An overall improved performance was not enough to claim victory Friday night for the Dallas Center-Grimes football team in a non district loss to Norwalk.
The Mustangs recorded their first points of the 2018 season but did not have enough to hold back the Warriors, falling 34-14.
It was the ground and pound game that Norwalk utilized successfully to not only eat up yards, but to eat up clock as well. Out of the 48 minutes of regulation, the Warriors had the ball for over 30 minutes combined while running a total of 68 plays compared to 44 from DC-G.
Really it was a tale of two halves for the Mustangs who scored all of their 14 points in the first half. Norwalk opened up the scoring in the first quarter at the 6:38 mark thanks to a touchdown run by Max Sutcliff, part of a 28 carry, 166 yard performance on the ground for the Warrior quarterback. The resilient Mustang football squad answered back with just two minutes left in the first quarter as Garrett Morris connected on his first of two passing touchdowns of the season and Isacc Boley’s first catch of the game on a 50 yard aerial score.
The Mustangs would collect their first ever lead of the 2018 season on a 23 yard pitch and catch with Bryce Jermeir to bring the score in favor of DC-G 14-7 with just over five minutes left in the half. A big moment defensively came after the offense fumbled the ball on their own 44 yard line and Norwak drove to within 15 yards of the end-zone. Even with their backs against the wall, the Mustang defense managed to hold off the Warrior offensive attack and hold Norwalk scoreless, sending both teams into the halftime break all tied up at 14-14.
Unfortunately from there, the second half was not so kind to the hometown Mustang squad who watched the Warriors post up 20 second half points while DC-G was held scoreless. Two of those scores came in the third quarter to boost their lead to 28-14 and after DC-G failed to capitalize near the end zone, Norwalk marched in the final score of the game with six points.
Even with the improved play in week two, the loss brought up a lot of things needing to be addressed by Mustang head coach Scott Heitland.
“We didn’t execute very well tackling tonight,” said Heitland. “We need to stop getting in our own way and we were our own worst enemy tonight. We need to make sure to do the little things right and right now we’re not doing that as best we can.”
The visiting Warriors utilized their running game to near perfection as they gashed the Mustangs for 280 rushing yards, meanwhile the air attack pitched in for 159 yards for a combined grand total of 439 yards of offense. Another thing that hurt the Mustangs came in the form of four DC-G turnovers, two interceptions and two fumbles, one of which directly resulted in a Norwalk touchdown. Norwalk totaled 25 total first downs, 16 of which came on the ground while the Warriors collected eight first downs through the air.
As for the Mustangs themselves, they totaled 205 yards on 44 plays. Luke Fistler had another near 100 yard rushing attack as he ended the night with 88 rushing yards on 15 carries. In total, the Mustangs collected 95 rushing yards on a team through 30 attempts.
There was a lot of improvement shown offensively, and a bulk of it came in the passing game where the Mustangs increased from 70 yards through the air in week one to 110 passing yards in week two Friday night. Garrett Morris was part of the offensive turnaround going 6-for-14 passing for 110 yards and a completion percentage of 42.9 percent. Morris did complete two touchdown passes but also tossed two interceptions in the process.
“In my mind, Garrett took a step forward today,” began Heitland. “He managed the offense pretty well and was able to spark some strong offensive performances.”
One of those performances that Garrett helped to improve had to deal with Bryce Jermier who hauled in three receptions for 50 yards and a touchdown.
The Mustangs unfortunately begin their season 0-2 but will keep their heads high for a week three win as they travel to Huxley to take on the Ballard Bombers, beginning at 7:30 .