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Roosevelt takes ranked slugfest

DES MOINES — The mood in the Fort Dodge football lockerroom has gone from frustrated a week ago to furious after Friday’s 16-14 loss to Des Moines Roosevelt.

In order to right the ship, the suddenly-distraught Dodgers know they need to take a long look in the mirror and decide for themselves how they want the rest of the regular season to go.

Five turnovers and 95 penalty yards again made head coach Matt Miller’s squad its own worst enemy, as No. 8 Fort Dodge (4-2 overall, 0-2 in Class 4A, District 2) dropped its second consecutive game by a field goal or less last night inside Drake Stadium. And in a sport dominated by those inches, Miller knows the self-inflicted wounds have been simply too much to overcome against back-to-back ranked opponents.

“We’re a better team than this,” Miller said emphatically. “But you know what? That doesn’t mean anything if we’re going to keep making the kind of mistakes we’ve been making the last few weeks. You turn the ball over like that and you (accrue) those penalty yards, and you’re going to come up short. That’s the way this game works.

“You have to do the little things right in football or you won’t be as successful as you should be. It’s up to us to start taking that a lot more seriously and figuring out how to win the battle for those inches before it’s too late.”

The ninth-rated Roughriders improved to 5-1 under new head coach Mitchell Moore, finding a way despite only accumulating 247 yards of offense, 11 first downs, and turning the ball over three times themselves. Diminutive junior tailback Jaden Koger used four big runs to spearhead his 28-carry, 179-yard performance, which was just enough against a Dodger defense that was otherwise brilliant again.

“He broke a few (Koger had bursts of 49, 25, 24 and 18 yards, but found daylight for only 63 yards on his other 24 attempts), yes. Our defense, though, was lights out. They did their part again. You give up only 16 points at the 4A level against the top-ranked scoring offense in 4A – you have to find a way to win.”

The Dodgers’ final four drives ended without a point, despite reaching Roughrider territory three times. Fort Dodge had a punt, a fumble and two interceptions in the fourth quarter alone.

The back breaker was a Roosevelt interception at the 1-yard line with a little over three minutes left in regulation. The Roughriders then broke loose for a 39-yard run on the next snap to all but end it, and a 24-yard run by Koger on 3rd-and-5 sealed the deal and allowed Roosevelt to bleed the rest of the clock.

Fort Dodge struck first when senior receiver Nick Bice made an incredible 19-yard catch on 3rd-and-12 down to the 1-yard line, setting up a short Asle Thorson TD on a quarterback keeper. The Roughriders struck back almost immediately, though, with a score of their own a little over a minute later.

It stayed 7-7 until midway through the second quarter, when Roosevelt pinned the Dodgers back with a punt to the 1-yard line and recorded a safety on an errant snap two plays later. Fort Dodge wound up chasing those two points the rest of the way.

The Dodgers did retake the lead at 14-9 when Brycen Bell hauled in a 15-yard TD pass from Thorson, but again, the advantage was short-lived. As they did the first time, the Riders found the end zone themselves a little over a minute later, gaining the upper-hand for good this time in the final minute of the third period.

Bell and Shane Halligan recovered fumbles, while senior linebacker Austin Lee intercepted a pass in the fourth period that appeared to set FDSH up for a golden opportunity in Roosevelt territory.

Senior Tyler Nichols recorded a sack.

Senior Russell Potratz had his second consecutive productive week, with four catches for 59 yards. Junior Dayson Clayton (19 carries for 86 yards) and sophomore Jon Presswood (4 for 45) combined for 131 yards on the ground.

The offense produced a season-low 275 yards, though, sputtering against an active, athletic Rider defense.

“We have to get things shored up offensively,” Miller said. “That’s pretty obvious at this point. We don’t have the kind of team that can just line Dayson up and run him 30 times right at (the opposing defense). It’s a matter of better execution and decision making, especially against these tougher defenses who are going to force your hand.

“Good teams figure it out. They don’t point fingers or make excuses. They work their way through it. We’re a play here and there from being 6-0, but the reality is, we’re 4-2 and have to get things right in our own camp first and foremost.”

The road doesn’t get any easier for Fort Dodge on Friday, as the Dodgers visit No. 4 Ankeny Centennial. The Jaguars (5-1) escaped sixth-rated Southeast Polk on a last-second field goal last night, 20-17.

FD DMR

First Downs 14 11

Rushes-Yards 33-149 38-195

Passing 12-22-4 9-16-1

Passing Yards 126 52

Total Offense 275 247

Punts-Avg. 5-36.0 5-39.0

Fumbles-Lost 3-1 4-2

Penalties-Yards 10-95 7-55

Fort Dodge 7 0 7 0 — 14

Roosevelt 7 2 7 0 — 16

Scoring Summary

Fort Dodge — Asle Thorson (1-yard run), 1:18 left first quarter. Gavin Schillerstrom kick.

Roosevelt — Jaden Koger (18-yard run), 0:00 left first. Arvin Garcia kick.

Roosevelt — Safety (Asle Thorson tackled in the end zone), 7:56 left second.

Fort Dodge — Brycen Bell (15-yard pass from Thorson), 2:19 left third. Schillerstrom kick.

Roosevelt — Antonio Alzheimer (1-yard run), 0:57 left third. Garcia kick.

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

Rushing — Fort Dodge: Dayson Clayton 19-86, Jon Presswood 4-45, Asle Thorson 10-18. Roosevelt: Jaden Koger 28-179, Antonio Alzheimer 4-36, George Runkel 3-6, Garrett Hutchison 3-(minus-24).

Passing — Fort Dodge: Asle Thorson 12-22-4-126. Roosevelt: Hutchison 9-16-1-52.

Receiving — Fort Dodge: Russell Potratz 4-59, Nick Bice 3-34, Brycen Bell 2-15, Tysen Kershaw 2-13, Tyler Schreier 1-4, Jake Erickson 1-1. Roosevelt: Jayden Singelton 1-21, Clarence Williams 1-12, Treyjahn Manning 2-10, Jaden Koger 3-8, Trey Guerrero 2-1.