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WATCH NOW: Titans explode in second half to gash Go-Hawks
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WATCH NOW: Titans explode in second half to gash Go-Hawks

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Highlights and comments from Lewis Central's 35-10 win over Waverly-Shell Rock at the UNI-Dome

CEDAR RAPIDS — In their third-ever appearance in the state football semifinals, Lewis Central’s offense finished the game with 28 unanswered points to beat Waverly-Shell Rock 35-10 Thursday to clinch a spot in the Class 4A championship game.

“I guess the third time’s the charm for us,” Titans coach Justin Kammrad said. “Our kids really grinded it out. They buckled down on us in the first half and got the lead early in the second and we responded, and that’s just been the nature of our team. Anytime something doesn’t go our way we know it’s a long game and you just got to keep battling and we did that and eventually opened things up.”

The Titans will play in the state championship game for the first time in program history.

Things started a bit messy, as the Titan fumbled on their second play from scrimmage to put the Go-Hawks in great field position at the LC 28-yard line. The Titan defense responded, though, intercepting Go-Hawk quarterback Grant Halverson in the end zone to keep things at a scoreless tie.

Junior quarterback Braylon Kammrad eventually threw a 30-yard strike to Blake Cyborn to put the Titans on the board first 7-0 with just under six minutes to play in the first quarter.

The Go-Hawks responded just four scrimmage plays later as Halverson threw to Layne McDonald for a 47-yard touchdown pass to tie thing up.

The second quarter turned out to be a battle of field position as neither offense was forced three and out but no points went on the board. Waverly-Shell Rock missed a 28-yard field goal in the final three seconds of the half to keep the score at 7-7 at the break.

The Go-Hawks came out of the halftime break firing and eventually marched all the way to the Titan’s 18-yard line. The LC defense stood strong and kept Waverly-Shell Rock out of the end zone to force a 33-yard field goal attempt, which went through the upright to give Waverly-Shell Rock their first lead of the day at 10-7.

“It was a tough first half and it was a great game,” Braylon Kammrad said. “We still knew we could break one open and we responded right after their field goal and broke off some big plays to put it away.”

The Titans, who hadn’t scored since their second drive of the game, needed an answer. They found one. Senior running back Jonathan Humpal came alive in the run game and immediately after a 20-yard run from Humpal, Kammrad found Luciano Fidone for a 40-yard touchdown pass to regain the lead 14-10 midway through the third quarter.

The play seemingly opened the floodgates for the Titan offense.

“We knew it was going to be a battle, at the same time we knew we just had to keep battling,” Fidone said. “Offensively we knew we just had to stick with what we do and we’d get our chances and we knew that first drive after their field goal was huge, we took care of business and responded.”

The Titan defense forced the game’s first three and out to get the ball back to the offense. Soon thereafter Humpal had an 18-yard touchdown run to increase Lewis Central’s lead to 21-10 late in the third quarter, which would be the score at the end of the quarter as well.

The Titan defense forced another stop to get the ball back to the offense. Two plays after the Go-Hawks punted Humpal went 51 yards to the house to make it a 28-10 game with 11:41 left on the clock.

“Honestly, I didn’t expect to break it off like that,” Humpal said. “The line did an awesome job of opening things up and I saw green in front of me and I just ran it in.”

Humpal ran for 189 yards on 28 carries.

After another stop, the Titans drove down the field again and Kammrad capped off the drive with a three-yard pass to Luciano Fidone to put the Titans up 35-10 to seal the Titan victory.

Fidone led the Titans with eight catches for 114 yards and two touchdown catches. Braylon Kammrad finished the day 11 for 20 and 203 yards and three passing touchdowns. Kammrad also ran for 34 yards.

“Big-time credit goes to the coaches and the guys, they just keep battling,” Justin Kammrad said. “I couldn’t be more proud of our guys and the coaches. This season has been a grind and these kids have been battle-tested and I couldn’t be prouder of what they’ve accomplished.”

“It feels amazing, everyone wants to be here but only two teams do,” Fidone said. “We’re eager to get back to work and hopefully play well to win a title.”

“This means everything,” Humpal said. “It was our goal to get here all season and after that week four loss at Indianola I think we’ve really come together. The seniors have just shown awesome leadership and we knew from that point what we had to do and we’re just trying to keep this going.”

“It feels great, we’re excited to keep playing, but our work isn’t done.” Braylon Kammrad said.

Lewis Central will play Cedar Rapids Xavier at 7 p.m. on Thursday in the championship game in Cedar Rapids at UNI Dome. Cedar Rapids Xavier beat Winterset 40-14 in their semifinal game. 

Lewis Central (10-2) 7 0 14 14 — 35

Waverly-Shell Rock (10-2) 7 0 3 0 — 10

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