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Lone Tree senior Bryce Houser had a monster game in his first game back from an injury against Montezuma on Friday night, racking up 189 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
The Lions (1-1) came away with a 36-25 road win over the Braves (0-2).
“It was also great to see Bryce Houser bounce back from a summer injury to have a big game running the football,” Lions head coach Aaron Bohr said. “Montezuma is a very solid team, and although we had a rocky performance, I was happy with how our team persevered to grind out a win in the fourth quarter.”
In a game where the two teams traded the lead back and forth all night, Houser sealed the game for the Lions with an interception at the Lone Tree 15-yard line with three minutes left in the game.
The teams each scored on their opening possessions of the game. Lions quarterback Harmon Miller found the end zone at the 9:33 mark of the first quarter.
Just over a minute later, Braves quarterback Trey Shearer broke off a 30-yard touchdown run. A failed kick left the Lions holding a 7-6 lead.
On the ensuing drive, Lone Tree’s Brady Dauber took off for a 46-yard run before being taken down at the Montezuma 1-yard line. On the next play, Lone Tree fumbled, and the Braves took possession, in what became a theme of missed opportunities for both teams throughout the game.
The Braves took the lead late in the first quarter when Shearer connected with Cole Watts on a 56-yard touchdown pass.
Shearer passed at will against the Lions’ defense going 12-for-35 passing for 293 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for 168 yards on 13 carries, scoring two rushing touchdowns.
Houser scored his first touchdown a little over three minutes into the second quarter on a 13-yard run to put the Lions up 15-12.
While the Braves moved the ball well, the Lone Tree defense used two fourth-down stops to help keep Montezuma out of the end zone in the second quarter. Special teams stepped up by blocking a Braves’ field goal as the first half ended.
“I thought that our defensive coordinator Harry Miller made some terrific halftime adjustments to our pass defense, and our secondary players Brady Dauber, Avery Knock, Harmon Miller, Alex Viner, Keegan Edwards and Ty Griffin elevated their performance in the second half,” Bohr said.
There was a flurry of scoring in the third quarter.
Shearer gave Montezuma the lead again on a 70-yard run just 14 seconds into the quarter.
Lone Tree countered with Miller’s 1-yard touchdown run at 3:38. Two minutes later, Montezuma led again after Shearer’s 57-yard scoring pass to Eddie Burgess.
As time ran out in the period, Houser hit Avery Knock for a 28-yard scoring strike, giving the Lions a 29-25 lead going into the fourth quarter.
The Lions gave themselves some breathing room with 3:39 left in the game when Houser hurdled into the end zone from the 1-yard line.
Less than a minute later, Houser sealed the 36-25 win with his interception.
Bohr credited his lines for the team’s success.
“I was very pleased with the performance of our line on both sides of the ball,” he said. “Cale Yoder, Tim Mills, Trey Shalla and Dwayne Drayfahl have done a terrific job as a unit in the trenches through two games.
“We have much to improve on going forward with a tough Iowa Valley team next on our schedule.”
Lone Tree hosts Iowa Valley at 7 p.m., Friday.
Lone Tree: 7; 8; 14; 7; 36
Montezuma: 12; 0; 13; 0; 25
Harmon Miller 6-12 72 yards, 1 TD
Bryce Houser 27-189 yards, 2 TD
Harmon Miller 23-56 yards, 2 TD
Avery Knock 2-36 yards, 1 TD
Keegan Edwards, 2-38 yards
Keegan Edwards, 8 tackles
Avery Knock, 4 tackles
Dwayne Drayfahl, 1.5 tackles, 1 sack