Denison-Schleswig rains on Dodgers' Homecoming parade
The sting of a close Homecoming loss tends to linger past the night of the actual football game.
Fort Dodge must now prove it can move on — and forward — from a frustrating 15-12 setback against Denison-Schleswig.
The Monarchs gained the upper-hand with a go-ahead touchdown early in the third quarter and made it last, grinding out a road victory in the Class 4A, District 1 opener for both teams. A disappointed Dodger locker room sat in silence afterward, as all of the emotions from a long and festive week came crashing down with a disappointing Friday night finale.
“We’re at a crossroads now to a certain extent,” Moser said. “This is the true test of a program; how do you respond when things aren’t going your way? It’s a tough pill to swallow. I’ve been around Homecoming games my whole life…when you win, you feel like you’re on top of the the world. When you lose, it can make for a really long weekend. But you have to show you have the maturity and leadership to not let adversity leak into making bad decisions (away from the field) or letting it fracture the rest of your season.
“That’s where we’re at now. This isn’t fun for any of us, but it is what it is and we have to go back to work and get a lot of things cleaned up. We didn’t do enough right things in practice or (last night) to earn a win. That’s just the bottom line.”
Fort Dodge (2-3 overall) managed just 239 total yards of offense, with 105 — a 62-yard pass from Royce Pederson to Ty Adams and a 43-yard sprint to paydirt by Dreshaun Ross — coming on the Dodgers’ two touchdowns. The other 40 plays from scrimmage went for an average of just 3.4 yards per snap.
Denison-Schleswig (3-2) wasn’t fancy or particularly sharp, but every time the Monarchs needed a stop on defense or a pivotal conversion on offense, they seemed to do just that. Five different backs combined to rush for an effective 237 yards on 49 carries, and D-S kept the chains moving with 18 first downs to FDSH’s seven.
“It hurts — and it should,” Moser said. “We had some opportunities. We had our chances. You always do in a three-point game. But I really don’t think, given how things went, we are in any position to do anything other than look in the mirror and take (collective) responsibility for not being physically or mentally where we needed to be.”
The Dodgers turned the ball over on downs twice and had three empty second-half possessions after Ross darted up the middle for a go-ahead score early in the third quarter. From Ross’s touchdown on — over the final 23-plus minutes of the contest — Fort Dodge managed only 53 offensive yards.
The Monarchs drained the clock and salted away the win with a methodical 12-play, 45-yard drive to end it. The possession — which in a way typified the entire night — wasn’t flashy and didn’t result in any points, but it got the job done.
Denison-Schleswig ran 30 times in the second half alone. Only three of those rushes went for more than nine yards, but the Monarchs kept the sticks moving slowly but surely and made their tenuous three-point lead stick.
Ross had 104 yards on 20 carries. Junior Gavin Pederson and senior Isaiah Caldwell recorded sacks, and senior Zeke Pineda recovered a fumble with Adams.
Sophomore Noah Daniel and senior Drew Moritz both blocked extra points for FDSH, which lost senior co-captain Grant Williams to an injury late in the first half. Williams did not return and had his arm in a sling on the sidelines for the rest of the night.
Fort Dodge returns to action on Friday at Storm Lake. The Tornadoes (3-2, 1-0) topped Sioux City West on Thursday, 28-19.
First Downs 7 18
Rushes-Yards 27-118 49-237
Passing 121 104
Comp-Att-Int 9-13-0 5-12-0
Total Offense 239 341
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 1-1
Punts-Avg. 2-37.5 4-21.0
Penalties-Yards 7-45 8-75
Denison-Schleswig 6 3 6 0 — 15
Fort Dodge 6 0 6 0 — 12
Denison-Schleswig — Brailyn Desy (51-yard run), 7:34 left first quarter. Kick blocked.
Fort Dodge — Ty Adams (62-yard pass from Royce Pederson), 5:30 left first. Run failed.
Denison-Schleswig — Sebastian Contreras (26-yard field goal), 0:09 left second.
Fort Dodge — Dreshaun Ross (43-yard run), 11:36 left third. Run failed.
Denison-Schleswig — Cole Kastner (6-yard run), 7:52 left third. Kick blocked.
Rushing — Fort Dodge: Dreshaun Ross 20-104, Noah Daniel 3-16, Jamarius Gibbs-Green 3-3, Jase Nekvinda 1-(minus-5). D-S: Blaine Brodsky 15-80, Cole Kastner 16-54, Brailyn Desy 3-54, Luke Wiebers 10-35, Team 1-9, Ty Fink 4-5.
Passing — Fort Dodge: Royce Pederson 2-2-0-65, Jase Nekvinda 7-11-0-56. D-S: Luke Wiebers 5-12-0-104.
Receiving — Fort Dodge: Ty Adams 3-75, Dreshaun Ross 1-31, Noah Daniel 2-7, Tytrell Mosley 2-6, Grant Williams 1-2. D-S: Jake Fink 4-80, Gage Head 1-22.