Depending on one’s cultural preference, the start of the 2013 football campaign for North Mahaska was either a Comedy of Errors or Little Shop of Horrors.
Mistakes, both physical and mental, allowed Belle Plaine to escape with a 21-14 gridiron win Friday. It was the season opener for both teams.
Throughout the game North Mahaska was unable to maintain momentum. Penalties and missed assignments negated a number of solid positive plays. The results brought feelings of aggravation on the faces of the team and staff.
“We can’t make mistakes,” said North Mahaska coach Steve Ehret. “The first half was a comedy of errors or a house of horrors. It was bad. We had a chance and I didn’t give us a chance to succeed.”
North Mahaska took the ball on the opening drive and moved it to the Belle Plaine 39, but the drive stalled. Belle Plaine then advanced the ball to the North Mahaska four before coughing up the ball to the hosts. The Warhawks had a penalty then some bad snaps and ultimately Belle Plaine received the ball at the Warhawk 25. Two plays later Plainsman quarterback Trey Squiers hit Vance Bohlen on a 26-yard pass for the first score of the game. The kick missed.
More miscues greeted the Warhawks in the second quarter. Bohlen and company took advantage and added another score and two-point conversion for a 14-0 lead at intermission.
Belle Plaine received the opening kick and on the second play North Mahaska’s Justin Richards grabbed a fumble. North Mahaska was then aided by a good run by Trey Rutledge and a roughing the passer call to get the ball to the Plainsman 14, but could advance no further.
North Mahaska’s A.J. Hibler earned a sack and forced Belle Plaine to punt again. North Mahaska was able to get the ball on the Belle Plaine 26 and an 18-yard pass from Richards to Jakob Bortell to set up a first-and-goal at the one. The next play Karrson Stodghill plowed in for the score. On the extra point try North Mahaska was whistled for a holding call and a dead ball unsportsmanlike call forcing the extra point try from the 35-yard line.
Ehret said his team just has to perform better in those situations.
“I have to do better down there,” said Ehret. “We saw some good things in people and some not so good things.”
The backbreaking play for the Warhawks came just past the mid-point of the fourth quarter. They had held Belle Plaine at the North Mahaska 34, but fumbled on the first play of the drive giving the Plainsman the ball 34 yards away. Bohlen rambled 25 yards for the score and Ryan Janss kicked to take a 21-6 lead.
North Mahaska took the next drive and manufactured a brilliant drive. Richards was able to take advantage of the Plainsman defense to move the ball down to the 13-yard line. With two minutes to play Stodghill rolled in for the score.
“They were in prevent, so we were throwing underneath,” said Ehret. “They had four guys back so we just throw underneath. Justin did a nice job. On the last play we thought we would trap. We almost missed it, but we got the trap and Karrson made a nice run.”
Belle Plaine was able take the kickoff and run the clock out.
“There are moral victories,” said Ehret. “I am not happy and they should not be happy. This is a game we should have won. We didn’t execute and that is all of us from coaches down to the players. Everyone has to get better. And we will.
“I thought Jakob Bortell, a sophomore, had some good hits and ran the ball well. Karrson did some nice things. When we threw Justin threw pretty well. Chase, Gage, those people caught the ball down the field. Jakob made a nice catch down there. We did some nice things. We didn’t do enough positive things to win.”
Stodghill led the North Mahaska rushing with 89 yards on 27 touches. Bortell had 22 yards on three carries and Rutledge added 11 on five. Richards was 8-for-15 passing for 83 yards.
Five players had receptions for the Warhawks. Trent Wanders caught two for 24 yards to lead the way. Defensively, Brock Pollpeter led with 14 tackles. Hibler had 11, Bortell had nine and Taylor Legvold had seven. Dakota Hudnut along with Stodghill and Richards each had a fumble recovery.