Howells-Dodge improved to 7-0 and kept its spot at No. 1 in the class D-1 rankings on Friday after defeating Laurel-Concord-Coleridge (LCC) 28-20.
The Howells-Dodge Jaguars took a 20-0 in the third quarter against the LCC Bears on Friday off two rushing touchdowns from Levi Belina and a passing touchdown from Jacob Tomcak to Charlie Dvorak.
"We were running the ball effectively and were able to put together some drives to build the lead," Howells-Dodge head coach Mike Spiers said.
LCC's quarterback Ty Erwin then threw for two touchdowns in the first four minutes of the fourth quarter to close the gap to 20-14.
"LCC was able to complete some passes and keep drives alive," Spiers said. "We threw an interception that set them up with a short field and they were able to convert that for a score. We committed a couple of defensive penalties that kept drives alive for them also."
Belina then scored on a 52-yard run with six minutes left in the game for some breathing room.
"We did not feel any pressure to respond," Spiers said. "We knew that if we continued to do the things that had put us in control, we would be OK."
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Erwin threw for another touchdown with four minutes left to close the gap to 28-20 but the Jaguars did enough to run out the clock and earn the win.
Tomcak completed 7 of 13 passes for 86 yards and a touchdown. Belina rushed for 200 yards and three scores on 23 carries.
Luke Rocheford had been the primary rusher for Howells-Dodge most of the season, but went down with an injury in the first quarter.
Dvorak caught three passes for 42 yards and a touchdown. Trevor Schumacher led the Jags in tackles with 12. R.J. Bayer finished with three sacks.
Howells-Dodge will host Madison (2-5) in the season finale on Friday, looking for its fourth unbeaten regular season since 2012.
"We got a victory over a very good team and our kids played hard," Spiers said. "We just want to continue to work to improve and to play physical football."
Peter Huguenin is a sports reporter for the Schuyler Sun. Reach him via email at SCHsports@lee.net