The Dallas Center-Grimes Mustangs shut down the Gilbert Tigers 35-0 on Friday, Oct. 20. The Mustangs stay undefeated going into playoffs.
The Tigers were able to hold off the Mustangs until the second quarter where they scored three touchdowns to lead 21-0. The Tigers continued to hold them off until the fourth quarter when the Mustangs scored their last 14 points.
“This game was one that could have been very tough for the kids to get up for,” said coach Scott Heitland, “A lot of excitement last week after the win and lots of talk about what is ahead for this team. So keeping our focus last week was a priority and I think that the guys did a nice job. We had a little bit of a slow start offensively but was extremely happy with the second quarter and the touchdown just before halftime - 21-0 is a whole lot better than 14-0 going into half and we were going to have to kick to start the second half.”
The Mustangs’ quarterback Damon Clapper finished the game with 16 passing attempts and five completions. He had a total of 92 passing yards and threw one touchdown for 53 yards. Clapper ended the game with a 108.3 quarterback rating.
Tanner Epple led the Mustangs in rushing yards. The senior had 113 of the team’s 229 rushing yards from his 18 rushing attempts. Epple also scored two touchdowns, the longest being for seven yards.
Epple’s first touchdown put the Mustangs’ score at 14-0 in the second quarter when he ran the ball seven yards into the end zone. His second touchdown was for just four yards in the fourth quarter.
Sophomore Luke Fistler was also a leader of rushing yards for the Mustangs. Fistler had nine attempts for 43 yards and scored one touchdown for three yards.
Fistler scored the Mustangs’ final touchdown of the night against the Tigers. After the extra point, Fistler’s three-yard run put the score at 35-0.
The Mustangs’ last two touchdowns were scored by receiver Thomas Erickson. Erickson had three receptions for 73 yards.
Erickson started the game with a 53-yard reception from Clapper for the first touchdown of the second quarter. This was Erickson’s longest touchdown of the game. His second touchdown ended the half after another reception from Clapper for 20 yards.
Kicker Austin James made all five of the Mustangs’ PATs.
Brady Simmons, Trent Carpenter and Coty Lemon led the Mustangs in tackles. Simmons had nine solo tackles and one tackle assist against the Tigers. He also had three tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks.
Carpenter finished the night with seven solo tackles and two assists as well as one sack. Lemon had five solo tackles and four tackles assists as well as one tackle for loss. Lemon led the Mustangs with 2.5 sacks against the Tigers.
The Mustangs won the game 35-0 to end the regular season with a perfect 9-0 record.
“We just finished the first undefeated season in 20 years and only the third one in school history,” Heitland said. “A great accomplishment for these kids and a direct reflection to the hard work that these seniors have put in over the last two years. Their commitment over the last 12 months was as good as any group I have ever had here. What I hope our young kids noticed about this group was the large number of guys who stuck it out for four years and then played a big role for us this fall. When they didn’t play as sophomores or juniors they didn’t quit - they kept working away and were rewarded this fall with a big role in a big season.”
The Mustangs will play the first round of playoffs at home against Carlisle on Friday, Oct. 27 at 7 p.m.
“Carlisle is an excellent football team; 8-1 on the year and their only loss is to Pella - who we know very well how good they are,” Heitland said. “Excited to be playing at home - our communities have been such a great source of support for us this year. They have shown up in huge numbers for home games this year and I know that they will come out this week and pack that stadium another time.”