Indians end regular season undefeated after shutting out Dutch
Second-ranked Spirit Lake wrapped up an undefeated regular season Friday night with a 35-0 shutout of MOC-Floyd Valley in Orange City.
"I'm just proud of this group of guys for how hard they've worked and prepared every week," Spirit Lake coach Josh Bolluyt said. "There's ups and downs throughout a season. Just to watch them grow and battle through some adversity and some injury situations, to stay together as a team and stay positive and finish the way they did, I'm proud of them."
Playing without star quarterback Logan Backhaus, the Indians offense relied heavily on their two-headed rushing attack of Tyler Jenness and Matthew Moody, who each cleared the 100-yard mark in the victory. Jenness led the way with 24 carries for 161 yards and a touchdown, while Moody rushed for 104 yards and a score on 19 carries.
"They're both great runners, but with different styles," Bolluyt said. "That's been nice in our offense to have their two styles. To have two guys rush for over 100 yards in a game is great. It's been great to see Matthew come along and Tyler is really feeling well now. Friday night, you could see he has his explosiveness back after his injury and it was fun to see him play like that."
The Indians got things started right away, as Brock Tvedte capped off an impressive drive with a one-yard touchdown run to put his squad up 7-0. However, Bolluyt said a switch to the Dutch defensive front caused the Indians' offensive line trouble, as Spirit Lake was held scoreless through the rest of the quarter.
"Offensively, we took the first drive and did great job of running and throwing the ball and marched it down the field and scored," Bolluyt said. "[MOC-FV] switched defensive fronts in the second series and caused us just a little bit of an issue with some pressure, then we kind of got things under control on the offensive line. The guys did a good job and responded well after that."
Spirit Lake scored again in the second quarter, as Jenness punched it in from two yards out to give the Indians a 14-0 lead with 7:49 remaining in the first half.
A fumble recovery by Cory Meschede gave the Indians' offense a short field and Houston Hawkins took advantage, scoring from a yard out to put the Indians up 21-0 before the first half came to a close.
The turnovers kept coming in the second half, as the Dutch fumbled the kickoff to start the half and the Indians took over. A short while later, Moody got in on the action with a 29-yard sprint to pay dirt, putting Spirit Lake up 27-0.
A six-yard touchdown pass from Billy Brown to Dallas Poock with 11:50 left in the game closed out the scoring, as the Indians defense kept the Dutch off the board. The Spirit Lake defense forced five fumbles and picked off one pass for a total of six takeaways on the night.
"I think we've really played a couple of consistent defensive football games," Bolluyt said. "The guys did a great job Friday night of creating turnovers. We stripped the ball and were aggressive and created some short fields [for our offense]. A lot of guys played really, really well. It was just a great way to finish the regular season, playing well in all facets of the game."
In his first start under center this season while filling in for Backhaus, Brown completed 8 of 11 passes for 73 yards, a touchdown and an interception.
"He did really, really well," Bolluyt said. "He was really efficient. He had a nice touchdown throw and made really good decisions with the ball. He had one ball that was a bit of an overthrow, but he had a great night. It was tough conditions, windy conditions. I'm incredibly proud of him for stepping in and leading the team the way he did. He's just had a great attitude this week, a very selfless attitude. He just wanted to do what he could to make this team the best he can and I thought he had a really good game for us."
Poock had a 52-yard run and two catches for six yards and a score. Tvedte had two carries for four yards and a score, and three catches for 28 yards. Meschede had a 21-yard reception.
Defensively, Poock had 7.5 tackles, three tackles for loss and two sacks. Jenness had six tackles and three tackles for loss. Tvedte had six tackles, a tackle for loss and a sack. Justin Jones had six tackles. Alex Bosler had 4.5 tackles, a tackle for loss, sack and a fumble recovery. Meschede had 4.5 tackles and two fumble recoveries. Hawkins and Jac Radcliffe each recovered a fumble and Jeremiah Eldridge had an interception for the Indians (9-0), who will host district rival Sioux Center (5-4) in the first round of the playoffs on Wednesday night.