from playoff contention after losing for the 29th time in 30 games against the Cyclones.
Harlan’s Kloewer said it’s a great feeling to reach the postseason. His class has taken some lumps along the way.
“Our freshman year, everybody was like, ‘This team is one of the worst teams to come through Harlan,’” he said. “We just found a way to get it done.”
Atlantic tied the game at 21 with 3:42 left in regulation on a well-designed 13-yard screen pass from Harrison Hoegh to Jacob Dvorak on fourth-and-7.
Harlan drove down and had second-and-11 at the Atlantic 12, but Adam Juhl was picked off by Sam Markham with 22.9 seconds remaining, sending the teams to overtime.
Harlan had possession first in overtime and faced third-and-goal at the 13. But the Trojans were whistled for pass interference, giving Harlan a first down at the 6. Two plays later, Juhl lofted a 6-yard touchdown pass to Christopher Hopkins. Ethan Knudson’s kick made it 28-21.
Three straight Hoegh runs put Atlantic in a fourth-and-goal situation at the 7. With Markham, the team’s top receiver, double-covered — as he was all night — the Trojans called a slant to 6-foot-5 Dalton Franken and Kloewer beat him to the spot.
“It’s not that we didn’t have chances,” Atlantic coach Nick Ross said. “We had our chances and didn’t take advantage of them.”
Harlan didn’t lead until early in the fourth quarter. The Cyclones grabbed the momentum by cranking up their rushing attack in the second half. After running for 19 yards in the first two periods, they ran for 194 after the intermission.
Hopkins ran for 118 yards on 31 carries, and Joey Foss added 74 on eight attempts.
Harlan earned the win without the services of five starters.
“We’re missing some people,” Harlan coach Curt Bladt said. “It’s a great thing for the kids. (The playoffs) gives them a little something to look forward to, but we’ve got another big fish (ADM) coming to town next week.”
Atlantic’s Hoegh completed 18 of 34 passes for 239 yards and a touchdown, and ran for 47 yards and a score. But the Trojans had numerous key drops. That was part of the reason they couldn’t duplicate their 24-21 overtime win here in the 2002 regular-season finale, the year the Trojans went on to win the state title.
Harlan .................. 0 7 7 7 7—28
At Atlantic .................. 7 0 7 7 0—21
A: Harrison Hoegh 11 run (Sam Markham kick)
H: Nate Kloewer 59 pass from Adam Juhl (Ethan Knudson kick)
A: Jacob Dvorak 1 run (Markham kick)
H: Christopher Hopkins 12 run (Knudson kick)
H: David Ratigan 3 pass from Juhl (Knudson kick)
A: Dvorak 13 pass from Hoegh (Markham kick)
H: Hopkins 6 pass from Juhl (Knudson kick)
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