It was almost an all too accustomed scene.
Carroll needed a score late. They were deep in their own territory. Time was more of an enemy than a friend.
The Tigers had the ball on their own 30 yard line, tied with MOC-Floyd Valley in the fourth quarter.
The first three plays didn’t move the Tigers down the field very much at all. That’s when they decided to unleash a play they had been building on all night. “We set them up by hitting (Zach) Dirkx on a couple short hitches and then on a third down, hit them with a stop and go route,” Carroll High head coach Craig Rowedder said.
The stop and go route tricked the MOC-Floyd Valley defense into thinking it was another short route. The defender stopped to try to jump the route, but Dirkx escaped down field.
Senior quarterback Ethan Lengeling saw his wide open receiver and unleashed a bomb. Dirkx secured the catch and ran untouched into the endzone for a 70-yard go-ahead score.
“Ethan understands that we make play calls in certain situations to set up other plays later in the game,” Lengeling said. “His touchdown throw in the fourth quarter was an example of that. We had set up the defensive back on our left side with some short passes to Dirkx and then when we felt like we had him baited in, we had Dirkx run a double move and it worked just like you would draw it up.
“Our seniors are confident in each other and trust each other. I think that’s a big part of why we are seeing them make the big plays at the end of games and enabling us to come out with victories.”
With the score in the fourth quarter the Tigers were able to take a 13-6 advantage over MOC-Floyd Valley. The defense for Carroll would continue to lock down the Dutchmen, and the Tigers were able to win their second-straight game with a fourth quarter score.
“We don’t panic in close games,” Rowedder said. “Our kids have responded to adversity all season long and now that we have pulled out wins in a couple close games, our guys are expecting to win and that’s great to see.”
Carroll started the game with the lead. Early in the game the Tigers were able to strike when Lengeling was able to connect with Cooper Ludwig on a 37-yard touchdown pass.
That lead continued to hold strong for the Tigers through halftime.
MOC-Floyd Valley was able answer early in the third when they scored on a 57-yard touchdown run. Carroll kept the game tied with a blocked PAT.
For the rest of the game Carroll’s defense never allowed another big play from the Dutchmen.
“We applied a lot of pressure the entire night,” Rowedder said. “Our defensive ends were in the backfield their majority of the game and we usually had a linebacker blitzing as well. Their quarterback didn’t have a lot of time to read anything past his primary target. Our defensive backs knew going in that they were going to be relied on to cover their man one on one and they also stepped up to the challenge.”
The Dutchmen finished with 208 total yards of offense. MOC-Floyd Valley had 106 total yards rushing. They threw the ball nine times for 102 yards.
One reason why the Dutchmen didn’t attack the air as much was because of the defense of Carroll. On the night the Tigers had four interceptions.
Gus Collison was a ball hawk throughout the night on Friday as he grabbed a total of three interceptions and returned those for a total of 47 yards. Nick Macke finished the game with one interception.
Turnovers were a common theme. Jireh Gallegos recovered a fumble for the Tigers as well.
Lengeling completed 12 of his 26 passes for 188 yards. He also threw two touchdowns in the victory.
Dirkx led the team in receiving with six catches for 100 yards. He also scored on the game-winning touchdown.
Ludwig had three catches for 39 yards and a touchdown.
Nick Macke caught two passes for 35 yards. Gus Collison had one catch for 14 yards.
Ludwig led the Tigers in rushing with 17 rushes for 30 yards. Lengeling had seven rushes for 11 yards. Dirkx had three carries for six yards.
Collison led the Tigers in tackles with eight on the night including two tackles for a loss.
Ludwig had six tackles with two tackles for a loss. Payton Wardell finished with 4.5 tackles. Jireh Gallegos had four tackles in the game. Jack White had three tackles.
Tanner Pontow had 2.5 tackles in the game which included two solo sacks.
Colton Wieland also had 2.5 tackles with one tackle for a loss.
With the win Carroll moves to 5-2 on the season. They will host Sioux Center this weekend.