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WAVERLY — Decorah was in trouble.

Big trouble.

Down 14 points on the road against unbeaten and Class 3A No. 7 Waverly-Shell Rock, the Vikings needed a spark.

And they found a big one Friday night.

Decorah’s Kailer McCabe returned a kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown and his team was off and running en route to a 30-14 football win in a district opener.

It was the first of three touchdowns for McCabe, who also scored on a 41-yard reception and a 1-yard run.

The Vikings scored 20 second-quarter points before adding the game’s final 10 points in the second half.

Decorah, which has played a brutal early schedule, improved to 3-2 overall.

“The kickoff return was huge – it obviously was a very big play,” first-year Decorah coach Pat Trewin said. “High school football is such a game of momentum. We needed something big to happen and Kailer and our team really got after it. We hit some big plays — we hadn’t done that all year.”

The Go-Hawks fell for the first time in five games heading into another tough game next week. Waverly-Shell Rock plays at West Delaware, the team that defeated them in the playoffs last season.

“We’ve got a good football team and we’re going to regroup,” Waverly-Shell Rock coach Mark Hubbard said. “We have a few things we need to clean up and most of the things we’ve struggled with we know we can fix. Our kids are resilient and we will bounce back.”

Waverly-Shell Rock took charge early in the battle of long-time rivals before the Vikings struck for 20 unanswered points in the second quarter to grab the halftime lead.

Right after Waverly-Shell Rock went up 14-0, McCabe caught the ensuing kickoff near the goal line and charged up the sideline for his long touchdown.

“We knew they had a great kicking game and kick returns, and it showed tonight,” Hubbard said. “They played on a short field the whole night. Field position was a huge factor in this football game.”

Decorah’s Drake Shelton followed with a two-yard scoring run before McCabe hauled in a pinpoint scoring pass from quarterback Jace Johnson.

The Go-Hawks opened the scoring when quarterback Luke Velky fooled everyone with a nifty ball fake and dashed 31 yards untouched for a touchdown. Carter Langreck added a two-yard scoring run to put Waverly-Shell Rock up 14-0.

“Their quarterback is a very dangerous runner and he showed that right away on that first touchdown,” Trewin said. “We did a great job making adjustments to try and contain him. We made a change with our alignment and our linebackers were able to see the play. The kids really adjusted well to their speed and did a great job on defense.”

Said Hubbard: “Hats off to them and their defense. They did a great job.”

McCabe finished with 227 all-purpose yards while the speedy Shelton collected 140 yards rushing.

Ben Hemer rushed for 124 yards for the Go-Hawks.

Starting district play with a big road win put a smile on Trewin’s face.

“We knew this was a very important game on our schedule — it always is,” he said. “We knew Waverly was one of the top teams in the league and it’s always a huge rivalry game. We knew if we are going to win the district we need to beat Waverly in this kind of a game. We have other tough ballgames coming, we just have to be steady and consistent.

“Our kids showed up to play tonight.”

Decorah 30, Waverly-S.R. 14

Decorah 0 20 0 10 — 30

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Waverly-S.R. 7 7 0 0 — 14

WSR – Luke Velky 31 run (Dawson Bathke kick)

WSR – Carter Langreck 2 run (Bathke kick)

Dec – Kailer McCabe 98 kickoff return (Cameron DeLong kick)

Dec – Drake Shelton 2 run (kick failed)

Dec – McCabe 41 pass from Jace Johnson (DeLong kick)

Dec – FG DeLong 37

Dec – McCabe 1 run (DeLong kick)

TEAM STATISTICS

Dec. W-SR

First downs 17 9

Rushes-yards 43-215 34-192

Passing yards 98 55

Comp-att-int 7-10-0 5-14-0

Punts-avg. 3-29.7 7-30.4

Fumbles-lost 0-0 1-0

Penalties-yards 2-12 3-20

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

Rushing

DECORAH — Shelton 21-140, McCabe 10-35, Johnson 5-26, Johansen 5-16.

WAVERLY-SHELL ROCK — Hemer 21-124, Velky 9-53, Heise 2-10, Langreck 2-5.

Passing

DECORAH — Johnson 7-10-0, 98 yards.

WAVERLY-SHELL ROCK — Velky 5-14-0, 55 yards.

Receiving

DECORAH — McCabe 4-77, Franzen 1-15, Solberg 1-9, Cowie 1-minus 3.

WAVERLY-SHELL ROCK — McNally 1-34, Langreck 1-11, Newsom 1-11, Heise 1-0, Hemer 1-minus 1.

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