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North Scott football

North Scott's Kade Sandknop returns a punt 31 yards for a touchdown during Friday night's game against Clear Creek Amana. The Lancers won 45-7.

TIFFIN, Iowa — They dominated the line of scrimmage. They controlled field position. They had a lopsided advantage in about every statistical category.

As a result, the scoreboard was one-sided, too. 

In a battle of state-ranked programs, Class 3A fourth-ranked North Scott throttled sixth-ranked Clear Creek Amana 45-7 Friday night at Clipper Field.

The Lancers (7-1, 4-0) clinched at least a share of the District 5 title and their 11th consecutive playoff trip. North Scott can win the district outright with a home win over Davenport Assumption (4-4, 3-1) next week. 

"It is really special to be back in the playoffs," receiver Carson Rollinger said. "We still have business to take care of because we want a home game for the playoffs."

Off to its best start in school history, CCA (7-1, 3-1) came in allowing just more than five points per game. Nobody had tallied more than 15 points against them this season.

North Scott exceeded that mark by the end of the first quarter.

"We came out and we were relentless," said North Scott junior defensive lineman Ben Belken, who had a pair of first-half sacks. "The defense played well, the offense came through and it was a very good game for us."

North Scott had a 12-1 advantage in first downs and out-gained CCA 245-34 in total yards in the first half. 

The Lancers started all six of their first-half possessions past their own 30. Conversely, CCA's average starting field position was its own 14. 

Despite throwing his first interception of the season, quarterback Nile McLaughlin completed 20 of 28 passes for 238 yards and a score. He also had two rushing touchdowns. 

Rollinger had seven grabs for 113 yards with a touchdown. He also recorded his team-leading sixth interception of the season. 

"I feel we came out with a lot of energy," Rollinger said. "We knew how important this game was to clinch a playoff spot. We came out fired up and got the job done."

Kade Sandknop returned a punt 31 yards for a touchdown late in the first quarter to make it a three-score game.

"The wall was set up perfectly on that punt return, just like we practice it," Sandknop said. "I followed the blocks and got in."

In the final minute of the half, McLaughlin hooked up with Rollinger for a 24-yard score to give the Lancers a 24-0 cushion.

North Scott added three more scoring drives in the second half, including a 13-play, 95-yard march, to bring about a continuous clock.

The physicality and speed of North Scott's defense overwhelmed CCA.

The Clippers didn't generate a first down until just more than 3 minutes left in the second quarter. They had just two plays go for more than five yards in the opening half, and finished with only 156 total yards.

"Our coaches and players have been watching film on them all week," Sandknop said. "We knew what they would be running when they got in the formations, anticipated that and played it perfect."

North Scott coach Kevin Tippet felt his team's depth was a big factor. 

"I thought we played well," he said. "We had some good bounces on special teams that contributed to the field position, but we put it all together tonight."

North Scott has won seven consecutive games since the season-opening loss to Iowa City West. It has won all four district contests by four touchdowns or more.

Tippet has seen growth each week, particularly in his offensive line. The Lancers rushed for 184 yards, with Quentin Allison and Jacob Porth combining for 154. 

"(CCA) has a lot of really good athletes," Tippet said. "We really talked about how we had to be physical, wear them down and our line bought in. 

"We weren't a physical team at the start of the year, especially on offense. We're not quite there yet, but we're getting better at it." 

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Sports Editor

Prep sports editor, with emphasis on covering the Mississippi Athletic Conference and Iowa area high schools. I've been in sports journalism for 17 years, the last five at the Quad-City Times.