Despite the excitement leading up to the week three game against the Ballard Bombers, the Dallas Center-Grimes football team was unable to hold back a late rally and fell in their week three match up 15-7.
The Mustangs were on the road in Huxley in their penultimate non district game of the season and it was a tough outing on the offensive side of the ball. The passing game put up just 66 yards with three turnovers while the potent rushing attack that came just five yards short of 100 yards last week, was limited to just 54 yards all game against the Bombers.
After an early touchdown by Ballard combined with a field goal just before the fourth quarter and a late fourth quarter touchdown, the Mustangs did touch the scoreboard with a seven yard touchdown pass from Garrett Morris to Luke Fistler. The comeback attempt fell short as what would be their only score came with under two minutes left in the game.
Overall the loss gave DC-G a 0-3 start for the first time since the 2012 season but despite the fall, there were a lot of steps taken by the Mustangs that gave head coach Scott Heitland hope for the future.
“It was a tough game for us because they really shut down our best aspects and we didn’t have any answers offensively,” began Heitland. “With that being said we continued to make strides and our kids really picked up on some of the things in practice that we as coaches were trying to get across.”
While the win column hasn’t shown improvement, there certainly has been strides made over the first three weeks. The Mustangs went from a scoreless season opener to posting up 14 points in their second game and then held a Ballard team who averaged 37 points per game a year prior to just 15 Friday night.
When talking about the improvements and strides made throughout the game coach Heitland was most pleased out of what he saw from the defensive.
“Our defense had their backs against the wall a lot in the game and for them to then hold a team like Ballard to just 15 points shows me they’ve come a long way,” said Heitland. “Last week we didn’t do a good job of open field tackling but on Friday we stopped a lot of big plays with our tackling.”
While it wasn’t the best performance offensively from the Mustangs, coach Heitland still saw positives that he’s looking for to come out once more this week.
“I saw our offense keep their heads in the game like it was a tie ball game all the way to the end and that’s big,” began Heitland. “So often you see teams down big late in games have a negative mindset and the play on the field reflects that not just for that game but the next game and the game after that. Our guys kept in in with a good attitude which is something we as coaches have been focusing on.”
All that and more will have to be on display this week as the Mustangs tackle their final non-district game of the season against Glenwood this Friday night. Glenwood, a 2-1 team heading into week four, has been a historically tough team to defeat.
Glenwood enters 2018 after two straight playoff bound seasons and has averaged no lest than 378 total yards per game. It’s been the rushing attack that has been the bread and butter for Glenwood as they’ve averaged no less than 241 yards per game on the ground the past two seasons.
Heading into the week four match-up against the Rams, while the rushing attack is a big focus, it won’t be the only focus for the Mustangs.
“Glenwood does do most of their damage on the ground for sure,” began Heitland. “The thing about Glenwood is that while they don’t pass a whole lot, they do have the ability to and they’ve hurt many teams in the past with the passing game. It’s easy to be lulled to sleep with so many runs but we have to be on our toes waiting for the pass as well.”
Just like the Mustangs, the Rams have been involved in some uncharacteristically low scoring games this season, averaging just over 12 points per game so far. While most fans and spectators look at that number as a tantalizing opportunity for the Mustangs, coach Heitland throws up some caution.
“It’s easy to look at their past scores and think they’re having a down year scoring wise but it could be their biggest strength this year,” began Heitland. “Looking at recent games, that’s probably the goal for Glenwood. They’re really good at slowing down the game and making teams play at their tempo which can often lead to low scoring games. We need to make sure we get out of the gates early and keep up a high tempo feel with both our offense and our defense.”
The Mustangs and the Rams have faced off just twice in the last ten seasons and while Glenwood did take the last meeting in not surprisingly low fashion 12-7, DC-G has outscored them in the last two meetings 52-28.