MEDIAPOLIS – The first play of Friday’s Class 1A District 5 game between the Bulldogs and Sigourney-Keota foreshadowed the rest of the game. Big plays and momentum changes ruled the night until Mediapolis (8-1) came out with a 41-33 victory that sent them into the playoffs.
“We had things that shot us in the foot all year long when we would get momentum.” SK coach Jared Jensen said.
Mediapolis ran the opening kickoff back for a touchdown, but the Cobras answered with an eight-play, 72-yard drive that included a fourth-down conversion. Sam Sieren followed Dawson Baumert from the 16 for the touchdown. With 8 minutes, 37 seconds left in the first quarter, it was 7-6 Mepo.
“We knew that their special teams were deadly,” Jensen said. “Preparing for it in practice is a heck of a lot different than going against it in a game.”
The Bulldogs took a 14-6 lead on an 83-yard TD drive.
Momentum had a chance to overwhelm the Cobras when a fumble gave Mediapolis the ball but SK held on downs and scored five plays later on a JD Stout run. After an offsides against Mepo, Stout ran in the conversion to tie the game at 14 with 10:08 to go in the first half.
The teams traded possessions until SK took over on its own 31 and called a pass play that went for a touchdown and a 21-14 lead with 4:14 to go until halftime.
“We kept sucking them in with the run game and I knew when I called that first touchdown pass, it was going to be there,” Jensen said. “Wyatt (Sieren) made a heck of a catch and JD made a heck of a throw.” It was a huge play and momentum swing except it didn’t last long.
Mediapolis ran the kick back for a TD and a 21-21 tie.
But the momentum kept swinging.
The Cobras struck quickly, going 74 yards on five plays – two runs by Sam Sieren totaled 64 yards and Stout ran it in from the 3 for a 27-21 lead with 1:50 on the clock.
Mepo threw a bomb on its first play to get to the 14 and scored with 23 seconds left for a 27-all tie at intermission.
“There is no doubt about it that we got outplayed in the first half,” Mediapolis coach Brian Borrison said. “They were pretty flawless on offense. We made some good adjustments at halftime and that certainly helped us.”
“There was nothing that we ran that I thought they could stop,” Jensen said. “Everything was working. Our guys kept coming off the field saying ‘They can’t stop us.’”
SK got the ball first in the second half, but threw an interception. The Bulldogs completed a 35-yard TD pass on fourth-and-11 to go up 34-27 4 minutes into the third quarter.
SK punted on its next possession and Mepo scored on its second play with a 77-yard pass.
Trailing 41-27, SK picked up three first downs, but a fumble gave the ball away.
“We had three straight drives where we just could not put anything together,” Jensen said. “If we take those mistakes and the second half away we got a different story.”
The Cobras forced a punt, then picked up five first downs before failing on a fourth-and-1 at the Mepo 5.
The Cobras forced a punt that went straight up, so SK got the ball on the 6 and scored on a Stout run with 3:12 remaining. The conversion pass was no good so the score remained 41-33.
“I think our defense played one of their best game all year,” Jensen said. “We gave up some big touchdowns (passing), but we were more worried about their run game. I think we shut that down and forced them to pass. They caught us looking a couple of times.”
Mediapolis was able to pick up three first downs and run out the clock. Both teams finished with over 400 yards of offense.
Stout was 4 of 5 passing for 123 yards and ran 28 times for 115 yards. Sam Sieren totaled 166 yards on 19 rushes. Wyatt Sieren caught a pass for 70 yards. Brady Duwa’s two receptions totaled 41 yards.
“I did not know what to expect coming into the game,” Jensen said. “Our seniors were not going to let it just wash down the tubes. They didn’t and they just kept fighting.”
The Cobras end an up-and-down season with a 5-4 record, 2-3 district.
“We lost some seniors who are great players,” Jensen said. “I don’t know that I could’ve been prouder even if we had got the win. We were just eight points shy on some mistakes that we probably should not have had.”