MOUNT AYR – Class 1A No. 9 Mount Ayr cruised to a win Friday night, winning over Central Decatur 49-14.
The Raiders jumped out to a lead early in the first quarter by way of an Isaac Grose rushing touchdown from 8 yards out. The score, with the point after, came at the 10:41 mark to give Mount Ayr a 7-0 lead.
Mount Ayr struck again under 2 minutes later, scoring with 8:51 left in the quarter on a Reece Knapp fumble recovery.
Later in the first, backed up inside its own 20, the Cardinals were forced to punt, but they dropped the snap for a punt inside their 5-yard line. The ball bounced around before Knapp picked it up for the score in the end zone.
A methodical run game continued to keep the ball moving for the Raiders, bringing them into the red zone again before the end of the first quarter.
A conversion on fourth down by Grose gave Mount Ayr a first-and-goal try and the following play a rush up the middle by Knapp made it 20-0.
The ensuing 2-point conversion failed, but a penalty gave the Raiders an opportunity to kick the extra point.
With a 21-0 deficit before the end of the first quarter, the Cardinals struggled to get anything working their way, but were able to put up points on the board as Matt Boothe connected with Michael Evertsen on an 11-yard score. The 2-point conversion was incomplete to keep it at 21-6.
Mount Ayr answered answered with a big 42-yard run by Payton Weehler with 2:17 left in the half, a metaphorical dagger to the Cardinals with still plenty of time left in the game.
Coming out of halftime with a sizable lead, the Raiders leaned into Central Decatur, scoring 21 unanswered points in the third quarter.
Weehler connected with Kolben Klommhaus for the 31-yard score and again threw to Cayden Lambert for the 13-yard score. A Stull point-after kick was the only good try, making it a 41-6 ballgame with 4:28 remaining in the third.
The Raiders again crossed the goal line on a long run as sophomore fullback Austin Cole ran it in for a 59-yard score with 2:48 remaining in the game.
Before the final whistle, the Cardinals ran in a 76-yard score off the legs of Cole Pedersen. His 2-point conversion pass to Devin Adams counted, making it 48-14 – the final.
Pedersen passed for 102 yards in the loss with one passing touchdown. He had 11 rushing attempts going for 130 yards and one touchdown.
Haden Leymaster had 10 receptions for 119 yards. Michel Evertsen had a receiving touchdown as part of his three catch, 21-yard day. Leymaster also had an interception.
Devin Adams led the Cardinals with six solo tackles, two coming for a loss. Colton Barnes and Dakota Reed both had five tackles and one sack.
After falling behind early, Central Decatur head coach Jon Pedersen felt that the Cardinals game out lacking the intensity that was expected entering Friday.
“I thought last week we competed very well and executed what our game plan was,” said Pedersen. “Whether you’re playing a team that is one of the best in (Class) 1A or not, you have to do what you’re asked to do and do it with great intensity. I was a little disappointed at the beginning of the game, I feel we didn’t come out with that intensity.
“Sometimes we’ve got great kids who know what they should do, but they see something and they doubt. They’ve got to quit doubting and believe. You face a team like that you’ve got to be ready to hammer and it feels like we weren’t ready to do that (Friday),” said Pedersen.
UP NEXT – Central Decatur (1-3) hosts Panorama (3-0) Friday. Kickoff comes at 7 p.m.
Panorama opened the season outscoring opponents 56-0 over the first two weeks of play.
Pedersen noted that a main focus of preparation heading into next week is getting healthy and back to 100-percent.
“We still aren’t hitting on all cylinders and hopefully we can get healthy heading into district play and see what happens there,” said Pedersen.