By Perry Bell Sports Editor
The Journal Express
---- — Led by their defense the Pella High Little Dutch knocked off cross-county rival Knoxville last Friday evening at Ken Locke Stadium in Knoxville 33-0.
The win elevated the Dutch, ranked No. 3 in Class 3A at the time by the Des Moines Register, to 4-0 overall and 1-0 in Class 3A District 8.
The Panthers are still in search of that elusive first win after slipping to 0-4 overall and 0-2 in the district.
Knoxville received the opening kickoff but could only get the ball out to their own 15.
A fumble on first down lost six yards for the Panthers. A tackle in the backfield on second down set up third and long.
KHS quarterback Jared McClung was tackled in the end zone on third down as the Dutch defense put up the first points of the game for a 2-0 lead.
Pella fumbled the ensuing kick and Knoxville’s Tanner Dunkin pounced on the loose pigskin.
Knoxville mounted one first down before being forced to punt.
The Dutch marched 68 yards on their first offensive possession of the night for a score. The touchdown was a one-yard run into the end zone by Austin Schulte with 4:26 left in the opening quarter.
The PAT kick by Seth Johnson put the score at 9-0.
Knoxville again was penned up deep in their own end of the field. That soon changed as Dunkin broke loose for a 40-yard gain. The drive stalled the Panthers punted.
With time running out in the quarter, the Panthers were faced with fourth and long following a Dutch quarterback sack.
KHS head coach Troy Rider, pulled a trick play, by calling for a fake punt.
Panther punter Tanner Dunkin hit sophomore Deon Snyder with a 27-yard gain that resulted in a KHS first down at the Dutch 35.
On the drive that continued Knoxville picked up another first down as McClung hit Ross Shelford for a 7-yard gain to the Dutch 22.
The Panther drive reached the Dutch 15, before a chop block moved the Panthers back to the 33. A fourth down pass failed.
The Dutch took over on their own 32 and a drive of 5:03 that went 68 yards ended with a one-yard touchdown run by Nathan Henry with 4:55 left in the half for a 16-0 Pella lead.
Pella tacked on one more later score in the first half as quarterback Noah Clayberg hit Bryce Bortscheller on a 22-yard touchdown pass for a 23-0 lead at the intermission.
Noah Clayberg picked off a Panther pass to end the first half.
Scoring slowed in the second half.
A 25-yard field goal attempt by the Dutch was blocked by the Panthers early in the third quarter.
With 3:09 left in the third the Dutch were on the board again as Lukas Steenhoek capped a 75-yard Pella drive with a one-yard dive into the end zone for a 30-0 lead.
Pella’s Greg Frommelt picked off a Panther pass that set u the final score of the night a 28-yard field goal by Seth Johnson with 1:19 left in the third for a 33-0 score.
Early in the fourth quarter Pella’s Lukas Steenhoek picked off a Knoxville pass to stall the Panthers.
Knoxville returned the favor with a defensive pass interception of their own by Skyler Cunningham.
Luke Bachman led the KHS defense with 10 tackles and Jac Agan was in on nine stops.
Brandon Iddings had seven tackles for the Panthers and Justin Lenger six.
“A lot of it’s a young team,” Knoxville Coach Troy Rider said. “That’s the second-best team in the state. That’s probably the best team we’ve faced in the four years I’ve been here.”
Rider told his team they made too many mistakes during the game. He offered much credit to Pella for its performance. Rider also said he had to move some players around on his offensive line.
“Being young, it’s hard to learn more than one spot,” Rider said.
Pella Coach Jay McKinstrey replied, “After a tough game last week against Grinnell, I’m glad to see you come out and play hard tonight.”
McKinstrey added, “We played a decent football team tonight. Knoxville hit hard and came ready to play.”
Pella senior all-state linebacker Nathan Clayberg stated,”There is always room for improvement. We have a lot of talented players on this team, especially on the defensive side of the ball.”
Clayberg had several tackles behind the line of scrimmage and proved to be one of several Pella defenders, who were tough for the Panthers to block.
When asked about his game, Clayberg said, “Coach Vos has told me I need to get crazier on the field. I just took my reads and filled the gaps tonight.”
“Our goal is to get better every game,” Clayberg said.
When asked about the play of his brother, who has stepped in to quarterback the team.
Clayberg commented, “There is nobody on this earth, who is a bigger fan of my brother (Noah), than me, unless of course it is my mom. Noah is a great player and he keeps gaining confidence each time he plays.”
The Knoxville Panthers will step out of district play Friday to face Dallas Center-Grimes for homecoming starting with kickoff at 7:30 p.m.
“We’ve just got to play well,” Rider said of tonight’s game. “Win or lose, we’ve got to play well. We’ve got to feel better about where we’re at, and I think the guys will stay engaged and we’ll be okay.”
The Pella Dutch will also celebrate Homecoming 2013 by hosting the Carlisle Wildcats Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Odds and Ends
It was reported that McClung threw a 24-yard touchdown pass in the Winterset game. The receiver who caught his first touchdown pass of the season for the Panthers on the play was freshman Trent Davis.