It was a classic football match up between a pair of highway 163 rivals when the Pella Christian Eagles and the Oskaloosa Indians met for battle on the turf of the Lacey Complex Stadium in Oskaloosa Friday night.
It was a typical first game for both teams as they each showed moments of brilliance that marks them as contenders for the title in their respective districts. But there were areas that both teams will be working to improve before they get into district play.
For three quarters the two teams fought it out with the Eagles gaining a 22-19 edge going into the final stanza. But the inability to gain field position was costly to the Eagles.
Oskaloosa used a field goal and a touchdown in the fourth quarter and both scoring drives began with a short field in Eagle territory.
Oskaloosa tallied a field goal as the fourth quarter began from Carson Genskow from 31 yards out to tie the score at 22-22. On the ensuing Pella Christian possession a pair of penalties pinned them deep and a short punt gave the Indians the ball on the PC 45. Eight plays later the Indians scored with Tyler Miller diving in from two yards out to set the final score at 29-22.
After a scoreless first period, the Indians scored two quick touchdowns to start the second quarter. The first came after a fumble recovery that set the Indians up on the PC 47 yard line. Five plays later William Schultz found Wyatt Krier open for an 18 yard scoring strike. The PAT failed and the Indians had a 6-0 lead.
The Eagles could not move the ball on the next series as penalties pinned them deep in their own territory. Oskaloosa was able to take over on the PC 28. Five plays later, Miller squirmed in from three yards out and Genskow kicked the PAT for a 13-0 Osky lead.
The Eagles found some traction on the next series and moved 68 yards in six plays to score. A seven yard slash by Dan Jungling was set up by a 23 yard rumble by Cody Boender and a 25 yard strike from Jungling to Jace Amelse. Boender would run for the two points to cut the deficit to 13-8.
The Indians appeared to be on their way to another score when Jungling picked off a pass to give the Eagles the ball on the PC 23. Krier returned the favor by picking off an Eagle pass at the Indian one to snuff the drive.
But the interception bug was still in the air and a big line rush tipped the ball into the air where Kyle Branderhorst grabbed the ball at the Osky four. On the next play, Boender bulled his way into the end zone. Jungling ran for the two points and the Eagles had a 16-13 lead.
Oskaloosa had an answer as they moved 64 yards in nine plays and scored on a one yard run by Schultz with one second left in the first half. The PAT kick failed and the Indians took a 19-16 lead into intermission.
The Eagles would put the only third quarter points on the board when Amelse went up with a pair of defenders and pulled in a Jungling pass for six points. The PAT kick failed, but the Eagles had a 22-19 lead. The table was set for the fourth quarter, but it was the Indians that came to dinner.
It was Schultz that was a thorn in the side of the Eagles all night. The diminutive sophomore signal caller was a giant in this game as he rushed for 109 yards and threw for 193 more.
Jungling led the Eagles with 65 yards on the ground and 169 yards in the air. Amelse was the leading receiver with five catches for 77 yards. On the defensive side of the ball, Boender was in on 11 tackles and David Willis had nine stops.
“Osky is a very good team,” Eagle coach Rich Kacmaryinski said. “They are well coached and very physical. But we are a good team also and we did some good things tonight. Our offense did well against a tough defense. Mistakes in the secondary were costly and that is an area we will be working to improve.”
Up next the Eagles will be facing another tough customer in Van Meter on Eagle Lane Friday at 7 p.m. Van Meter is ranked 3rd in 1A.
PC opened the season ranked No. 9 by the Des Moines Register in Class 1A.