DCG football hangs tight, cross country opens strong
Dallas Center-Grimes’ first week of school brought some big performances to the table but plenty of motivation for improvements the rest of the season. (Note: Events covered Aug 24-30)
After cruising through their first action of the year, the Mustangs found themselves on the wrong side of a 20-16 loss to North Polk (1-0) in a scrappy Friday night battle.
Compared to the 27-point loss to the Comets last year, Friday’s game was a wild success but still followed many of the same beats that kept DCG behind, mainly the turnover game.
While the Mustangs forced a crucial interception thanks to Tate Perrin’s hands in the DCG secondary, the Mustangs also threw two picks that not only flipped the field but directly impacted scoreboard with a pick-six. And aside from that one interception DCG forced, the Comets’ quarterback duo completed 16-of-20 passes as a complement to their rushing attack averaging almost five yards per carry to find the end zone twice.
For DCG, production came at a premium.
Playing behind, DCG turned to a pass-heavy attack that dropped Ty Mikkelsen back more often, completing 19-of-29 balls for 184 yards and a score. That was just under his yardage in his debut where he threw four touchdowns but with half the attempts. Even so, the Mustangs found strength in numbers, as six of seven players he connected with had multiple catches — Zach Smid (7 receptions, 55 yards), Eddie Pyne (3/14), Trevor Hamil (2/30), Hudson Ehlert (2/39), Ben Brushaber (2/20), Eli Carpenter (2/14).
As a receiver, Smid was also the only player to score for the Mustangs, getting a five-yard toss from Mikkelsen on top of a five-yard run.
The Mustangs will travel to Bondurant-Farrar (1-0) on Friday to face a talented Bluejays team that won last year’s meeting 33-17. A mismatch as a sophomore in 2021, running back Titus Cram doesn’t look to have slowed down this season after running for 144 yards and two touchdowns against Ballard. Senior QB Colby Collison also accounted for three scores.
After starting the year with a 1-3 mark at their home tournament, the Mustangs bounced back on Saturday with a 3-1 day at Grinnell’s tourney.
DCG would win 2-0 against Carlisle (2-5), Mount Pleasant (2-5) and Iowa Valley (0-4) but fell in two sets against Clear Creek Amana (4-3).
Now with eight matches behind them, the team’s go-to hands have started to emerge, as senior Haily Leinbach leads the team with 25 kills on 80 attempts and is closely followed by sophomore Landry Glasgow’s 20 points on 82 attempts. Maliya Carlson, Anna Cantrell, Deja Jackson and Sydney Meints have also made consistent contributions on the front line but no one else has even eclipsed 60 attempts, instead giving the bulk of looks to Leinbach and Glasgow.
That has largely been facilitated at Jillian Janssen who leads the way with 96 assists. She’s also been the greatest asset on the back line, serving a team-high eight aces. But the team has been largely successful on serves, holding a total efficiency of 94.3 percent. So far, that’s a percent better than last year’s mark.
With two meets behind them, the Mustangs look to be running at the front of the pack again.
At the early bird invite at Ankeny Centennial, the boys team placed second behind Norwalk, and placed first at their home meet on Tuesday ahead of state hopefuls like Des Moines Christian and Winterset (as well as Carlisle and Indianola to gauge conference hierarchy.)
Stepping into a larger leadership role this year, juniors Ben and Jack Every have emerged as the team’s top dogs. With a time of 16 minutes 41 seconds, Ben took second place overall Tuesday. Jack placed fourth at 16:56. The two flipped their positions in the Ankeny race where Jack hit a time of 15:52. That would have positioned him in the top five of last year’s Class 3A state race. His time Tuesday would rank on the border of the top 20. So while there’s been some early variance, it’s still elite production.
The girls team began their season Tuesday with a second place finish, only trailing Indianola. Maddy Stevens was the first Mustang to cross the tape, finishing fifth overall at 20:49 and was shortly followed by Emerson McDermott at 21:08 for eighth place. Meredith McDermott took 13th place at 21:53.