Dutch down Midgets in district opener
After battling to a 7-7 game after one half of play, the second half was nearly all Dutch as MOC-Floyd Valley defeated Estherville Lincoln Central 23-13 in the Class 3A District 1 opener on Friday.
The visitors used a clock-eating opening drive to start the second half which ended on a 1-yard quarterback sneak by Davis Bloemendaal at the 5:19 mark.
“They made some big third down conversions in that series,” said ELC coach Chuck Fandel. “They came out and did what you home a team does when they get the all first in the second half.
“But our defense also has to rise to the occasion,” he said.
ELC appeared ready to answer right back as Marcus Christensen returned the kickoff to midfield.
But after driving inside the 30-yard line, Alex Arends fumbled the snap on a third-and-one and Jake Lange was stopped on fourth-and-two as ELC turned the ball over on downs.
The Midgets’ defense stopped the Dutch on their next drive, and fortune appeared headed their way when the snap on the punt went over Bloemendaal’s head.
However, he went back and grabbed the ball and then found room down the sideline to get a first down.
“The kids on the punt team got excited and the linebackers didn’t read that well,” said Fandel.
The coach said the game didn’t hinge on that play as there were several other opportunities, especially in the first half, that the Midgets had.
The Dutch started the fourth-quarter with a 22-yard pass and eventually scored on a 21-yard pass from Bloemendaal to A.J. Roetmann to go up 21-7 with 8:42 remaining in the game.
The Midgets started their drive at their own 20. They caught a break when Arends’ pass was intercepted, but then fumbled by the Dutch.
ELC took advantage of that new life. A pass from Arends to Spencer Johnson took ELC to the Dutch 29. That was followed by a screen pass to Jake Lange that put ELC on the 3-yard line.
Marcus Christensen polished off the drive on a 3-yard run. Although ELC missed the extra point, the Midgets were still behind by just one score with 5:10 remaining.
However, the Dutch ate up the clock before a punt that pinned ELC at its 1-yard line. Arends was sacked in the endzone on first down giving the Dutch a safety for the final scoring of the game.
In the first half, both teams scored in the first quarter.
After ELC went three and out, the Dutch drove into ELc territory with Bloemendaal connecting with Nolan Blythe on a 24-yard pass.
Nate Jensen returned the ensuing kickoff to the ELC 42 and a nine-yard run by Lange took the ball across midfield.
ELC continued to drive until Arends’ pass was intercepted at the Dutch 13.
Despite starting just inside Dutch territory on its next drive, ELC didn’t appear to be going anywhere.
But on third-and-13, Jeremy Hunt got behind the Dutch defense and Arends connected with him on a 47-yard scoring strike. Matt Brown’s kick tied the game at 7-7.
In the second quarter, neither team could sustain a drive.
ELC twice drove deep into Dutch territory-the last time right before halftime-only to be turned away.
Both teams were relatively equal in total yards with the Dutch leading 283 to 276-.
Arends was 12-of-21 passing for 276 yards, two interceptions and a touchdown.
Bloemendaal was 8-of-16 for 283 yards154 yards.
ELC (1-2, 0-1) will play a Saturday game next week against Bishop Heelan at Morningside Stadium in Sioux City. The game starts at 7:30 p.m.