Indians' rally comes up short in loss to No. 2 Tigers
By JIM GRIES Herald sports editor
If football fans like to see plenty of scoring, then Friday night’s Oskaloosa-Grinnell game would be a feast for their eyes.
The scoreboard operator at T.T. Cranny Field was very busy as the teams combined to put up 101 points as the second-ranked Tigers escaped with a 55-46 victory in non-district action.
“They’re a very fine football team which we knew they were,” Oskaloosa coach Mike Sterner said. “They have some very fine players, but so do we. We’re still young and inexperienced at what we’re doing. Our kids did some wonderful adjustments early on. We got a little frazzled near halftime and we responded really well in the second half, but we let up a little bit.
“It was wonderful to see our family go back on the field with our No. 2s and 3s in there and go right down the field and they did their job. I was real proud of them for that.”
The first possession of the game resulted in no touchdowns, but after that, it seemed like every possession resulted in a score.
After Grinnell scored on its first possession of the night, the Indians (0-2) answered with a 65-yard jaunt by Andrew Landgrebe as Nick Waters added the PAT to put Oskaloosa on top 7-6.
A fumble by the Tigers set up a 15-yard TD run by Jesse VanDalen as the Indians took a 13-6 lead midway in the first quarter.
Grinnell came back to tie it at 13 on a Bryce Lidtka scoring run, but Landgrebe, who rushed for a game-high 279 yards, ran for his second touchdown of the game on a 9-yard scamper to give Oskaloosa its final lead of the night at 19-13.
The 279 yards Landgrebe racked up in 30 carries is the fifth-highest in school history.
Then the Tigers took the game over and never looked back.
They outscored the Indians 35-7 in the next two quarters to go comfortably ahead 48-26 as Dunne, who completed 19 of 25 passes for 313 yards and four touchdowns, had three TD tosses in that span.
The Tigers increased the margin to 55-26 with 8:37 remaining in the contest and they were counting down the time to celebrate the win.
But the Indians were not ready to throw in the towels just yet.
Nate VanVeldhuizen culminated a seven-play, 74-yard drive with a 1-yard plunge to make it a 55-33 game.
The Indians forced the Tigers to punt on the next possession then reserve quarterback Joe Sterner scored on a 17-yard run with 20 seconds left to cut the margin to 16.
Jakup Janous successfully pulled off the onside kick with Riley Coniglio pouncing on the ball at the Grinnell 32.
A 26-yard pass from Joe Sterner to Blake Howard set up a five-yard TD pass from Sterner to Jeremy Schneider as time expired, putting the final at 55-46.
“I saw part of him on one then his teammates cheering for him which is the greatest feeling right there,” Mike Sterner said. “When our team just focuses on being our best, those are the type of things that can happen. It doesn’t matter what the scoreboard says, we just go out and play our game and our kids were ready to do that. They finished strong and that’s something to continue to build on.”
The Indians begin Class 3A, District 8 play this Friday at home against Carlisle.
Grinnell 55, Oskaloosa 46
O 19 7 0 20 — 46
G 13 21 14 7 — 55
G — Luke Hunold 16 pass from Eli Dunne (Kick failed), 9;37
O — Andrew Landgrebe 65 run (Nick Waters kick), 9:26
O — Jesse VanDalen 15 run (Run failed), 7:33
G — Bryce Lidtka 2 run (Christian Mertens kick), 5:53
O — Landgrebe 9 run (Kick failed), 2:51
G — Luke Honold 35 pass from Dunne (Mertens kick),11:52
G — Lidtka 3 run (Mertens kick), 8:55
G — Lidtka 7 pass from Dunne (Mertens kick), 3:40
O — Ryder Curtis 29 pass from VanDalen (Waters kick), :06
G — Mertens 9 pass from Dunne (Mertens kick), 9:32
G — Lidtka 2 run (Mertens kick), 2:59
G — Lidtka 8 run (Mertens kick), 8:37
O — Nate VanVeldhuizen 1 run (Waters kick), 5:47
O — Joe Sterner 17 run (Kick failed), :20
O — Jeremy Schneider 5 pass from Sterner (Waters kick), :00
First downs 25 31
Rushes-yards 51-364 25-219
Passing yards 76 313
Total yards 440 532
Att-Comp-Int 11-5-0 25-19-0
Punts 4-35.8 1-37.0
Fumbles-lost 1-1 1-1
Penalties-yards 12-90 7-74
Time/possession 23:43 24:17
RUSHING — Oskaloosa, Andrew Landgebe 30-279, Jared Pace 8-33, Nate VanVeldhuizen 9-30, Joe Sterner 2-17, Jesse VanDalen 2-15. Grinnell, Bryce Lidtka 13-122, Kenny Clark 5-80, Eli Dunne 4-18, Mitch Marlatt 1-4, Nate Oster 2-(-5).
RECEIVING — Oskaloosa, Ryder Curtis 1-29, Blake Howard 1-26, VanVeldhuizen 1-10, Andrew Silvers 1-6, Jeremy Schneider 1-5. Grinnell, Luke Honold 5-111, Lidtka 5-64, Christian Mertens 3-48, Griffin Reding 2-45, Clark 3-35, Garret Jay 1-12.
TACKLES — Oskaloosa, Riley Coniglio 12, Mason Wisse 12, Nick Rutledge 9, Curtis 7, Ki-Jana DeJong 7, VanVeldhuizen 4, TJ Boyle 3, Jimmy Brown 3, Max Johnson 3, Ethan Huyser 2, Pace 1, Andy Ruiz 1, Cody Bossard 1, Blake Palmer 1. Grinnell, Kyle Moore 13, Jared Keenan 9, Anthony Clayton 9.