GOOSE LAKE — Camanche used a pretty simple formula in the third quarter to pull away from Northeast Friday night.
Run more plays.
The Storm ran 17 plays, gaining 139 yards in the third quarter, while holding the Rebels to just six yards on seven plays, en route to a 28-14 win at Northeast High School. The win clinches a playoff spot for the Storm (4-3, 3-1 Class 2A District 5).
In the game, Camanche only ran six more plays than Northeast, but outgained the Rebels 436-267. The third quarter was key for the Storm, including a 98-yard touchdown drive that took 11 plays, all runs, that put them up 21-7.
"We were playing good before that, we had our ups and downs but we were really on top of the game there. We just kicked it into gear. We knew what we had to do, stayed fundamental with some great play calls, and we just executed," Camanche senior running back Eric Kinkaid said. "It was so much fun, every single play, even if we did bad, we picked each other up, stayed positive and just made plays."
Kinkaid led the Storm with 183 yards on 24 carries and scored three touchdowns. While Kinkaid provided the power, junior Ethan Schultz supplied the speed, adding 153 yards and a score on 14 carries. The Storm rushed for 371 yards, averaging 7.9 yards per carry.
"We both run the ball hard, really hit a hole and the line does a great job, they had a great game tonight," Schultz said. "They've been good all season, this is probably their best performance so far."
After Kinkaid's third score of the night made it 28-7 in the fourth quarter, the Rebels responded with a 14-play, 67-yard drive that ended with a 3-yard touchdown run from freshman quarterback Gavin Kramer, his second of the night, coming with 5:09 left in the game. The onside kick was bobbled but recovered by Camanche, and though Northeast's defense held, the Rebels (4-3, 3-1) ran out of time to attempt the comeback.
Kramer was 15-of-31 for 187 yards and added 57 yards on the ground. The Rebels wrap up their regular season next week against Monticello, but have more football to look forward to, already clinching their first playoff berth since 2009.
"I really think they made it a bigger game than what it was, with the struggles we've had in the past, and then with Camanche in general, you could kind of see it off the bat," Northeast head coach Mark Lee said. "We're way better than what we showed tonight, I truly believe that."
After an 0-2 start, Camanche is back in the playoffs for the second straight season.
"Our kids bought into what we were going to do, we made some changes as far as offensive and defensive scheme, put guys in different spots than we had the first couple weeks and they just played really well," Camanche head coach Dustin Coit said. "With district play, those games matter for playoffs and we let the kids know we want to win all the games we play, but the most important games were district games and we wanted to make sure we were playing our best when we started district play and I think we're starting to do that right now."
The Storm wasted no time getting on the board, taking the opening possession 65 yards on 10 plays, capped by a 5-yard touchdown run from Kinkaid with 8:55 left in the first quarter.
Camanche doubled its lead later in the quarter on a 19-yard TD run from Ethan Schultz at the 3:39 mark. The drive was saved by a 33-yard pass from Mike Delzell to Tucker Dickherber on 3rd and 19, the Storm recovering after Delzell was sacked on the previous play. Schultz scored on the very next play.
Camanche looked poised to add to its lead in the second quarter, moving the ball down to the Northeast 21, but Caleb Gruhn forced a fumble and the ball was recovered by Ty Hudson to keep the score at 14-0.
Northeast capitalized, driving the ball 79 yards on eight plays, capped by an 11-yard touchdown run by Kramer to cut the score to 14-7 heading into halftime.