Miller ties 4A mark with 7 TDs, has school-best 407 yards in 56-0 rout
The Fort Dodge football team readily admits their confidence was shaken a little by last week’s lopsided loss at Cedar Falls.
With that being said, the Dodgers also insist the foundation of their program remains as sturdy as ever. And on Friday, they quickly calmed those waters for all to see.
Head coach Matt Miller’s squad put on a passing clinic against Sioux City North in their home opener last night, posting a 56-0 victory that settled the nerves of the players, coaches, and anxious fans who were hoping what happened in the UNI-Dome was more of an aberration than any sort of indication.
Junior quarterback Drake Miller tied a Class 4A single-game state record with seven touchdown passes, and set a new school mark with 407 total yards through the air as the Dodgers (1-1 overall) used what seemed to be an endless array of receivers to overwhelm the Stars (0-2). Six different players caught throws from Miller, and five of them hit paydirt.
”It felt good to get back out there, in front of an awesome crowd, on our home field, and let loose a little,” said Miller, who completed 15 of his 21 throws and only saw the field for one drive in the second half. ”The offensive line was great; I had plenty of time in the pocket make (the reads and throws). And I just have to get it in the hands of our receivers. I know they’ll do the rest.
”(Assistant) Coach (Nik) Moser told us on Thursday that we don’t just have a chip on our shoulder. It’s a crack. This was a tough, long week, but at the same time, we practiced really well and couldn’t wait to prove (the doubters) wrong. I’ll be the first to say that we took (the Week 1 performance) to heart.”
It took less than five minutes for Fort Dodge to get on the scoreboard, and by the end of the first quarter, the Dodgers had produced four touchdowns in as many drives. FDSH led 49-0 at halftime, with Miller already throwing for a record 378 yards and six scores — three to Trey Mosley, one to Tyrnan Lara, one to Kaleb Jondle, and one to Anthony Wagner.
Sam Edwards had been the program’s single-game passing champ, with a 354-yard performance at Des Moines East in 2011. Miller’s seven TDs matched the 4A mark set by Brock Larsen of Des Moines Hoover (2014) and Blake Gimbel of Marshalltown (2012).
”I’m proud of the guys who stepped up and made plays in spots and roles that they weren’t really used to,” said Mosley, who finished with 157 yards and three TDs on only four receptions. ”We went through a lot over the last week. It was important to come out with a lot of emotion (Friday) and keep that energy level up.
”But this is just one game, just like (Cedar Falls) was just one game. We have a long way to go, and we have to keep getting better and playing together with a sense of urgency.”
Coach Miller had a feeling his Dodgers would respond, but admitted, ”you never know in football. Nothing is guaranteed.”
”I guess more than anything else, it was nice to see our guys put the time and work in to prepare for this week, then get rewarded for their efforts,” Miller said. ”Pride was in play here, and I really liked how our team responded to the adversity. They demanded a lot from each other, and we all held each other accountable — coaches and players alike.
”This is a family. We lose as a family. We win as a family. We’re going to do it together, and I’m taking my boys with me no matter what.”
Freshman tailback Dayson Clayton added 60 yards and a score on the ground. Sophomore split end Tysen Kershaw had the other touchdown on a short strike in the third period, while the continuous clock rule was in effect.
Jondle had three receptions for 87 yards, with Kershaw (65) and Lara (62) balancing out the aerial attack as well. Mosley’s TDs covered 54, 36 and 63 yards.
”Drake had a great night, but his teammates made it possible,” Miller said. ”The line got better; we saw a lot of pressure coming at us, and they put seven guys in the box, but they didn’t get to him much.
”We have a lot of playmakers who can really spread our offense out and make us tough to stop in the open field. There’s a lot of versatility (at receiver) on our roster.”
Defensively, the Dodgers rallied in similar fashion. North had only 192 yards of total offense in getting blanked by Fort Dodge for a second consecutive season.
Junior Mason Bodholdt recovered a fumble, while Luke Jacobson, Triston Licht, Alec Crimmins, Bryer Nelson and Shane Halligan all recorded sacks.
”We made positive strides defensively,” Miller said. ”A lot of different guys did their job and contributed, which is what it’s going to take.
”I want to specifically mention (back-up junior linebacker) Hunter Alexander. He’s what being a Dodger is all about. He may be undersized (155 pounds), but he gives everything he has to this program every single day. It was great to see him make the most of his time out there on the field.”
Now Fort Dodge turns its attention to Mason City. The Dodgers have defeated the Mohawks 13 consecutive times since 2004, and retained the Decker Sporting Goods trophy every year since its inception in ’05
”It’s Mason City week,” Drake Miller said. ”Nothing gets us more fired up than hearing those words. We’ll be focused and ready to go. We always look forward to that challenge. Every game is important, but (like usual), this one will have added meaning.”
In a score of note, Cedar Falls pummelled Ames last night, 65-7. The Tigers scored 58 first-half points in improving to 2-0.
FD SCN First downs 16 12
Rushes-yards 20-103 39-128
Passing yards 412 64
Comp-Att-Int 16-23-0 5-16-0
Total offense 515 192
Punts-Avg. 2-27.5 5-36.5
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 2-1
Penalties-Yards 7-60 4-55
Fort Dodge 29 20 7 0–56
SC North 0 0 0 0– 0
Fort Dodge — Trey Mosley (54-yard pass from Drake Miller), 10:32 left first quarter. Kick failed.
Fort Dodge — Kaleb Jondle (18-yard pass from Miller), 9:24 left first. Mosley run.
Fort Dodge — Dayson Clayton (5-yard run), 5:02 left first. Ben Nebel kick.
Fort Dodge — Tyrnan Lara (11-yard pass from Miller), 2:31 left first. Lara pass from Miller.
Fort Dodge — Mosley (36-yard pass from Miller), 11:54 left second. Nebel kick.
Fort Dodge — Anthony Wagner (36-yard pass from Miller), 8:21 left second. Kick failed.
Fort Dodge — Mosley (63-yard pass from Miller), 6:47 left second. Nebel kick.
Fort Dodge — Tysen Kershaw (5-yard pass from Miller), 5:00 left third. Nebel kick.
RUSHING — Fort Dodge: Dayson Clayton 10-60, Nick Corey 3-25, Savion Poe 4-9, Drake Miller 3-9. SC North: Jayse Martinek 12-103, Noah Bootsma 5-15, Devonta Cobbs 17-13, Hunter Krommenhoek 1-2, Quintin Krusemark 3-(minus-2), Matt Hagan 1-(minus-3).
PASSING — Fort Dodge: Drake Miller 15-21-0-407; Asle Thorson 1-2-0-5. SC North: Quintin Krusemark 2-6-0-43; Devonta Cobbs 3-9-0-21; Matt Hagan 0-0-0-0.
RECEIVING — Fort Dodge: Trey Mosley 4-157, Kaleb Jondle 3-87, Tysen Kershaw 3-65, Tyrnan Lara 4-62, Anthony Wagner 1-36, Dartayvious Diekman 1-5. SC North: Devonta Cobbs 2-43, Jayse Martinek 2-19, Noah Bootsma 1-2.