The Dallas Center-Grimes Mustangs fell just one game short of the UNI Dome after a loss on Friday night (Nov. 3). The Mustangs took on the Pella Dutch for the second time this season and, unlike the first game, they fell 35-18.
The Mustangs beat the Dutch in week two to break their 42-game winning streak, but were their only loss of the season. The Dutch ended the Mustangs season, but were also their only loss of the year.
The Mustangs started out the game strong. Just two minutes in, Daly Jarnigan made a 20-yard run for the end zone after intercepting a pass. With the six points on the board, kicker Austin James went for the extra point to put the score at 7-0.
Unfortunately, the Dutch scored on the next possession. Avery Van Zee caught a 66-yard pass, just 20 seconds after the Mustangs’ touchdown. Kaden Miedema tied up the score with his PAT.
The first quarter went on, and the Mustangs were finally able to carry the ball back down the field after Tyler Cooney intercepted another pass.
With two minutes left in the quarter, Mustang quarterback Damon Clapper carried the ball 30 yards.
After a couple plays, the Mustangs found themselves at the four-yard line, but this was all the closer they got to the end zone. After a pass interference penalty, the Mustangs were forced back to the 19-yard line.
Clapper tried passing the ball, but the pass fell incomplete and the Mustangs had to go for a field goal. James successfully made the 36-yard field goal, putting the Mustangs ahead 10-7, with 20 seconds left in the quarter.
The Dutch started with the ball in the second quarter. With 9:33 left in the half, Reece Schnell ran the ball in for the Dutch. Another PAT and the Dutch led 14-10.
The Dutch to stayed ahead the rest of the half as the possession kept switching.
“The game could not have started any better for us, second play of the game to get a pick six really kick starts things for you,” said coach Scott Heitland. “However, Pella did a nice job of coming right back to score on their next possession to get it back to 7-7.”
“First half was kinda what we expected,” Heitland said, “two good teams trading shots with each other. I think that the 14-10 score was indicative of that.”
The third quarter was rough for the Mustangs. In the first minute, the Dutch scored twice.
With a 32-yard catch, Van Zee had the first touchdown of the quarter. With 11:04 left in the third quarter, the Dutch were up 21-10.
The Mustangs fumbled on the return and the Dutch recovered the ball.
With a two-yard run, Schnell scored the second touchdown. With 10:50 still left in the third quarter, the Dutch led 28-10.
The Mustangs just couldn’t catch a break in the third quarter.
The Dutch made it back down to their side of the field, but fumbled just one yard before the end zone. The ball went out-of-bounds though and the Dutch got the ball back.
Schnell scored on the next play and Miedema had the PAT. The Dutch led 35-10 at the end of the third quarter.
“Obviously the first five minutes of the second half put us in a tough hole to climb out of,” Heitland said. “The big kickoff, quick score and then the fumble on the ensuing kickoff - those are things that you just can’t have in a post-season against any team.”
The Mustangs weren’t successful until there was three and a half minutes left in the game.
Gabe Jorgensen recovered a Dutch fumble to gain possession for the Mustangs.
Garrett Skalnik had two receptions to get the Mustangs down to the four-yard line. With 1:46 left in the game, Tanner Epple ran the ball three yards for the second touchdown of the night.
After Epple’s touchdown, the Mustangs went for a two-point conversion. Clapper sent a pass to Skalnik in the end zone for the two points. The game ended 35-18.
“Overall, very proud of the kids and how they fought hard throughout the game,” Heitland said. “It was a physical game, one of the more physical games we have played in this season. Kids did a great job during the week in their preparation, we just didn’t make as many plays as Pella did tonight, credit to them.”
The Mustangs’ loss to the Dutch ended their season. They finished the season with a 10-1 record.
“So proud of our players, the coaching staff and their efforts this season,” Heitland said. “This group of seniors came in during the off-season and made it very clear that they wanted to be back on top of the district standings this season and get back to the playoffs. Everything that they did was directed to that one goal… You hear coaches talk about kids not caring who gets the credit and these guys were a great example of that. They just loved playing with one another and always kept the team goals first. When you get a group of leaders that are willing to do that, great things can be achieved; this group proved that.”