Dodgers push No. 2 J-Hawks to the limit
URBANDALE — The Fort Dodge football team brought the fight to second-ranked (Class 4A) Urbandale on the J-Hawks’ home turf here on Friday.
Most would assume head coach Nik Moser’s Dodgers walked away from Frerichs Field satisfied with their performance despite ultimately bowing out by a 42-28 final. After all, Fort Dodge — ravaged by injuries and turnovers — trailed by just seven points and had the ball in its possession with less than five minutes remaining in regulation.
A moral victory? Any level of satisfaction after throwing a serious scare into undefeated Urbandale on the No. 2 J-Hawks’ Homecoming night?
“We came here to win,” Moser said. “So it hurts. A lot. I heard people outside of our camp saying, ‘if you can just keep it close…’ or ‘if you find a way to be competitive against them…’ No offense — I know they mean well — but our guys weren’t looking for a pat on the back for a job well done. They wanted this game, and for a while there in the fourth quarter, they were believing — and had a lot of others believing — it could be done.”
The resilient Dodgers (3-2 overall) scratched and clawed their way back from an 18-point deficit, thanks to relentless junior quarterback Carson Peterson, playmaking receivers Javion Jondle and Tyler Schreier, and a defense that set the tone all evening long against the highly-touted J-Hawks (5-0).
Ultimately, six turnovers and injuries to a flurry of other players — who joined already-sidelined senior co-captains Dayson Clayton and Sawyer Springer on the shelf — were simply too much to overcome.
“Our defense was physical in ways they hadn’t been so far this year,” Moser said. “I think they keep getting better and better. They were flying to the ball. Our linebackers hit hard. The defensive backs were everywhere. The line applied pressure.
“If the D can play at that level the rest of the way, we’ll be right there. They kept us in it and put us in position, so that when we were finally able to string some drives together offensively, we still had a chance.”
Urbandale managed only 310 yards of total offense, and Dodger defensive backs Sam Daniel, D’Arien Calahan and Jerry Chada all picked off passes. For Daniel – a senior co-captain – it was his state-high and school-record seventh of the season, giving Fort Dodge the ball back with 6:04 left, down 35-28.
The Urbandale defense, which was rattled a little but stemmed the tide and still came up with a slew of clutch plays, saved the day one last time by intercepting Peterson four plays later near midfield. Peterson had narrowly escaped a sack and was throwing across his body when he was picked off for the third time in the game. He hadn’t thrown a single interception all year long before Friday.
“Carson really made things happen with his arm, his reads and his feet in that second half,” Moser said. “But (the J-Hawks) are tough up front and applied just enough pressure to rattle him on a few of those plays.
“Even so, if you look at the plays Carson came up with against that D, and the catches Javion, Tyler and Bradley (Vodraska) made…we really got the momentum going after (falling behind 28-10 early in the third quarter).”
The J-Hawks scored 28 points off of Dodger turnovers. Fort Dodge also fumbled the ball three times, including twice on errant snaps.
Peterson threw for 197 yards. He was forced to leave the contest on the last possession due to an injured ankle, as was junior safety Jake Erickson.
Senior linebacker Dylan Zimmermann also hurt his ankle in the first half and didn’t return.
“We’re banged up,” Moser said. “I know it might have looked strategic, not playing Sawyer (shoulder) and Dayson (ankle) this week to try and get them ready for (Homecoming against Sioux City East this Friday). But the guys who were on the field gave their all. They weren’t going to roll over just because we didn’t have Sawyer and Dayson.
“This team is physically and mentally tough. I think Urbandale would agree. We weren’t here just to show up and have a bunch of people say, ‘you tried. Close enough.’ That’s not going to satisfy this group. It was a hell of an effort, but we wanted the ‘W.'”
Jondle caught 10 passes for 95 yards, and Schreier had eight receptions for 61 yards. The duo connected on a hook-and-lateral play for a 73-yard Schreier touchdown with 7:31 left in the second quarter for FDSH’s first score outside of an early safety.
Junior Gavin Schillerstrom kicked a 21-yard field goal with 9:04 to go in regulation, making it a one-possession game. It stayed that way until the final 80 seconds, when 205-pound paver Tucker Langenberg barreled his way into the end zone for the final margin of victory. It was Langenberg’s third rushing touchdown.
Fort Dodge now faces Sioux City East (4-1) for the second time this season on Friday inside Dodger Stadium. The Black Raiders have won three consecutive games since a 36-20 home loss to FDSH on Sept. 4.
First Downs 16 18
Rushes-Yards 26-71 42-128
Passing 22-46-3 13-25-3
Passing Yards 207 192
Total Offense 278 310
Punts-Avg. 4-33.3 4-36.5
Fumbles-Lost 5-3 1-0
Penalties-Yards 7-50 9-83
Fort Dodge 2 8 15 3 — 28
Urbandale 7 14 14 7 — 42
Urbandale — Tucker Langenberg (17-yard run), 6:19 left first quarter. Ryan Harrison kick.
Fort Dodge — safety (Jaden Harrell kneels in end zone), 3:18 left first.
Urbandale — Langenberg (3-yard run), 9:05 left second. Harrison kick.
Fort Dodge — Tyler Schreier (73-yard run), 7:31 left second quarter. Schreier pass to Javion Jondle.
Urbandale — Graham Friedrichsen (48-yard pass from Peyton Rottinghaus), 5:04 left second. Harrison kick.
Urbandale — Jaden Harrell (8-yard run), 11:42 left third. Harrison kick.
Fort Dodge — Jondle (12-yard pass from Carson Peterson), 5:13 left third. Gavin Schillerstrom kick.
Urbandale — Friedrichsen (31-yard pass from Rottinghaus), 2:49 left third. Harrison kick.
Fort Dodge — Schreier (36-yard pass from Peterson), 2:03 left third. Schreier run.
Fort Dodge — Schillerstrom (21-yard field goal), 9:04 left fourth.
Urbandale — Langenberg (14-yard run), 1:20 left fourth. Harrison kick.
Rushing — Fort Dodge: Carson Peterson 8-48, Jon Presswood 8-8, Connor Carver 3-(minus-1), Sam Daniel 1-(minus-4), Team 5-(minus-53). Urbandale: Tucker Langenberg 15-67, Logan Hong 5-37, Jaden Harrell 9-36, Brad Pavon 6-13, Zach Kain 4-1, Peyton Rottinghaus 1-(minus-17), Team 2-(minus-9).
Passing — Fort Dodge: Carson Peterson 21-43-3-197, Connor Carver 1-2-0-10, Bradley Vodraska 0-1-0-0. Urbandale: Peyton Rottinghaus 13-24-2-192, Benjamin Booth 0-1-1-0.
Receiving — Fort Dodge: Javion Jondle 10-95, Tyler Schreier 8-61, Bradley Vodraska 2-28, Jon Presswood 1-13. Urbandale: Graham Fredrichsen 7-121, Kai Black 2-44, Logan Hong 2-20, Max Llewellyn 1-5, Nolan Bethke 1-2.