BUFFALO CENTER - At some point the dark cloud is bound to float away.
The question John Seiser wants answered is quite simple: When?
With starting guard Trevor Carlson out of the lineup after breaking his arm in practice earlier in the week, Northeast Hamilton was down to 14 bodies in uniform on Friday when it faced another juggernaut in
once-beaten North Iowa.
The Bison (5-1, 3-1) utilized physically bruising running back Frank Campos to score three touchdowns and send the Trojans (1-5, 0-4) to their fifth consecutive defeat, 41-12.
Seiser, Northeast Hamilton's longtime head coach, was encouraged by his team's performance despite the score.
Northeast Hamilton 6 0 0 6-12
North Iowa13 22 6 0-41
NI - Frank Campos 9 run (Troy Kettwick kick), 5:59.
NEH - Austin Smith 14 pass from Logan Seiser (run failed), 4:13.
NI - Mark Milbrandt 34 pass from Eric Krull (kick failed), 3:15.
NI - Campos 10 run (Milbrandt pass from Krull), 11:26.
NI - Kettwick 26 pass from Krull (Kettwick kick), 8:51.
NI - Krull 22 run (Kettwick kick), 3:14.
NI - Campos 2 run (kick failed), 8:26.
NEH - Tyler Smith 13 run, 0:08.
Rushing - NEH: Tyler Smith 35-123, Gabe Rapp 7-35, Logan Seiser 1-2. NI: Frank Campos 19-121.
Passing - NEH: Seiser 2-7-2 37, T. Smith 1-4-0 47. NI: Eric Krull 12-14-0 205.
Receiving - NEH: Austin Smith 2-37, Seiser 1-47. NI: Mark Milbrandt 5-124, Troy Kettwick 4-71.
Tackles - NEH: T. Smith 10, A. Smith 7, Mark Frohwein 6, Noah Ronnfeldt 5, Rapp 5, Seiser 5, Tristin Knudsen 4.
"It sounds crazy, but I thought we played one of our better games of the year," he said. "We played pretty physical and we moved the ball at times and we're making strides, it just doesn't show because of the teams we're playing right now."
North Iowa's lone loss this season came to top-ranked and District 2 leader Newell-Fonda, 34-20, during Week 3.
Campos rumbled for 121 yards on 19 carries and reached the end zone on runs of 9, 10 and 2 yards.
Bison quarterback Eric Krull provided the dagger late in the first quarter and throughout the second quarter with a pair of touchdown passes and a scoring run - part of a 28-point spurt that pushed North Iowa to a commanding 35-6 advantage.
Krull hooked up with Mark Milbrandt for a 34-yard touchdown late in the first quarter, backed it up with a 26-yard scoring toss to Troy Kettwick with 8:51 remaining in the first half, and then broke off a 22-yard scramble to the house with 3:14 left in the half.
Krull completed 12 of 14 passes for 205 yards in the contest.
"With our defense, it's a physical thing right now," Seiser said. "It's not for a lack of effort, but it seems like every team we play has a big, physical back and we're just getting run over.
"We came up and hit (Campos) hard at times, but there were other times where we just bounced off him, too."
NEH tied the Bison at 6-6 midway through the first quarter on a 14-yard touchdown pass from Logan Seiser to Austin Smith, but the Trojans didn't score again until just 8 seconds remained in regulation.
Tyler Smith tacked on the Trojans' second touchdown on a 13-yard jaunt. The junior tailback piled up 35 carries and gained 123 tough yards. He also completed a 47-yard pass to Logan Seiser.
Gabe Rapp added 35 ground yards. Logan Seiser completed 2 of 7 passes - both to Austin Smith - that covered 37 yards, but he was intercepted twice.
Tyler Smith had a team-high 10 tackles. Austin Smith finished with seven.
NEH faces another daunting task this Friday when it hosts previously ranked Laurens-Marathon (5-1, 3-1). North Iowa and Laurens-Marathon are currently tied for second in the district standings behind Newell-Fonda.