- Keith Hjelle
IKM-M Too Much for Chargers in "Friday Night Lights" Opener
A great deal of enthusiasm and expectation surrounded the 2018 edition of Charger "Friday Night Lights ," with first year coach Cody Matthewson at the helm. But a combination of IKM-Manning power running, speed, and a tenacious defense were too much for the Chargers, as they fell to the Wolves, 35-0, in the opening game of the season last night.
A traditional powerhouse in western Iowa, the visiting Wolves wasted little time in getting on the scoreboard. After the Chargers received the opening kickoff, they managed to pick up a first down at their own 36 yard line, but things stalled there and ACGC was forced to punt the ball away. IKM-Manning ran two plays for little gain before Kyler Rasmussen lofted a 48 yard touchdown pass to Grant Stracke to take a 6-0 lead, with the PAT making it 7-0.
Following a penalty on the ensuing kickoff, the Chargers started at their own ten yard line and moved the ball out to its own 28 yard line before having to punt again. The IKM-Manning punt return put the ball at the Charger 41 yard line. With Stephen Grimm doing most of the ball carrying, the Bulldogs punched another TD into the end zone. Following the PAT the Bulldogs took a 14-0 lead.
Gunnar Larsen took the following kickoff out to the IKM-Manning 20 yard line for the Chargers. Two plays later a Charger fumble was recovered on its own 1 yard line by the Bulldogs. The Bulldogs took advantage and scored on the next play and with the PAT stretched the lead to 21-0.
Charlie Crawford returned the ensuing kickoff out to the Charger 22 yard line. A stout IKM-M defense forced the Chargers to punt once again. A solid 35 yard punt by Kolby Jacobe put the ball on the IKM-Manning 44 yard line. On third down speedster Amos Rasmussen ran forty yards for the fourth Bulldog TD, giving the visitors a 28-0 lead .
After a 15 yard kickoff return to the ACGC 20 yard line, the Chargers put together one of their better drives of the evening. With Gaven Cornelison and Spencer Grove doing the rushing, ACGC moved the ball into Bulldog territory at the 35 yard line, only to get a 10 yard penalty that ended the drive and forced the Chargers to punt. The teams exchanged the ball one more time before the half ended with the locals trailing 28-0.
After the intermission IKM-M added another score, as Nathan Blankman Capped off a 55 yard drive with a 38 yard TD run. The PAT made the score 35-0, which ended the scoring for the night.
The Chargers best chance of scoring came on their final possession as they started on the IKM-M 38 yard line after Lucas Marsh recovered a fumble by the Wolves. With Grove and Ben Kingery carrying the ball, and with the aid of a a face mask penalty, ACGC drove to the visitor's two yard line only to have time expire.
Although the Chargers were outgunned Friday night, they continued to fight to the end. IKM-M is favored to win its Class A district this year, so the competition for the Chargers on Friday was very good. Better days lie ahead as the Charger coaching staff continues to develop the players and strives to improve the quality of play.
Coach Matthewson was more upbeat that one might expect when he said this after the game: "When you break it down we go back to our platform of the Charger Way. First, we are going to be the better conditioned team on the field. I know we were in better shape that IKM-M was. You could see it in their body language as the game went on. Second, we will be the more disciplined team on the field. This is where we lacked. When you look at everything, they had a total of 214 yards. We had twenty more offensive snaps than IKM-M did, but gave up 35 points. it was all discipline. Big plays on critical mental errors led to touchdowns and long third down conversions resulted in first downs because of critical mental errors and not getting lined up right or doing our 1/11th. Also not putting points on the board when we were inside the ten yard line hurt us as well. Third, We will never give up, no matter the situation. We battled for four quarters. Our kids never gave up no matter the situation."
Next up for ACGC is Woodward-Academy. The Chargers will travel to Woodward next Friday to face the Knights on the Woodward-Granger High School field at 7 PM.
IKM-M 21 7 7 0-35
ACGC 0 0 0 0- 0
Rushing: Gavin Cornelison (17 attempts, 62 yards); Ben Kingery (10--56); Spencer Grove (11--36);
Gabe Rowley (3--6); Bryce Littler (5--minus 10)
Passing: Bryce Littler: 1 attempt, 0 completions
Tackles: Solo Assists
Will Byars 1 0
Gavin Cornelison 1 0
Spencer Grove 0 1
Ben Kingery 3 3
Sam Madsen 2 0
Lucas Marsh 1 0
Dylan Soper 1 0
Mike ure 1 1
Avery Wheatley 5 2
Quynton Younker 1 2
Lucas Marsh 1