Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

October 28, 2013

Turnovers costly for M-D in season finale

Steve Woodhouse
Journal-Express

Melcher-Dallas — The Melcher-Dallas High School football season came down to the final game Friday night versus Meskwaki Settlement, with the winner earning fourth place in the district and a playoff berth. The Saints struggled and fell 38-34. 

On a night where the Saints took part in a Pink Out, the team opened up the scoring early. With 7:42 left in the first quarter, Junior Alex Mitchell connected with fellow Junior Chase Wetterling for a 50-yard strike. Junior Jacob Hoch took the ball in for the two-point conversion to put the Saints up 8-0. 

Two plays later, Hoch recovered a Meskwaki fumble. Back on offense, Hoch ran the ball in for a score to put the Saints up 14-0. 

Melcher-Dallas struck one more time, with 1:48 left in the half to go up 20-0. The score followed a big gain on third and eight. Wetterling took the ball in from seven yards out for the score. 

The Saints' defense remained tough and kept the Warriors off of the scoreboard in the first half. Waylon Bock helped the effort with a sack to push the threatening Warriors back. 

If not for a holding call on the ensuing possession, the Saints would have put up six more on another nice Mitchell-Wetterling connection. The Saints went for it on fourth and ten, but turned the ball over on downs. 

Meskwaki got nowhere on this possession and fumbled. Senior Troy Lee picked the ball up for the Saints. The Warriors turned it over once more on an interception by Mitchell before the half. 

After the break, the Saints struggled defensively. Meskwaki was able to drive down the field and get on the board to bring the score to 20-8. 

The Saints were stopped on the ensuing possession, and the Warriors were able to put another eight on the board with 5:39 left in the third. Four minutes later, Meskwaki had taken the lead 24-20. 

An interception ended a nice drive the Saints had going as the third quarter came to a close. The ball was returned to put the Warriors up 30-20. The Saints threw a total of five interceptions in the game. 

As time ticked down in the fourth, Mitchell marched his team downfield. He capped the drive off with a 20-yard run to bring the Saints to within four. Following a failed two-point conversion, the score was 30-26. 

Melcher-Dallas recovered its own onside kick and was able to start from its own 35, before the team was intercepted on the second play of the drive. A pick in the end zone ended another nice drive for the Saints on the next possession. 

The Saints caught a break on the next Meskwaki drive as a fumble was returned by Brock Breese to give the Saints the lead, 34-30, following a two-point conversion by Mitchell. 

The Warriors responded with their own long air strike, which capped off a drive that ended with another Meskwaki TD with 48 seconds left in the game. The Warriors were up 38-34 after a successful conversion. 

The Saints were buried deep in their own territory as the ball was in the offense's hands one last time. The drive, the game and the Saints' season, ended with an interception. 

Coach Mike Horstman told his team that he was proud of them. He said a 5-4 season is still one to be proud of. With much of his team returning next year, he believes there is a lot of potential for an even better 2014 campaign from the Saints.