The Pella Dutch Football Team took on the Washington Demons nearly a whole year ago to date last Friday. The Dutch played the Demons at Washington in week two of the 2013 season and defeated them in a nail biter. Washington then came to town and snagged the Dutch a chance of playing at the UNI Dome in a 2013 quarterfinal matchup.
Fast forward to the 2014 season when the Dutch matched up against the Demons in the first week of the 2014 season. Pella won by a score of 35-0. Ironically enough, the Demons were paired up with the Dutch yet again in the quarterfinals in a home matchup for Pella. The players, along with everyone else involved in the Pella Football community, had a bitter taste in their mouths towards Washington because of the result of last year’s game.
“The loss to Washington last year to go to the UNI Dome was definitely bitter, but the feeling after the Washington game this year was unimaginable. I felt so relieved to finally get over that third game and now go to the dome with my best friends,” said senior Quinton Murphy.
The stands were packed on both sides of the field. Spectators from all over the state came to watch this matchup, knowing it was sure to be one for the books. Senior Ashley Kirkland was even cheering all the way from Washington D.C. and managed to clench an interview with Jay Harris, ESPN’s sports analyst on Sports Center.
“I was at the National Journalism Convention in Washington D.C where Jay Harris was a guest speaker. When he was done speaking I was taking video feed in the fifth row, and I ran up, introduced myself, and then asked for a shout out to the Pella Dutch,” said Kirkland.
On a chilly Friday night, the Demons struck first but the Dutch responded with 21 unanswered points. Once again the Demons scored, but with 51 seconds left in the half, the Dutch regained possession of the ball, and junior quarterback Noah Clayberg connected with junior wide receiver Will Warner for a touchdown.
“I thought it was a key drive because we were going into halftime with a one score lead, and when we scored it opened up the game plan a little more by giving us some breathing room,” said Warner.
Twice during the game, the Dutch drove down the field with some solid runs, but both were ended near the red zone. One drive was shut down with an interception and the other by a fumble.
“It was frustrating driving down the field and not being able to capitalize. Creating turnovers against ourselves brought down our momentum. This week against Xavier, we will need to clean up our mental mistakes and score on every drive we can,” said junior Austin Schulte.
The Dutch ended up not allowing the Demons another score throughout the rest of the game and came out on top with a 31-14 victory. The Dutch are now one of four teams left in Class 3A with the other three teams being Sioux City Bishop Heelan, Creston, and Xavier. The Pella Dutch have been matched up with the Xavier Saints on Thursday 11/13 at the UNI Dome.
“We need to stay focused on the game and not worry about playing in the UNI Dome or playing Xavier. We just have to come out and play our game,” said Schulte.
Xavier holds an overall record of 9-3. The Saints enter this matchup averaging 5.1 yards rushing whereas the Dutch are averaging 8.7. Controlling the line of scrimmage will be a key factor for the Dutch and their success at the UNI Dome.
“Establishing the line of scrimmage will win us the game. Against Washington, I thought our offensive line stepped it up to a new level. Xavier will have the fastest defense we have seen yet, but they won’t be able to handle our speed,” said junior Carter Terpstra.
Playing indoors sets up perfect conditions for Clayberg’s passing game. One of his main targets this season has been junior Payson VandeLune.
“We’re known as a run-dominate team, so teams try to put defenders inside to stop our run game. We’ve shown this year that we can throw the ball, and they have to cover us receivers. That keeps the defense guessing and really opens up the playbook,” said VandeLune.
Come out and support the Dutch this Thursday, Nov. 13. Official start time of the game is 8:21 p.m. The game will also be aired on KCWI, channel 23.