ELDRIDGE — Once the North Scott football team got going Friday, there was no looking back.
The Lancers overcame a slow start to pile up 22 points in the second and cruise to a 50-0 shutout of short-handed Davenport Central in an Iowa Class 4A playoff opener at Lancer Stadium.
"They were disrupting our zone read plays with a lot of stunts and twists early, and it took us some time to adjust," North Scott coach Kevin Tippet said. “We challenged the offensive line a bit, and after that we seemed to get things together."
The Lancers rushed for 268 of their 412 yards. Jacob Porth led North Scott with a 106-yard effort, most coming after Jared Rus had completed a 102-yard performance that included three touchdowns.
Rus reached the end zone on carries of 4, 5 and 1 yard to send North Scott on its way to a 21-0 lead, which went unchallenged and launched the Lancers toward a quarterfinal match-up next Friday at Bettendorf, a 28-14 winner over Pleasant Valley.
“We were a little sloppy in the first quarter, but we settled down and played the kind of game we wanted to play," Rus said.
Rus’ first score capped an eight-play drive on the Lancers’ first possession of the game, but a punt and a fumble left North Scott with a 7-0 lead after one quarter.
That margin stuck until quarterback Nile McLaughlin hit Dylan Belk with a 54-yard pass and Carson Rollinger with a 28-yard pass to set up Rus for a pair of short second-quarter touchdown runs within a span of 2 minutes, 14 seconds midway through the quarter.
North Scott (9-1) added a safety on an intentional grounding call in the end zone followed by a one-yard touchdown run by McLaughlin on the ensuing possession to open a 29-0 lead with 4:30 remaining in the first half.
Central (6-4) competed without with what coach Ben Sacco would only say was “a number’’ of lineup regulars who were withheld for disciplinary or academic reasons.
“We asked a lot of guys to fill new roles this week, several were on the field both ways for the first time, and I’m proud of the character they showed and the way they competed," said Sacco, whose team was without 1,400-yard rusher Jatoviay Hill, among others.
“The first quarter, we hung in there, but North Scott was just a little too much for us, but our guys gave it what they had."
McLaughlin, who rushed for 52 yards in addition to throwing for 144 with a 9-of-18 passing performance, extended the Lancers’ lead to 36-0 with 4:18 remaining in the third quarter on a 15-yard touchdown run.
A Collin Lewis fumble recovery on the ensuing kickoff gave North Scott the ball back on the Blue Devils’ 30-yard line and preceded second-half touchdown runs of 4 and 3 yards by Porth.
"We were able to get a lot of guys in, give some guys some playoff experience, and that is always a good thing,'' Tippet said. "It was a good way to open the postseason.''
Chris Murphy led the Blue Devils with 56 yards on 11 second-half carries, while Will Fleming, playing running back for the first time this season, contributed 32 yards. Israel Taylor caught six passes for 83 yards in the loss.