Top-ranked Tigers tame Bulldogs
October 28, 2011Ottumwa High School
DES MOINES — Click, click, boom.
It goes down that quick.
Like a well-oiled machine, the top-ranked West Des Moines Valley Tigers seldom miss a beat.
Case in point, Wednesday night at Valley Stadium as the Ottumwa Bulldog football team took on heavy favorite and top-ranked Valley in the first round of the Class 4A playoffs.
Valley trailing 7-0 after one quarter against upstart Ottumwa? No problem.
The talented Tigers (10-0) cruised into the next round of the Class 4A playoffs with a sleek and sexy 49-7 win over the Bulldogs.
“When you get in the playoffs like this, the best teams win,” said Valley head coach Gary Swenson. “Then eventually you hit those matchups where everybody has the same talent. Then it comes down to breaks and who is healthy.”
Ottumwa ends its season with a 3-7 mark — the first losing mark for a Bulldog team in 21 years.
“They came out and played well. Again it’s the same thing, we fumbled the ball and that turned the tide,” said Bulldog head coach Zach Wigle.
Valley hosts Urbandale (6-4) on Monday in the second round of the playoffs at the same venue that saw the Bulldogs see their upset bid evaporate in a hurry.
Valley — blessed with two dynamic backs and an adept passing game — scored 49 unanswered points and silenced any thought of a Bulldog upset with five drives worked to precision in a 35-point second quarter.
Game, set, match.
This was the second matchup between the two CIML schools and eighth in the last eight years. Valley has won those contests by a combined score of 343-96. Valley drilled Ottumwa 42-7 at Schafer Stadium early on in the regular season.
Ottumwa had Valley Stadium awestruck after OHS senior Ben Kramer darted 36 yards right side into the end zone. Ottumwa took over possession of the ball after a missed Valley field goal on its opening drive. Kramer caught a 38-yard pass from Alex Goodvin earlier in Ottumwa’s lone scoring drive.
Ottumwa’s 7-0 first-quarter lead was the first time Valley has trailed since the first week of the season.
“I was a little disappointed, but it wasn’t like we were over there shocked,” said Swenson about his team’s early hole.
Tiger backs swooped, swerved and lit the ignition for a powerhouse Tiger offense that minimizes every possession. After Valley’s first drive, Swenson’s unit scored on its next five drives to take a 35-7 halftime lead. Valley — a run-first squad which saw 70 percent of its offense derived from the ground this season — gained 250 yards rushing on Wednesday.
Ottumwa was held to just 88 rushing yards and after Ottumwa’s scoring drive there was little room to maneuver against Valley starters. Two interceptions and an early fumble second quarter didn't help the Bulldogs’ cause either.
Valley senior back Trey Lewis, explosive as they come in Class 4A, scored two first-half touchdowns and led all backs with 131 yards. His back-up, sophomore burner Tyus Mason, hit paydirt three times on the ground and added 70 yards rushing. Mason’s last scoring jaunt was a thing of beauty. He bolted up the middle, high-stepped down to the 20, then cut left, added another back-breaking move for good measure and pranced into the end zone from 37 yards out. That provided the game’s final score with 3:32.
Similar to the first meeting, a long pass and a punt return highlighted just how dangerous Valley is.
Valley quarterback Jeff Pullen hooked up with Tanner Hinkle on a 68-yard flag rout to the sideline for a score right before halftime. Hinkle would break Ottumwa once more with a 75-yard punt return for six points midway through the third quarter to enact the continuous clock. Hinkle returned a punt 84 yards for a score the first time he played the Bulldogs this season.
Kramer ended up with 96 total yards, 51 of those receiving. Goodvin passed for 101 yards on 7-of-19 throwing.
Valley has qualified for the semifinals in nine out of the last 12 years, but has failed to reach the quarterfinals in each of the past two seasons.
Swenson, who has guided Valley to four state titles since taking over the reins of his powerhouse program in 1995, gave a reason as to why his teams didn't play on the carpet of the UNI-Dome.
“Our teams just weren’t as strong the last two years. It’s all about your talent. It really is,” said Swenson. “We haven’t been coaching any different.”
Ottumwa also was defeated by Valley in the playoffs in 2008 by a score of 56-21.
The Bulldogs saw a season come to a close that didn’t include a conference championship under Wigle. Wigle had led Ottumwa to three-straight league titles in his first three years — two outright. Wigle graduates 15 seniors on his roster.
“It's been a great group of guys. They’ve improved as players and I think as guys. It was fun,” said Wigle.
West Des Moines Valley 49, Ottumwa 7
OTT 7 0 0 0 - 7
WDMV 0 35 14 0 - 49
O - Ben Kramer 36 run (Guillermo Rodriguez kick) 3:07
V - Trey Lewis 8 run ((Nick Galles kick) 10:53
V - Tyus Mason 3 run (Galles kick) 10:13
V - Mason 5 run (Galles kick) 6:25
V - Lewis 3 run (Galles kick) 2:23
V - Tanner Hinkle 68 pass from Jeff Pullen (Galles kick) 0:59
Hinkle 75 punt return (Galles kick) 7:45
V - Mason 37 run (Galles kick) 3:32
Rushes-yards 26-88 31-250
Passing yards 101 160
Total yards 189 410
Comp-Att-Int 7-24-2 7-13-0
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 1-1
Rushing - Ben Kramer 9-45, Seth Griffiths 7-28, Alec Maas 6-13, Ron Forney 3-6, Alex Goodvin 1-(-4).
Passing - Goodvin 7-19-101, Kramer 0-4-0, Adam VanFleet 0-1-0.
Receiving - Kramer 3-51, Griffiths 2-32, Kyle Keck 2-18.
West Des Moines Valley
Rushing - Trey Lewis 18-131, Tyus Mason 6-70, Brandon Ellingson 2-20, Jeff Pullen 1-20, Dan Maurer 2-8, Michael Christianson 1-2, Nick Harrington 1-(-1).
Passing - Pullen 7-12-160, Tanner Stine 0-1-0.
Receiving - Tanner Hinkle 2-77, Brody Baumann 2-38, Ellingson 1-20, Harrington 1-15, Clint Boffeli 1-10.