In a game that the Pella High Little Dutch led the majority of the way, the Winterset Huskies snagged victory from defeat.
The Huskies claimed their very first football championship in school history by forcing three Pella fumbles in the final 8:30 minutes of play into a 17-14 win at home.
The Class 3A District 8 triumph enabled both Pella and Winterset to tie for the district championship with identical marks of 5-1.
The two squads actually tie for the district title, but the No. 1 playoff spot in the district goes to the Huskies do to the head-to-head win over Pella last Friday night on a blustery and chilly night for football.
A very light mist filled the air at times throughout the contest, but it didn’t seem to faze either team very much.
Pella led 7-3 when Winterset’s Jake Bauer turned the game around with a 49-yard interception return with 8:13 left in the game for a 10-7 Husky lead.
A Winterset punt with 5:17 left pinned the Dutch deep in their own territory.
A Pella fumble was recovered in the end zone by Winterset’s Jeston Jobe with 5:00 left in the game for a stunning 17-7 lead.
The slightly 3-minute span is all it took for Winterset to score most of their points.
For the most part the Pella defense played a stellar game, facing the district’s No. 1 tailback, yardage wise, Noah Kaldenberg.
Kaldenberg was limited to just 41 yards on 18 attempts.
Pella led 7-0 on a 10-yard Josh De Waard touchdown pass to Daniel Langenfeld on the first play of the second quarter. Anthony Bentzinger tacked on the PAT kick.
The Dutch actually scored again late in the first half as Chris Brogden found the end zone from 30 yards out. The touchdown run was called back due to a holding penalty. The Pella drive stalled as the Dutch were called for three straight penalties that forced a first and 30 situation.
Winterset’s first points of the game came on a drive in the third quarter that started on their own six.
Five straight first downs and a questionable roughing the passer penalty on a halfback pass, moved the Huskies deep into Dutch territory.
The Pella defense stiffened and faced with a fourth and nine at the 15, the Huskies settled for a 32-yard field goal off the foot of Drue Coffman with 2:54 left in the third quarter.
Pella came right back and marched to the Winterset 22, where a fourth and one run was inches short, turning the ball over to Winterset with 10:37 left.
A short time later the Dutch started turning the ball over.
Even after the Dutch were down 17-7, they rallied back.
A 53-yard Pella drive ended on a 5-yard touchdown scamper by De Waard with 2:35 left to put the score at 1714.
Following a three and out situation for Winterset and a punt that again backed the Dutch up at their own 10 with 1:30 left, Pella marched forward.
With no timeouts left Pella had first down passes to Brandon Konfrst and Langenfeld.
The next Pella completed pass put the ball on the Winterset side of the 50 with 1:01 left, but a fumble occurred and the Huskies recovered to run out the clock.
“Our kids played well. They played hard with passion and heart,” stated Pella Coach Jay McKinstrey.
He added, “It’s a hard loss, one where we were in control most of the game. We had a couple of plays go against us and a couple of calls.”
McKinstrey replied, “I felt we were the better team.”
De Waard was 20-of-27 passing for 190 yards.
Jacob Vollmar hauled in five passes for 59 yards, Langenfeld had four for 44 yards and one score and Bryce Bortscheller had four catches for 13 yards.
Nathan Henry ran for 77 yards on 17 attempts.
Pella defensive tackle leaders were Kenny DuPre’ with nine, Nathan and Noach Clayberg with five each, as well as Christian Stafford with five.
Winterset had 55 yards passing in the game.
Odds and Ends
The Dutch end the regular season with a mark of 6-3 overall.
All three non-district opponents on the schedule, Marshalltown, Washington and Grinnell all qualified for the playoffs.
Winterset finished the season 6-3 overall.