ESTHERVILLE - Brett Tomkins beat the Cherokee Braves 48-28 in Class 2A State Football Playoffs here Wednesday night.
Although the final score of the game was 54-28, with Estherville-LC defeating Cherokee to advance to the quarterfinals against Central Lyon/George-Little Rock here Tuesday night, Tomkins single-handedly outscored the Braves on an historic, record-setting night of prep football.
None can remember ever hearing of such a single high school game output as Tomkins, a 5-8, 165-pound senior tailback, recorded here Wednesday. All told, Tomkins, a well-kept secret except for the Midgets and their followers, scored all eight E-LC TDs - seven of them rushing and one on a pass play. Oh, by the way, he carried the ball 42 times in the game for 403 yards, and also punted twice. He also plays in the defensive backfield.
Simply put, Cherokee had no answer for the quick, fleet back, who could run laterally as fast as forward, and used his quickness, elusiveness, and varying bursts of speed to carve up the perplexed Cherokee defense.
E-LC answered back with two TDs (guess who?) - one in the first quarter and another in the second period to knot the game at 14-14, but the Braves scored again with just seconds left in the half on a seven-yard pass from Jones to Chris Campbell to take a 21-14 lead into halftime against the beleaguered Midgets, who won their District with a 7-0 record (8-1 over all).
Cherokee's second half started miserably, as Campbell got stuffed on his own one-yard line on the opening kick-off. Three plays and out, followed by an eight-yard punt off the side of the foot of Cherokee punter Tim Jones handed the hosts a quick TD to tie it and momentum switch was evident in the freezing 22-degree air.
Then the acclaimed running attack of the Midgets kicked in, with Tomkins getting quicker and stronger as the night wore on. When it ended, E-LC had tacked on 19 points in the third, and 21 more in the fourth to win it waltzing away.
Tyler Jones completed 25-46 passes for 258 yards, two TDs and one interception. E-LC's Brad Deling was 6-11 passing for 78 yards, one TD, and one interception - by Josh Mugge with a 22-yard return. E-LC rushed 66 times for 472 yards, with Tomkins totaling 403 of those.
For Cherokee, Campbell caught eight passes for 94 yards and one TD, Schuett caught six for 61 yards, Johnson four for 54 yards and two TDs, Matt Koch three for 27 yards, and Michael Boothby four for 22 yards.
Tim Jones led the Cherokee defense with 16 tackles, while Mugge, Nick Loughlin, and Nick Daum registered 14 apiece.
"We just got steamrolled in the second half," said Cherokee coach Tony Napierala. "We lost our momentum right away with poor field position, and they took advantage of it and just played the more physical game in the second half.
"It is a disappointing way to end a season, but I hope it doesn't detract from the fact these kids accomplished a lot and laid the foundation for future success.
"I thank out seniors for a great year and I know our kids who are coming back will step up to the challenge to get us back to the playoffs next season."