PELLA — It was homecoming week in the land of the Dutch as they welcomed one of the top teams in the class to town in No. 4 (4A) Xavier. Pella held a narrow lead after the first quarter but could not get anything going on offense from there as they fell to the Saints, 28-3.
The boys in green and white struck first in the opening quarter after a good punt return set them up with a short field. The Xavier defense would hold the Dutch to a 38-yard field goal attempt from Luke Hardman, who would blast it right through to give Pella a 3-0 lead after one.
Xavier got on the board in the second quarter with a little bit of trickery as a halfback pass from Will Hiserote would hit Alex Neal for a 15-yard touchdown to put the Saints in front 7-3 going into halftime.
Neal would lead the ground attack for Xavier in the second half as he added to his total with three rushing touchdowns in final two quarters of play. He finished the night with 127 yards on 16 carries while Xavier as a team had 234 rushing yards on 41 attempts (5.7 yards per carry).
The Dutch had a tough time in the trenches against Xavier as their run game was held to 76 yards on 28 carries (2.7 yards per carry) as the team dealt with significant injuries on both sides of the ball.
Quarterback Blake Meyer was 8-of-15 passing for 94 yards with his top target being Caleb Briggs, who caught four passes for 36 yards. Kenson Fuller led the ground attack with 25 yards on eight touches.
Defensively, Preston Rowe had a solid night with 6.5 tackles including one sack.
Neither team turned it over or committed a lot of penalties but Pella was held to 3-of-10 on converting third down and was 0-of-2 on fourth down conversions on the night.
Pella (2-4, 1-1) celebrate senior night this week on Friday at 7:30 p.m. when they host Oskaloosa (4-2, 0-2).
No. 4 (4A) Xavier 28, Pella 3
XHS 0 7 7 14
PHS 3 0 0 0
PHS — Hardman 38-yard FG is good (3-0, 8:16)
XHS — Hiserote pass to Neal for 15-yard TD. PAT is good (3-7, 8:44)
XHS — Neal 5-yard rushing TD. PAT is good (3-14, 6:28)
XHS — Neal 7-yard rushing TD. PAT is good (3-21, 8:46)
XHS — Neal 2-yard rushing TD. PAT is good (3-28, 2:48)
Pella Individual Stats
Passing — Meyer 8/15 94 yards
Rushing — Fuller 8-25, Pollock 6-22, Meyer 7-13, Clayberg 4-8, Knox 1-8, Kalkwarf 2-0
Receiving — Briggs 4-36, Rowe 1-24, Pollock 1-19, Weesner 1-10, Knox 1-5
Top-three tackles — Rowe 6.5, Briggs 4, Hardman 3.5
Sacks — Rowe 1