On a night where the Van Meter football team honored their 16 seniors with senior night, the Bulldogs laid claim to their second district title in as many years with a 35-6 victory over Mount Ayr on a muddy field Friday night.
It was a rematch of the 2013 second round playoff game between the Bulldogs and the Raiders but just like then, Van Meter was oh so opportunistic on both sides of the ball, nearly acquiring their third shutout win of the season. For the first time all year, the Bulldogs began the game without a single score through the first twelve minutes (first quarter) of play. It was actually quite the overall defensive performance from both teams as the game was held scoreless heading into the second quarter. After the game, Bulldog head coach Eric Trudo talked about the back and forth first quarter battle.
“I think our kids really battled hard with the not so great field conditions,” began Trudo. “You know I think it really showed that even with a slow start offensively, we have the defense to step up and keep the opposing offenses at bay while ours gets into a rhythm. We showed we are a balanced team and that if a team wants to beat us, they'll have to do so in multiple different ways.”
Despite unruly field conditions, that's where the Bulldogs would break the scoring silence starting with a six yard touchdown run by senior quarterback Anthony Potthoff just a few minutes into the second quarter. All game long, the Van Meter defense would match that intensity and collected three turnovers, all of which were turned into scores by the offense. That included Van Meter's second score of the contest after a Spencer Lamb interception gave the Bulldog offense just a forty yard field to work with. Junior Ian Abrahamson made Mounty Ayr pay for the turnover with an eight yard touchdown run with just over nine minutes left in the first half. That would set the score in favor of Van Meter 14-0 which held as the halftime score.
The first half featured a tale of two offense where the Bulldogs owned the ground attack, while the Raiders stole the aerial display. Through two quarters, Van Meter racked up 159 yards of rushing compared to Mount Ayr's 17 but on the flip side, the Raiders owned the air waves with 96 yards passing compared to 37 for the Bulldogs.
Both teams nearly went another full quarter without a score but in the end, the Bulldogs did end up putting points up on the board in the third quarter. Ian Abrahamson initiated the second half scoring by matching his jersey number on a 34 yard touchdown run with just two minutes left in the third quarter. Just before the third quarter was about to come to a close, Bulldog junior Parker Fryer stepped in front of a wayward Mount Ayr pass to capture Van Meter's second of three turnovers on the night. That set up another scoring opportunity for Ian Abrahamson who cashed in his second of three scores with a 15 yard end-zone run, bringing the lead up 28-0.
Midway through the fourth and final frame, Van Meter cashed in a Mounty Ayr fumble near their own 30 yard line as Anthony Potthoff found junior Cody Coffman in the back of the end-zone for the Bulldogs' final score of the evening. That would put the Bulldogs up 35-0 before the Raiders connected on their one and only score of the game with three minutes remaining in the ball game.
“The win didn't come easy tonight,” began Bulldog quarterback Anthony Potthoff. “While the win did give the seniors a proper send off, the fact that the win clinched another district title brought a little more meaning to the game for Potthoff.
“It means everything (to win on senior night),” said Potthoff. “For as long as I can remember I've seen all kinds of seniors put in countless hours getting better and helping this team and they deserve it.”
Those thoughts were echoed by coach Trudo.
“From the fantastic offensive line play to special teams, this team played a great game and gave the seniors a win which is what you plan for,” began Trudo. “They've stuck with and have been faithful to the process and they are being rewarded because of it. Our seniors have been crucial to our success and to give them a win on senior night is something extra special.”
Van Meter continues their dominance with an unblemished 8-0 record.
Potthoff put in a strong night under center, airing it out for 81 passing yards on just eight completions while rushing for 51 yards and a touchdown. Ian Abrahamson racked up yet another 200 yard rushing game averaging 8.2 yards per carry to go along with three trips to the end-zone on the night. Potthoff connected with six different receivers on the night, including to receptions and a touchdown to Cody Coffman.
With a playoff spot guaranteed, the Bulldogs now have just one worry on their minds, which will be their week nine match up on the road against Clarinda on Friday, October 19.