MOUNT AYR — Mount Ayr co-head coach Delwyn Showalter said Friday’s game was the best his team has looked yet this year.
And it was easy to see why, as the Raiders rolled to a 61-13 win in the district opener against Colfax-Mingo here on “Shaken Baby Syndrome Awareness Night.”
“I thought in all three phases — offense, defense and special teams — it was our most complete effort of the year so far,” Showalter said. “We hope there’s even better ones to come. We were clicking in all parts of the game.”
The Raider rushing attack ran on all cylinders Friday night, picking up 322 yards on 40 carries, averaging 8 yards per carry as a team.
Mount Ayr, ranked second in Class 1A by the Des Moines Register, powered its way to a touchdown quickly in the first quarter, marching 69 yards down the field on eight plays — seven of which were runs. Senior quarterback Jacob Sobotka capped the drive with a 3-yard dive up the middle for a score.
The Raider defense was tasked with trying to stop Colfax-Mingo’s high-powered spread passing attack. The Tigerhawks converted on a third-and-6 on their opening drive, but the Raiders stuffed them after that.
Less than five minutes after the first score, Mount Ayr had already found its way back into the end zone, as Caleb Schnoor scored on a 5-yard run to the right side.
Schnoor’s touchdown run was set up by a Sobotka completion to Kyle Dolecheck on a fade route down the sideline. Dolecheck went up over two defenders to make the catch, took a hard hit and got a foot down inbounds, while hanging onto the ball for the catch.
“We threw the ball really well,” Showalter said. “I thought that was as good a night as Jake has had throwing the ball. He had a lot of touch on the ball and hit our receivers extremely well.”
Sobotka completed 11 of 17 passes for 196 yards. He also picked up 108 yards on the ground.
One receiver who benefitted from Sobotka being on his game in the passing game was junior Lincoln Martin.
Martin caught three passes for 62 yards — all of them resulting in touchdowns. Martin scored from 20 yards, 10 yards and 32 yards.
“He ran some really crisp routes and once he caught the ball, he got upfield with it,” Showalter said about Martin. “I thought it was probably his best ballgame, at least on the offensive side, but he also had to work his tail off defensively, as well.”
Showalter praised Martin, Dolecheck, Erik Freed and Jacob Taylor for their effort defensively defending the Tigerhawks’ receivers, and for coming back to play offense, as well.
Dolecheck intercepted two passes on the defensive side of the ball, while Freed picked off one. Dolecheck finished with four catches for 73 yards on offense, while Freed caught two balls for 33 yards. They both ran the ball well, too, as Dolecheck finished with 34 rushing yards on two carries and Freed carried five times for 44 yards and a score.
Mount Ayr held Colfax-Mingo’s passing attack in check, giving up 188 yards through the air — much of which came against the Raider reserves. The Tigerhawks managed just 3 rushing yards in the contest.
“I felt really good about the way we defended them,” Showalter said. “I thought we took away the things they wanted to do. Their quarterback had been picking up a few yards on the ground. I think he was averaging about 70 yards a game, and we held them to 3 yards rushing.”
Mason Mercer blocked a punt in the end zone and fell on the ball for a touchdown during the third quarter. Cody Stackhouse blocked a kick in the game for the Raiders.
The Raiders, now 4-0 for the season and 1-0 in Class 1A District 7, move on to take on Des Moines Christian on Friday in the Raiders’ homecoming game.
Prior to the game, a special ceremony was held in conjunction with “Shaken Baby Syndrome Awareness Night.”
After the Raider players made their entrance in “the swarm,” senior Cody Stackhouse presented a football signed by all the Raider players to D.J. Turpen, of Afton, and his family.
Turpen, 5, suffers from the effects of Shaken Baby Syndrome. Turpen, who was shaken as an infant still cannot walk and has a very limited vocabulary.
The Connor Cares Foundation raised funds through the sale of calendars, posters and shirts.
“There were two babies injured in Iowa in July after being shaken by an adult,” said Patty Eaton of the Connor Cares Foundation. “One is suffering daily seizures and is now blind and the second child was taken off of life support by her parents.”
Showalter said the ceremony was a reminder for his players to keep everything in perspective.
“It really was an emotional deal for our guys,” Showalter said. “Patty with the Connor Cares Foundation has visited with our kids several times, and I think it really hit home for us Friday night when D.J. Turpen and his family was there.
“Just to see that little guy’s eyes light up when we handed him the football, that was something,” Showalter continued. “I think our guys understood the enormity of that situation. Here’s a kid who is never going to get the opportunity to play football. We were glad to be a part of that (ceremony) and hopefully raise awareness for Shaken Baby Syndrome, and hopefully we gave DJ and his family a little lift on Friday night.”
Mount Ayr 61, Colfax-Mingo 13
C-M 0 6 0 7 - 13
MA 13 22 12 14 - 61
MA — Jacob Sobotka 3 run (Zach Vanderflught kick), 9:11
MA — Caleb Schnoor 5 run (2-pt. failed), 5:16
MA — Lincoln Martin 20 pass from Sobotka (Joe Ricker run), 11:43
MA — Martin 10 pass from Sobotka (Kick failed), 3:16
MA — Martin 32 pass from Sobotka (Kyle Dolecheck pass from Sobotka), 3:16
CM — Jared Myers 35 interception (2-pt. failed), :16
MA — Erik Freed 4 run (Kick failed), 8:11
MA — Mason Mercer blocked punt (Kick failed), 5:38
MA — Logan Stark 1 run (Nick Wurster kick), 9:23
CM — Tim Blood 11 pass from Myers (Brady DeJoode kick), 7:34
MA — Jacob Beamgard 1 run (Wurster kick), 3:01
Rushing: CM - Jake Lietz 2-11, Tim Blood 1-11, Sam Smith 3-9. MA - Jacob Sobotka 10-108, Erik Freed 5-44, Kyle Dolecheck 2-34, Cody Stackhouse 5-33, Jacob Beamgard 4-28, Grant Staats 6-26, Ben Saville 1-21, Riley Weehler 1-8, Dawson Knapp 1-7, Caleb Schnoor 1-5, Logan Stark 3-5, Jacob Taylor 1-3.
Passing: CM - Jared Myers 15-33-3 for 188 yards. MA - Jacob Sobotka 11-17-1 for 196 yards.
Receiving: CM - Blake Summy 7-99, Jake Lietz 2-32, Sam Smith 2-22, Juan Gonzales 1-17, Nate Smith 2-14, Tim Blood 1-11. MA - Kyle Dolecheck 4-73, Lincoln Martin 3-62, Erik Freed 2-33, Cody Stackhouse 1-18, Jacob Taylor 1-10.
Tackles (solo-assists): MA - Jacob Taylor (3-4), Caleb Schnoor (2-4), Cody Stackhouse (2-4), Riley Weehler (1-4), Jacob Sobotka (1-4), Mason Mercer (2-2), Lincoln Martin (2-1), Joe Ricker (1-2), Grant Staats (2-0), Jake Ricker (1-1), Jed McCreary (0-2), Erik Freed (1-1), Trevor Gooding (2-0), Clay Wimer (1-1).
Interceptions: MA - Kyle Dolecheck 2, Erik Freed 1, Blake Butler 1.