SENSE OF URGENCY
Fort Dodge soars past Monarchs and closer to playoffs
The points came in rapid-fire fashion as the Fort Dodge football team scored at will and completely locked down Denison-Schleswig in a 43-8 triumph on Senior Night Friday.
Head coach Nik Moser didn’t want to talk about all of the yards afterward, though. He singled out the inches instead.
The Dodgers did a lot of little things right in improving to 6-2 overall and moving closer to a Class 4A postseason berth. In order to give themselves a chance the rest of the way, Moser knows the plays very few notice must be executed to near-perfection as the games tighten and pressure intensifies.
“I look at even the opening kickoff,” Moser said. “(The Monarchs) pooch it and almost recover. Keyton Fraser, a senior, comes up with it on what was basically a 50-50 ball. He wrestles it away from a Denison kid. That’s something most people will forget, but if they get it there, who knows what happens.”
Instead of losing possession, Fort Dodge was off to the races. Junior quarterback Connor Carver found classmate Javion Jondle for four touchdown passes — and nearly had a fifth, with Jondle stumbling inside the 1-yard line right before the end of the first half.
Carver was 14 of 17 for 336 yards in the opening two quarters alone, with Jondle hauling in seven passes for 165 yards and all four of Carver’s touchdown strikes. The statistics were obviously dominant — with senior tailback Jon Presswood adding 149 yards and a pair of scores for good measure — but for all the flash in the offense, Moser was even more pleased with something Jondle did when the ball wasn’t in his hands.
“The block Javion had on Jon Jon’s (31-yard) touchdown run was huge — maybe his best play of the night, which is obviously saying a lot,” Moser said. “Javion scores (on a 6-yard TD reception), Orion (Larson-Trott) recovers (a fumble on the) kickoff, then Jon runs it in on the next play. It’s 15-0 and we’re barely three minutes in.
“That’s the fastest we’ve started in all three phases of the game: offense, defense and special teams. It was great to see us that sharp so early. And we were able to build on the momentum from there.”
Carver and Jondle hit paydirt together three more times: from 11, 43 and 41 yards out. Jondle hurt his knee on the last touchdown, but re-entered and almost scored again as the second quarter came to a close. Five touchdowns passes in a half would have tied Drake Miller for the school record; four TD receptions by Jondle broke the all-time program mark for a single game.
“It’s not about any of that right now, though,” Moser said. “These kids just want to keep winning. I’m proud of them; we had to change some things around and clean it up after (consecutive losses to Webster City and Spencer), and they’ve responded. We needed to go 3-0, then 2-0, now we’re down to 1-0.”
After a 43-8 first half, the continuous clock rule was in effect the rest of the way and wrapped a Dodger contest up in under two hours for the second consecutive week.
Fort Dodge’s defense, meanwhile, pinned their ears back and allowed only 21 yards of total offense to the Monarchs (3-5, 1-3 in Class 4A, District 1) — who are coached by former Iowa State Cyclone all-Big 12 standout safety Kamari Cotton-Moya. Senior Kaden Lynch joined Larson-Trott with a fumble recovery, with senior Amaris Harris and Jace Ulrich recording sacks alongside junior Kaleb Lynch. Senior Ben Egli also had three tackles for loss.
Denison-Schleswig rushed 24 times for a net of four yards.
The Dodgers racked up 219 first-quarter yards, 407 in the first half and 537 total. The Monarchs had 16, 32 and 21, respectively, with negative-11 yards from scrimmage in the second half.
“We’ve switched some things up defensively, and again, it’s really paid dividends so far,” said Moser, like Cotton-Moya, an ex-Iowa State Cyclone safety. “We only had two penalties, which was huge (the Dodgers had been flagged for nearly 10 per week before Friday).
“All of these things are important, because we’ll be going to Le Mars now and facing the best team of this final three-game stretch without question. We’ll have to be strong in all three phases again if we want to (finish 7-2 and clinch a playoff berth).”
The Bulldogs (4-4) lost to Spencer last night, 42-27.
Senior Gavin Schillerstrom and his sophomore brother, Parker, alternated on PATs for FDSH on Friday, with Gavin going 2-for-2 and Parker 3-for-3.
Bradley Vodraska caught three passes for 70 yards. Presswood added 65 yards on a screen catch to finish with 214 yards from scrimmage.
Fort Dodge has now won at least six regular-season games three times in the last four years. The Dodgers were 7-2 in 2018 and 6-3 in 2019.
First Downs 23 2
Rushes-Yards 30-199 24-8
Passing Yards 338 13
Comp-Att-Int 15-20-2 6-9-0
Total Offense 537 21
Punts-Avg. 0-0 6-42.5
Fumbles-Lost 2-2 5-2
Penalties-Yards 2-10 2-10
D-S 8 0 0 0 — 8
Fort Dodge 22 21 0 0 — 43
Fort Dodge — Javion Jondle (6-yard pass from Connor Carver), 9:08 left first quarter. Gavin Schillerstrom kick.
Fort Dodge — Jon Presswood (31-yard run), 8:56 left first. Bradley Vodraska run.
Denison-Schleswig — Matthew Weltz (100-yard interception return), 2:21 left first. Carson Seuntjens to Gavin Hipnar pass.
Fort Dodge — Jondle (11-yard pass from Carver), 1:56 left first. Parker Schillerstrom kick.
Fort Dodge — Jondle (43-yard pass from Carver), 11:44 left second. G. Schillerstrom kick.
Fort Dodge — Jondle (41-yard pass from Carver), 6:05 left second. P. Schillerstrom kick.
Fort Dodge — Presswood (1-yard run), 0:16 left second. P. Schillerstrom kick.
RUSHING–Fort Dodge: Jon Presswood 19-149, Brandon Beckley 5-16, Cal Hartman 1-15, Connor Carver 3-12, Jace Ulrich 1-5, Ty Adams 1-2. Denison-Schleswig: Jaxson Hildebrand 8-7, Trey Brotherton 3-7, Derek Scheuring 1-5, Easton Emery 1-1, Team 3-(minus-2), Carson Seuntjens 8-(minus-10).
PASSING–Fort Dodge: Connor Carver 15-20-2-338, Ty Adams 0-0-0-0. Denison-Schleswig: Carson Seuntjens 6-9-0-13.
RECEIVING–Fort Dodge: Javion Jondle 7-165, Bradley Vodraska 3-70, Jon Presswood 1-65, Carson Peterson 2-19, Nate Opande 2-19. Denison-Schleswig: Aiden Schuttinga 2-10, Jesse Velasquez 1-5, Matthew Weltz 2-1, Jake Fink 1-(minus-2).