Dodgers don’t let up vs. North

SIOUX CITY – For the second consecutive week, Fort Dodge’s defense played with a winning swagger.

This time, it led to the program’s first victory of 2016.

The Dodgers silenced Sioux City North on the Stars’ home field here Thursday, pitching a 16-0 shutout on the campus of Morningside College.

The FDSH ‘D’ was a pleasant surprise for head coach Matt Miller last Friday in a home loss to Cedar Falls. The momentum from that effort carried over and then some on a beautiful evening inside Olsen Stadium.

“The defense stepped up big again,” Miller said. “They were flying to the ball and brought a real attitude. So far, I’d say they are the identity of this team.

“I like what I’m seeing. There’s nothing better (as a coaching staff) than watching an intense, hard-hitting defensive performance.”

North (1-1 overall) managed just 206 yards of total offense, and didn’t dent the scoreboard less than a week after a season-opening 27-13 triumph over Sioux City West. The Stars had only five plays go for over 10 yards, and they were stopped on downs four times in the red zone – including twice in goal-to-go situations.

“We were bending a little out there, but when it came time to make a play, someone made a play,” Miller said. “Every time they started knocking, we shut the door.”

Meanwhile, Fort Dodge’s offense did enough. The Dodgers finally found creases in their ground game, with junior Savion Poe accumulating a career-high 93 yards on 25 carries. Six days after finishing with negative rushing yardage, FDSH went over the century mark.

Sophomore quarterback Drake Miller completed 15 of 25 passes for 153 yards and two scores. The southpaw didn’t turn the ball over for a second consecutive week, and has now compiled the most completions (40) through two games to begin a career in school history.

Juniors Trey Mosley and Tyrnan Lara caught Miller’s touchdown strikes in the first and second quarters, respectively. Mosley finished with 7 receptions for 78 yards; senior Jonathan Bowser hauled in seven balls for a second straight week as well, adding 69 more receiving yards.

“The offense looked good at times, and a little ragged in spots,” Miller said. “But they didn’t turn the ball over, which is always big on the road.

“Drake’s decision-making was solid and what we needed. It was great getting Savion going. Jonny and Tyrnan made some big catches. And it’s good to have Trey back; he adds a different dimension to our gameplan, that’s for sure.”

Senior linebacker Colin Leonard intercepted a pass tipped by junior Cayd Lara. Junior Dakota Stenzel registered a pair of sacks, and sophomore Triston Licht and Lara picked up one sack each as well.

Eleven North plays were stopped behind the line of scrimmage.

“We’ve got some wrestlers in particular really getting after it defensively,” Miller said. “It’s great to see that mentality. Some of them are a little undersized, but they won’t back down.

“Cayd Lara’s becoming a real leader out there. He’s a prototypical Dodger football player.”

Stars’ senior quarterback Alex Tillo, who racked up nearly 200 yards of total offense and three TDs last Friday, threw for just 37 and was held to 100 cumulative yards. He got knocked out of the contest in the third quarter and did not return.

North’s final two drives ended without points in goal-to-go opportunities.

Senior kicker A.J. Ruge nailed a 23-yard field goal for the only second-half points with 3:32 left in the third period.

Fort Dodge didn’t surrender a first-half point for the second consecutive game.

“We needed to take a step forward and show improvement from Week 1 to Week 2, and we did that,” Miller said. “We got a little banged up. We’re limping around. But we’ll rest up, take the extra day, and get ready for Mason City.”

FDSH and the Mohawks meet a week from tonight inside Dodger Stadium at 7:30 p.m.