Van Meter football heads back to state semifinals

Megan Teske, Correspondent
Special to Dallas County News
Van Meter players pose for a photo following a 31-13 win over ACGC during the quarterfinals on Friday, Nov. 5. The win sends the Bulldogs back to the UNI-Dome, where they will take on Beckman Catholic in the state semifinals.

The Van Meter football team has continued to keep its playoff run, as well as its undefeated record, alive after another win Nov. 5.

The Bulldogs took on ACGC in the quarterfinals Nov. 5 and won 31-13 to advance to the semifinals.

Head coach Eric Trudo said ACGC was really physical to start the game and the Chargers were able to go right down and score. The Bulldogs responded and scored right away as well.

The two teams went back and forth after that, but Van Meter was able to block ACGC’s PAT attempt to make it 14-13 at halftime.

“It was a pretty quick first half because there were only five total possessions, ACGC had three and we had two,” Trudo said.

The Bulldogs had already played the Chargers not long ago, beating them 41-7 on Oct. 15 at home.

Van Meter's John Braun tackles an ACGC player on Friday, Nov. 5.

Trudo said he didn’t really change the strategy coming into the game from the previous meeting with ACGC, rather the team just made some minor adjustments during the game and at halftime to be more successful.

Those adjustments proved to be helpful when Van Meter put the game away in the second half, holding ACGC scoreless and scoring two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to really pull away from the Chargers.

Trudo said it started in the beginning of the second half, when the Bulldogs received the kickoff to open the half and put a solid drive together to get a field goal.

“Then our defense stepped up and got a three and out, which was the first three and out we had the entire game,” Trudo said. “And then on ACGC’s next possession we got another three and out, so I think that really changed the momentum, that gave our kids the confidence to continue to stay the course of what we were doing and put the game away.”

A big contributor to the offense against ACGC was senior Dalten Van Pelt, who led the ground game with 26 carries for 179 yards and two touchdowns and who also had one reception for 34 yards.

Trudo said Van Pelt is a quiet leader who leads by example rather than saying much, but he always shows appreciation for his teammates.

Dalten Van Pelt runs the ball for the Bulldogs during a game against ACGC on Friday, Nov. 5 in Van Meter.

“His toughness is exhibited in the way he runs,” Trudo said. “And the appreciation he shows for his teammates, I mean he’d be the first to tell you that our offensive line played outstanding and they deserve a lot of the credit.”

The Bulldogs now have Beckman Catholic up next on their schedule, a team they’ve never played before.

Though a new opponent, Trudo said Van Meter is preparing for the Trailblazers the same way the team would any opponent, because any team left at this point is going to be a good team, and Trudo said Beckman Catholic is no different.

“They have a big running back again, a very athletic quarterback, athletic receivers and then their offensive line, from tackle to tackle, will be the biggest offensive line we’ve faced, so that’ll present some definite challenges for us,” Trudo said.

Trudo has said before that the team has done a good job at staying in the moment and focusing on the opponent on the schedule, and he added that hasn’t changed as the team continues to win.

“That’s a compliment to our kids that they have a singular focus on what they want to accomplish, and right now, that’s beating Dyersville Beckman,” Trudo said.

Van Meter faces off with Beckman Catholic in the semifinals at 10 a.m. Nov. 12 at the UNI-Dome.

Van Meter players react following a 31-13 win over ACGC during the quarterfinals on Friday, Nov. 5. The win sends the Bulldogs to the UNI-Dome, where they will take on Beckman Catholic in the state semifinals.