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North Iowa football is running back rich
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North Iowa football is running back rich

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West Hancock has what coach Mark Sanger calls his "three-headed monster" running attack.

St. Ansgar has a running back who would just as soon run right over you than around you.

Clear Lake has a player whose speed on the ground is the perfect complement to the Lions' prolific passing game. 

The running game is alive and well in North Iowa football.

Here is a look at the Top 10 leading running backs in the Globe Gazette's coverage area and two other North Iowa backs on fringe teams who are tearing it up on the ground.


St. Ansgar running back Jack Sievert uses a straight arm to get around a Postville tackler on Sept. 20 at home.

Jack Sievert, St. Ansgar

The senior running back leads the area with 1,085 yards on the ground and 22 touchdowns through six games for the No. 2 team in Class A.

Sievert had another huge game Friday night, rushing for 192 yards on 25 carries in the Saints' 56-6 win over Hudson at home, including a long run of 22 yards.

His biggest game this year came at Osage on Sept. 6 when he carried the ball 50 times and rushed for a career high 272 yards.

Here are his numbers through six games:

Carries: 126

Yards: 1,085*

Touchdowns: 22*  

Yards per rush: 8.6

Longest TD run: 45 yards

Ian Latham, West Fork

The senior back has helped lead the Warhawks to a 4-2 record, including four straight after starting the season 0-2.

Latham rushed for 201 yards on 45 carries to give him 989 yards on a North Iowa-high 162 carries. He has scored 10 touchdowns with a long of 61 yards this season.

Here are his numbers through six games:

Carries: 162*

Yards: 989

Touchdowns: 10  

Yards per rush: 6.1

Longest TD run: 61 yards

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West Hancock's Cole Kelly runs the ball downfield for an Eagles touchdown.

Tate Hagen, West Hancock

The senior all-purpose back has gone over 100 yards in each of the six games for the No. 1 team in class A high school football.

Against North Union on Friday night, Hagen ran for 100 yards on 13 carries and had two touchdowns.

He has one game over 200 yards when he rushed for 305 yards on 30 carries and had three touchdowns against Forest City on Sept. 20. He had 196 yards on 27 carries in the Eagles' first game of the season against Garner-Hayfield-Ventura.

Here are his numbers through six games:

Carries: 144

Yards: 957

Touchdowns: 17  

Yards per rush: 6.6

Longest TD run: 36 yards


Riceville's Lawson Losee stays in bounds in a recent game.

Lawson Losee, Riceville

The sophomore running back is pacing the 3-3 Wildcats with 791 yards on 158 carries and has scored 11 touchdowns.

Losee had a big game Friday night at Dunkerton when he carried the ball 43 times for 183 yards and two touchdowns.

Here are his numbers through six games:

Carries: 158

Yards: 791

Touchdowns: 11  

Yards per rush: 5.0

Longest TD run: 62 yards

Cole Kelly, West Hancock

The junior back has been consistent for the Eagles, going over 100 yards in five of six games this season.

Kelly's big game came against Osage at home when he rushed 13 times for 155 yards and four touchdowns for the No. 1 team in Class A.

Here are his numbers through six games:

Carries: 67

Yards: 681

Touchdowns: 11  

Yards per rush: 10.2*

Longest TD run: 64 yards

Jared Shaw, Garner-Hayfield-Ventura

The senior leads the Cardinals' two-back attack with 676 yards in six games, just ahead of junior Joe Pringnitz (500 yards).

Shaw had his best game of the season Friday night in a 34-6 victory at Estherville Lincoln Central, where he ran the ball 23 times and gained 194 yards. He also had three touchdowns for the Cardinals, including a long of 12 yards.

Here are his numbers through six games:

Carries: 122

Yards: 676

Touchdowns: 10  

Yards per rush: 5.5

Longest TD run: 24 yards

Justice Jones, Rockford

After a slow start, the junior running back has caught fire the last three games, compiling 512 yards on 38 carries. In those three games, Jones has nine TDs.

In a loss against Janesville two weeks ago, Jones had a season-high 186 yards on just 13 carries for a 14.3-yards-per-carry average.

Last week, he helped propel the 4-2 Warriors to a 64-20 win at North Iowa, rushing 11 times for 150 yards with three touchdowns.

Here are his numbers through six games:

Carries: 63

Yards: 626

Touchdowns: 13  

Yards per rush: 9.9

Longest TD run: 77 yards

FBall Clear Lake vs. Crestwood 1

Clear Lake junior Jaden O'Brien-Green gives the straight arm to Crestwood senior Logan Albert on Friday in Clear Lake.

Jaden O'Brien-Green, Clear Lake

The junior running back leads the Lions' rushing attack with 604 yards on 68 carries for an 8.9-yards-per-carry average. He has six touchdowns, including a long of 82 yards.

Against Mason City on Sept. 20, O'Brien-Green had a career night, running the ball 15 times for 225 yards and three touchdowns in a rout at home.

Here are his numbers through six games:

Carries: 68

Yards: 604

Touchdowns: 6  

Yards per rush: 8.9

Longest TD run: 82 yards*

Caden Schrage, Northwood-Kensett

The senior running back/quarterback has been a big part of the Vikings' offense this year, running for five touchdowns and throwing for two others.

While Schrage has had only a single 100-yard game, it was a big one. The senior ran for 165 yards on 19 carries and had three TDs in Northwood-Kensett's 40-0 shutout at North Iowa on Sept. 20.

Here are his numbers through six games:

Carries: 81

Yards: 564

Touchdowns: 5  

Yards per rush: 7.0

Longest TD run: 40 yards

Josef Smith, West Hancock

The senior is the third part of the Eagles' three headed running attack, compiling 554 yards in six games this season.

Called a "perfect complement" to West Hancock's other two top rushers – Tate Hagen and Cole Kelly – Smith had a breakout game at Emmetsburg on Sept. 6 when he ran for 168 yards on eight carries for a 21-yards-per-rush average. He also had two touchdowns.

Here are his numbers through six games:

Carries: 64

Yards: 554

Touchdowns: 6  

Yards per rush: 8.7

Longest TD run: 57 yards

Other top North Iowa running backs

Jaace Weidermann, Belmond-Klemme – The senior has 1,308 yards rushing on 165 carries (7.9-yards-per-carry average) with 16 touchdowns, including a long of 77 yards for the 4-2 Broncos.

Wyatt Wegener, Algona – The senior back has 810 yards rushing on 45 carries for an 18.0-yards-per-carry average. He has 14 touchdowns with a long run of 80 yards.


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