Week seven is here and for the 5-1 Dallas Center-Grimes football team, it’s a chance to remain undefeated in district play.
After a tough week one loss to Pella, it has been nothing but victory for Mustang football, winning five straight while outscoring their opponents 120-44 over the winning streak. An exceptional display by a Mustang squad aiming to get back to the promised land once more after a down 2018 campaign. It’s been a huge turnaround for DC-G as what would hurt the Mustangs a year ago, now has lead to points and wins. While it hasn’t been easy, the Mustangs have overcome their fair share of obstacles yet they still stand victorious. As noted by head coach Scott Heitland, a big credit goes to the team for pushing through said obstacles such as injuries.
“A year ago there were soo many things that unraveled us,” began Heitland. “This year they’re a bit older with more experience and now know how to respond to various situations. A big credit goes to coach Southmayed and our offense for weathering an injury storm like I haven’t seen in a long time. This is a group that rallied around losing their starting quarterback, running back, and top receiver yet still found a way to put points on the board.”
Last week against Humboldt they sure managed to find enough of the endzone for the win. A significant amount of credit there goes to someone returning from injury in starting signal-caller Ty Walker. The junior came back in his second contest since being sidelined with a concussion and tossed 98 yards and two scores. Walker, just like the team as a whole, has demonstrated great resolve and the ability to overcome obstacles that were unable to be breached last year.
“Ty has taken more ownership and more control of the offense this year, really showing growth and maturity that it takes to be successful as a starting varsity quarterback,” started Heitland. “When Zach (Brand) went down we knew we’d have to let the ball go through the air and to Ty’s credit, he stepped up and showed us he can handle the workload. That really helped us to stay effective in both the rush and the pass while some of our top guys were out.”
With every bit of bad news, there comes good news down the line. After weathering the injury storm that started early in non-district play, the Mustangs will have the talent of Zach Brand back in the lineup for week seven. Through his limited time playing this year, Brand has totaled 180 rushing yards and one score. Now, the thought of having Brand back in the lineup alone brings excitement and another level back to the Mustang ground attack.
“Getting Zach back only benefits our team as a whole,” said Heitland. “We are that much better in the backfield with a guy who knows how to find openings and with the experience of truly seeing the field. He’s an extremely talented athlete and everyone is very excited to see him back on the football field come Friday night.”
With that said, as with every negative, there is a positive and one big positive that has showcased itself in Brand’s absence was a somewhat unknown benefit to the team before the season began. Now that Brand returns, he will be joining a backfield that has produced 592 yards and five scores in his absence. From what seemed like a bleak repeat of last year quickly turned into a multi-pronged attack in the backfield. Four individuals have totaled over 20 carries from scrimmage most notably Luke Busby who has totaled 275 yards and four of the six ground scores this season. While the loss of Brand for the time wasn’t what they wanted, it showcased a whole new side of the Mustang offense.
“We were excited about our offense heading into the season with Brand and Busby in the backfield but what has happened through this injury is that it has impacted our team in two ways,” began Heitland. “It showed that we could rely more on other areas of our offense and it showed how strong we are with our depth. Lukey Busby has shown us a lot of great things and really accepted the challenge of being thrown into the fire. From JV experience to the varsity level, Luke has made leaps and bounds. He’s been huge for us this season.”
Now with a roster that’s back to near perfect health, DC-G football aimes to be even more effective on offense. That of course, alongside Iowa high schools’ version of the Monsters of the Midway in their shutdown defense. If it wasn’t before, it’s certainly no secret now that DC-G’s top strength is their defense. In what has been the best mark so far within Class 3A’s District 2, the Mustang defense has allowed just 3.4 yards per play through six games played.
From a feared defense to a thriving offense, the Mustangs are arguably one of the most formidable teams in the state. Now they will return home for week seven, taking on a struggling Boone squad still searching for their first win. While on paper it looks to be a cake-walk for the Mustangs, coach Heitland and his team know all too well from last year that no team should ever be overlooked.
“In order to come out on top our guys have to give their undivided attention to Boone this week,” began Heitland. “If we don’t do that, these last few weeks will become unimportant pretty fast. It’s all about focusing on being 1-0. Boone has young, talented playmakers that can hurt you if you’re not careful. I’m really impressed with their passing game and defensively we have to match their intensity.”
Boone’s passing attack does sit second overall within the district in passing with 875 yards through the air with six scores. The Toreadors average 13.7 yards per catch which will very well be the toughest aerial test for the DC-G corners. Boone quarterback Morgan Smith sits second in the conference in yards and averages roughly 14 yards per completion. The biggest threat on the receiving end comes in a two-pronged approach with junior Tegan Bock and senior Quali Sporra who average 12.7 and 15 yards per catch.
The battle to remain undefeated in district play will kick off tonight beginning at 7:30 p.m. from DC-G Stadium.