Katie Lindsay's field goal lifts Van Meter football over West Sioux for Class 1A state championship
Those points — two successful point-after attempts and a crucial 27-yard field goal in the fourth quarter — were not only historic, but absolutely vital in the Bulldogs' 17-14 win over West Sioux in the Class 1A state championship game at the UNI-Dome.
"I tried not to think about it," Lindsay said afterward. "I just tried to do what I do best and just kick it.
"I don't think I've ever smiled so big in my life."
Lindsay knocked home a 27-yarder with 7:21 left in the fourth quarter of Thursday's title game, giving Van Meter a 17-7 lead at the time. It held up as the game-winner, lifting the Bulldogs' to the second state championship in school history.
Van Meter caps the 2021 season with a perfect 13-0 record. The Bulldogs are now a staggering 71-4 since 2016, a run that includes five state title game appearances and now two titles, in 2017 and again on Thursday.
The Bulldogs had reached the past two 1A state championship games. In 2019, West Lyon plowed through them, 50-14. Last season, OABCIG snatched victory from Van Meter in the final two minutes thanks to the late-game heroics of Cooper DeJean, now a freshman safety at Iowa.
Those November heartbreaks would not happen a third time. Van Meter toppled a game West Sioux squad thanks to the tough running of Dalten Van Pelt (122 yards on 26 carries) and the timely execution of quarterback Jack Pettit. He hit Chris Schreck for a 17-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter, then scored on a 1-yard run in the second.
Those points gave Van Meter a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter, but West Sioux battled back with a touchdown just before recess. Blake Van Ballegooyen hit Carter Bultman on a 1-yard touchdown pass to make it 14-7 at halftime.
Neither team budged much throughout the contest. Van Meter limited West Sioux's high-flying offense to just 269 yards — the Falcons, who finished 11-2, surpassed 500 total yards of offense against Dike-New Hartford in the semifinals — while the Bulldogs amassed just 252 themselves. Pettit was responsible for 132, with 111 passing and 21 rushing.
"They went out there and they earned it today, no question about it," Van Meter coach Eric Trudo said. "It's something this group set out to do since we lost last November."
West Sioux's first drive of the second half spanned 15 plays and went 54 yards, but ended in a turnover on downs just outside the red zone. Their second ended after just three plays, when Schreck hauled in an errant pass from Falcon quarterback Dylan Wiggins.
Van Meter took 14 plays to reach West Sioux's 11-yard line. On fourth down, Lindsay trotted out and knocked home her second field goal of the season. Her first was also a 27-yarder against ACGC in the state quarterfinals. Van Meter led 14-13 at the time, but went on to win 31-13.
Against West Sioux, Lindsay's field goal again proved pivotal. West Sioux brought loads of pressure off the edge, but none of the rushers came in time. The kick could've been good from 40 or better.
"She's amazing," Pettit said.
West Sioux charged downfield and came within a single possession. Wiggins hit Brady Lynott for a 31-yard touchdown with 4:24 left. Van Meter ensured they would not see the ball again, milking all remaining time off the clock thanks to a nine-play, 41-yard game-sealing drive, capped by a 17-yard pass from Pettit to Ganon Archer on third-and-11.
That sealed Van Meter's good fortunes. They've been on the wrong end of this game each of the past two seasons. But on Thursday, they got the job done and are state champions once again.
Cody Goodwin covers wrestling and high school sports for the Des Moines Register. Follow him on Twitter at @codygoodwin.