Dallas Center-Grimes continued its strong season with a 21-14 win on the road at No. 7 Grinnell on Sept. 20.
After a slow start, in which Grinnell scored on its opening drive and added another off a Mustang turnover, DC-G jabbed back with three second-quarter touchdowns to take control.
"A big win against a rated team, and most importantly, a district win," said coach Scott Heitland, whose team improved to 2-0 in the district and 3-1 overall. "If you want to be in the playoffs, you have to win those games.
"It means nothing, though, if we don’t take care of business the next few weeks."
Touchdown runs by Andrew Kramer and Chaz Chambers helped the Mustangs tie the game.
Later in the quarter, Michael Lortz kicked a 37-yard field goal, but Grinnell was flagged for a roughing-the-kicker penalty. Heitland opted for the penalty yardage, and on the next play, Kramer hit Doug Heritage in the end zone with a 16-yard pass and the go-ahead score.
"Doug made a wonderful catch," Heitland said. "It was a toe-tapper on the edge of the end zone. A great catch and great field presence to know where he was and get a foot down."
Kramer was 9-of-11 passing for 100 yards, and ran for 48 yards on 12 carries. Chambers carried 26 times for 82 yards, and Dakota Clausen caught three passes for 55 yards.
After a rough start, the Mustangs turned in three scoreless quarters to preserve the win.
"Our defense played outstanding," Heitland said. "To hold that offense to zero points in three quarters is awesome."
Austin Grosklags had seven tackles, including two sacks. Tyler Johansen and Carson Namanny each had seven tackles, while Johansen added an interception and Travis Grimes a fumble recovery.
At 3-1 through four games, the Mustangs have already matched their win total from last season. The biggest difference this season is a new mindset, Heitland said.
"They’re just determined that they’re not going to beat themselves on game night. They’re going to make sure they play with as much intensity and effort as they can," Heitland said. "When something goes bad, when something doesn’t go our way, they can put it behind them and move on.
"We have unbelievable team chemistry right now."
DC-G travels Friday to Knoxville for a nondistrict game against the winless Panthers, before returning home to host Newton and Saydel the next two weeks.