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Van Meter football set to take on South Central Calhoun in semifinal action

Andrew Brown
Dallas County News
Jack Pettit hands the ball off to Dalten Van Pelt in the second round postseason battle with ACGC on Friday, Oct. 23 in Van Meter.

Another year in and another state semifinal appearance for the Van Meter football team.

The Bulldogs will take on their eighth game inside the UNI-Dome over the past six seasons including a pair of state title game appearances. After defeating the Eagles of Underwood in the quarterfinal round, their reward will be a rematch with the Titans of South Central Calhoun on Saturday, Nov. 14.

It's a matchup that hasn't come about often but when it has, it's been in the postseason. The Bulldogs and the Titans have met just twice in the past 10 years and both instances came in the quarterfinal round, which means this is the first time these two teams have met in the UNI-Dome. No matter what the postseason situation has been, the battle between the Bulldogs and the Titans have always been close. In fact, no game between the two teams has ended in more than a four-point advantage. 

That included last year's battle which ended in 10-6 fashion. For Van Meter, the 2020 edition against South Central Calhoun will include a similar set of foes. Cole Corey and Blake McCalister come back as two of the three top-scoring leaders from last season. In 2020, they've combined for 35 end zone trips including a combined pair of defensive scores. The Bulldog offense might have their biggest test of the season so far as the Titans offense has averaged 32.6 points per game, the most Van Meter has faced all year. 

The Titans strike a lot of similarities to the Bulldogs, especially on the ground. South Central Calhoun has, in fact, improved what was a strong rushing attack last year and enters the Class 1A semifinal ranks with the fifth-most rushing scores (36) and second in overall rushing attempts (453). 

Van Meter head football coach Eric Trudo during the playoff game against Pella Christian on Friday, Oct. 30 in Van Meter.

Offensively, the Bulldogs will have quite the defensive wall to go up against. The Titans have allowed an average of 216 total yards per game. A big part of Van Meter's offense has been a strong passing attack but they'll need to be cautious of South Central Calhoun's 14 interceptions (tied for third in 1A). That same defense holds the most interception return yards in Class 1A (356). 

Then again, there's plenty for Van Meter to hold off the Titans. Offensively, Van Meter holds 57 total touchdowns, nine more than South Central Calhoun. Van Meter's passing attack ranks seventh in 1A with 18 passing scores. That's on top of their strong rushing attack that ranks third in yards (2,638) and just one score behind South Central Calhoun with 35 end zone trips. 

Now, it's all down to one more match-up between these two teams and it will come on Saturday, Nov. 14 beginning at 9 a.m. That's the earliest start ever for the Bulldog football program. 

Van Meter football after winning the 1A state quarterfinal game against Underwood.