Dodgers can’t stop Spencer
SPENCER — Fort Dodge football coach Nik Moser doesn’t want his team’s recent struggles to be confused with a lack of effort or desire.
The Dodgers had a hard time at the point of attack for the second consecutive week against Spencer on Friday, surrendering 282 rushing yards in the first half as the Tigers poured it on early and often for a decisive 49-14 Class 4A, District 1 victory.
Two uncharacteristic red-zone turnovers by Fort Dodge (2-4 overall, 0-2 in the district) helped flip what may have been a competitive ballgame into a lopsided one, but make no mistake about it: Spencer (5-1, 2-0) was the superior squad both up front and overall on a perfect evening at Dale Norton Field.
Moser readily admitted as much afterward. What he doesn’t want fans to take away from this game – and a rough two-week stretch – is the assumption the Dodgers have lost the collective drive to compete.
“We have guys like (first-time starter and junior defensive lineman) Zeke Pineda out there working hard and doing his best,” Moser said. “He does everything we ask of him, then comes back and wants to get better. There are a lot of kids like that on our team. They’re giving their all.
“Look, no one is going to feel sorry for us or care that we’re short-handed (because of injuries) on the lines. We’ve faced two really solid football teams (in Webster City and Spencer), and their strengths go right at us (in the trenches). Sometimes, that’s the way this game goes. No one’s going to take it easy on us, so we have to just keep plugging away and supporting each other. It’s gut-check time.”
The Tigers scored on all six of their first-half possessions, averaged almost 10 yards per carry and went 6-for-6 on third down with their vaunted triple-option look in winning for the fifth consecutive time. Fort Dodge enjoyed some early success with a pair of drives deep into Spencer territory, but a lost fumble – FDSH’s first of the season – and an interception left both possessions empty.
The Dodgers’ lone first-half score came on a 19-yard Connor Carver touchdown pass to Nate Opande, making it 28-7 with 1:19 left in the first half. Instead of conservatively heading into the locker room, the Tigers opened up the passing attack and marched in for a touchdown with 19 seconds to go. Then, adding insult to injury, Spencer successfully converted an onside kick, had another long toss and scored again to make it 42-7 right before intermission.
Adrian Carrillo, one of the top running backs in 4A, had 18 carries for 177 yards. The Tiger junior broke free for an 83-yard TD as his main highlight, then hit paydirt two more times for good measure.
Senior quarterback Riley DeWitt had 116 rushing yards and 107 more through the air to anchor Spencer.
Carver threw for 136 yards, with Opande catching four balls for 67 yards. Carver had a late touchdown on the ground for the only other FDSH points.
Senior Orion Larson-Trott rushed for 74 yards on just nine carries.
Junior Cal Hartman recovered a fumble for the Dodgers, who were without standout lineman Kaleb Lynch and junior receiver Grant Williams.
Fort Dodge faces Storm Lake (0-6) for Homecoming this Friday.
First Downs 13 17
Rushes-Yards 27-133 41-361
Passing 8-17-1 5-7-0
Passing Yards 136 107
Total Offense 269 468
Punts-Avg. 4-31.0 2-31.0
Fumbles-Lost 3-1 1-1
Penalties-Yards 4-20 3-35
Fort Dodge 0 7 0 7 – 14
Spencer 14 28 7 0 – 49
Spencer – Gavin Timmer (25-yard run), 6:01 left first quarter. Izak Peterson kick.
Spencer – Adrian Carrillo (83-yard run), 2:04 left first. Peterson kick.
Spencer – Riley DeWitt (4-yard run), 6:58 left second. Peterson kick.
Spencer – Carrillo (2-yard run), 3:14 left second. Peterson kick.
Fort Dodge – Nate Opande (19-yard pass from Connor Carver), 1:19 left second. Parker Schillerstrom kick.
Spencer – DeWitt (4-yard run), 0:19 left second. Peterson kick.
Spencer – DeWitt (6-yard run), 0:05 left second. Peterson kick.
Spencer – Carrillo (3-yard run), 8:05 left third. Peterson kick.
Fort Dodge – Carver (8-yard run), 3:05 left fourth. Schillerstrom kick.
Rushing – Fort Dodge: Orion Larson-Trott 9-74, Connor Carver 11-43, Tucker Pederson 6-30, Team 1-(minus-14). Spencer: Adrian Carrillo 18-177, Riley DeWitt 12-116, Gavin Timmer 3-57, Miles Robbins 2-7, Hunter Iverson 2-5, Ashton Archer 1-4, Gabriel Cauthron 1-(minus-1), Brett Tighe 1-(minus-2), Cael Bruning 1-(minus-2).
Passing – Fort Dodge: Connor Carver 8-17-1-136. Spencer: Riley DeWitt 5-6-0-107, Cael Bruning 0-1-0-0.
Receiving — Fort Dodge: Nate Opande 4-67, Javion Jondle 2-37, Tucker Pederson 1-17, Ty Adams 1-15. Spencer: Campbell Wessels 4-95, Gavin Timmer 1-12.