By Sam Parsons
The Oskaloosa Indians entered their homecoming week contest against the Keokuk Chiefs hoping to notch a win before entering their brutal district schedule, but those hopes were quickly extinguished by a rash of turnovers.
The game began with Oskaloosa going 3-and-out. Keokuk suffered the same fate on their first drive; however, it was here that the turnover trend began, as the punt that followed the Chiefs’ 3-and-out was muffed, and they moved from their own 8 up to their own 43. 3 plays later, sophomore QB Brenton Hoard connected on a pretty sideline shot to Diego Garcia, finding him in stride as he cruised to a 59 yard score to take a 7-0 lead.
The Indians’ kick return unit took the field and promptly lost the ball again sophomore Maddux Ashman was the victim of a perfect hit from junior Chase Eckland, who placed his helmet right on the ball to jar it loose and kicker Cooper Abfalter-Dial was in the right place at the right time to recover. However, the Indians’ defense wouldn’t get rattled, as they staved off the Chiefs’ drive in their own territory as it ended with an Abfalter-Dial missed field goal of 32 yards.
Another Osky 3-and-out on offense led to another Osky stop on defense, which led to another special teams turnover as senior Waylon Bolibaugh picked up a rolling punt and lost the ball a few steps into his return. The Indians now had 3 special teams turnovers in 13 minutes of play.
The Oskaloosa defense again held firm, forcing a turnover on downs in their own territory. The Indians offense responded with a 3-and-out and the Chiefs offense was able to get moving again, embarking on a 9-play, 52-yard drive that ended with Hoard punching it in from the 1 yard line on a QB sneak to take a 14-0 lead that remained heading into halftime after Oskaloosa’s final drive of the half ended with an aborted snap over the head of junior QB Trevor Willett inside the Chiefs’ 30 for the Indians’ 4th turnover of the night.
The 3rd quarter featured a lengthy Chiefs drive to start, but ultimately no points as they were again halted deep into Osky territory, which preceded a 3-and-out for the Indians and then the same for the Chiefs, keeping the score at 14-0 Chiefs entering the final quarter of play.
At the outset of the quarter, the Indians were getting out of their funk offensively, but another great play by Chase Eckland ended the drive as he picked off Trevor Willett at the Chiefs’ 2 and took it out to the 25. Keokuk wouldn’t parlay that into anything offensively, going 3-and-out, and then Osky was finally able to string together a scoring drive: the 13-play, 49-yard drive was highlighted by Trevor Willett finding Waylon Bolibaugh for 16 yards on 4th and 16 to keep it alive. It ended with senior Wyatt Grubb hauling in a tipped pass in the end zone from 2 yards out to cut the lead to 7; however, the Indians burned off over 6 minutes of time, and there were only 3 minutes and 24 seconds left.
Luckily, the Indian defense understood the assignment. They quickly forced a 3-and-out from the Chiefs to get the ball back on the Osky 25 with 2:01 and no timeouts to travel 75 yards. The offense was up to the task early, as Grubb made 2 catch-and-runs of 20 yards to bring the Indians into Chiefs territory. 3 straight completions to junior wideout AJ Lawrence put the Indians on the Keokuk 14; however, prior to the 3rd completion, the Indians’ offense could only stand and look to the sideline for about 25 seconds as the clock ticked under 30.
It was here that the Indians’ drive stalled. An offside penalty followed by 3 straight incompletions from Willett led to a 4th and 5 on Keokuk’s 9, and Diego Garcia came through once more for the Chiefs, picking Willett off in the end zone and sealing the victory for Keokuk.
Oskaloosa (1-3) begins their district schedule at home against Clear Creek-Amana next Friday. Keokuk (2-2) returns home to face Fairfield.
Trevor Willett: 20/36, 250 yards, TD, 2 INT; 0 sacks, 0 fumbles
Brenton Hoard: 17/33, 193 yards, TD; 1 sack, 7 yards lost, 0 fumbles
Dom Piersel: 6 carries, 14 yards
Tatum Westercamp: 6 carries, 13 yards
Brenton Hoard: 16 carries, 48 yards, TD
Malachi Douglas: 10 carries, 16 yards
Wyatt Grubb: 7 rec, 99 yards, TD
Waylon Bolibaugh: 7 rec, 87 yards
AJ Lawrence: 4 rec, 42 yards
Dom Piersel: 1 rec, 11 yards
Parker Lewis: 1 rec, 11 yards
Diego Garcia: 7 rec, 117 yards, TD
Chase Eckland: 4 rec, 27 yards
Drew Campbell: 3 rec, 43 yards
Mason Claus: 1 rec, 9 yards
Liam O’Donnell: 1 rec, 2 yards
Malachi Douglas: 1 rec, -4 yards