GREENFIELD — The “Battle for the Rock II” got off to a sloppy start here Friday, as the first two plays from scrimmage both resulted in lost fumbles.
But after those first two plays, it didn’t take long for Jacob Sobotka and the Mount Ayr offense to look like a well-oiled machine in a 43-0 win over Nodaway Valley in the second edition of the trophy game.
On the fourth play of Mount Ayr’s second possession, Sobotka carried the ball up the middle, cut to the right sideline and ran 43 yards for a touchdown.
From that point forward, it was all Mount Ayr.
After a Nodaway Valley three-and-out, Erik Freed returned a punt to the NV 26-yard line. Freed would cap off a nine-play drive with a 3-yard score to put the Raiders up 15-0 after a 2-point conversion.
“We were pretty happy with the way we performed,” Mount Ayr co-head coach Derek Lambert said. “I thought we executed really well. I thought the kids fought through the adversity of the heat. We’ve worked on a few new plays this year, and we did a good job with those. There’s a few things we have to correct, but overall, I thought we really performed well.”
Mount Ayr kept things going when Lincoln Martin took a shovel pass from Sobotka on a third-and-seven play, and went 55 yards for a touchdown, closing out the first quarter.
Riley Weehler then capped off a six-play drive with a 1-yard touchdown run to make the score 30-0 Mount Ayr with 9:01 left in the second quarter.
The Raiders scored three rushing touchdowns in the first half, scored by three different players.
“Our speed is a lot better this year than it’s been in the past,” Lambert said. “We’ve got a lot of threats from a lot of different positions. One of our biggest surprises is probably our fullback. Riley Weehler looks much faster than last year. With Erik Freed, Lincoln Martin and Cody Stackhouse, we’ve got a lot of threats. We have a lot of guys who can run the ball and catch the ball. We can really spread the ball around, and I think it’s going to make it hard for teams to prepare for us.”
Mount Ayr took a commanding 37-0 lead into the half after Sobotka connected with sophomore Jacob Taylor for a 90-yard touchdown with 7:07 to go in the half.
“Jacob (Sobotka) has worked really hard on his passing game — throwing the ball, being able to roll out and throw on the run,” Lambert said. “The long pass to Jacob Taylor, that’s something Jacob’s been missing the past couple of years is the touch. And boy, he really showed the touch on that one.”
Sobotka finished the game 7-of-13 passing for 194 yards and two touchdowns, while also racking up 117 yards and two touchdowns on the ground on eight carries. He added a 50-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.
“We wanted to throw it more than we did, but Nodaway Valley was really taking away that part of our game, and our perimeter game,” Lambert said. “They really forced us to run it between the tackles.”
Facing a team as physical and deep as Mount Ayr is proved to be a daunting task for a Nodaway Valley team low on numbers to begin with and playing shorthanded for Friday’s game. The Wolverines feature inexperience at several positions.
“The first play of the game, the kickoff, our starting offensive tackle (Colton Garside) went down and he didn’t play all game,” Nodaway Valley head coach Steve Shantz said. “Give it to Mount Ayr, they’ve got one heck of a ball club. We did some good things, we also struggled, too. The one great thing was, I thought we fought all the way to the end.”
Sophomore quarterback Jackson Lamb finished the game 6-of-19 passing for 69 yards and led the team in rushing with 22 yards on five carries.
“He did a great job,” Shantz said about Lamb. “He’s a real competitor. We know he’s going to do some good things. We also know we have to take the good with the bad. I was really impressed with his first game out there as a sophomore.”
Senior TJ Bower, out for football for the first time, was Lamb’s leading receiver with three catches for 36 yards. Zach Plymesser added 29 yards on two receptions.
Nodaway Valley mounted drives on several occasions, but couldn’t come away with any points.
“I think there’s some things we can take out of there as a success,” Shantz said. “We’re going to take this week and make sure we really pride ourselves on finishing out. We did a lot of good things out there against a good team.”
Mount Ayr hosts Bedford on Friday, while Nodaway Valley travels to Griswold.
Mount Ayr 43, Nodaway Valley 0
MA 23 14 7 0 - 43
NV 0 0 0 0 - 0
MA — Jacob Sobotka 43 run (Zach Vanderflught kick), 9:38
MA — Erik Freed 3 run (Sobotka run), 4:26
MA — Lincoln Martin 55 run (Riley Weehler pass from Dawson Knapp), :02
MA — Weehler 1 run (Vanderflught kick), 9:01
MA — Jacob Taylor 90 pass from Sobotka (Vanderflught kick), 7:07
MA — Sobotka 50 run (Vanderflught kick), 4:48
Rushing: MA - Jacob Sobotka 8-117, Logan Stark 2-21, Jacob Beamgard 2-17, Grant Staats 3-13, Jacob Taylor 2-10, Erik Freed 3-9, Riley Weehler 3-8, Caleb Schnoor 2-7, Ben Saville 2-6. NV - Jackson Lamb 5-22, Jaydn Erlandson 12-1, Josh Allsup 3-1.
Passing: MA - Jacob Sobotka 7-13-0 for 194 yards. MA - Jackson Lamb 6-19-1 for 69 yards.
Receiving: MA - Jacob Taylor 1-90, Lincoln Martin 1-55, Erik Freed 3-26, Kyle Dolecheck 1-12, Casey Paxson 1-11. MA - TJ Bower 3-36, Zach Plymesser 2-29, Baley Shantz 1-4.
Tackles (solo-assists): MA -Riley Weehler (5-5), Kyle Dolecheck (2-4), Logan Stark (1-3), Lincoln Martin (2-0), Caleb Schnoor (3-1), Grant Staats (3-1), Cody Stackhouse (2-3), Jake Ricker (3-2), Joe Ricker (1-2), Jed McCreary (1-2), Jay Blair (0-3), Wyatt jackson (0-2), Rhett Murphy (2-1).