By Sam Parsons
The Oskaloosa Indians entered Friday night’s game at Cedar Rapids Washington short handed, but that didn’t preclude them from putting up quite the fight against the Warriors on a chilly Friday night.
The game started inauspiciously for Osky: the Warriors received the first half kickoff and on their fifth offensive play, star running back Watts McBride took a screen pass from sophomore QB Malik Epps-Keller 68 yards to the house. After a successful PAT, the score was 7-0 Warriors less than a minute into the game.
After Osky responded with a 3-and-out in their opening offensive drive, the Warriors struck again, this time on a 10-play, 57-yard drive quarterbacked by junior Stephen Cain, who capped it off with a 1 yard QB sneak to make it 14-0, and the game script seemed to be going off the rails once again for the Indians after back-to-back blowout losses coming in.
However, things would steady from here. An Osky interception in Washington territory, as well as a Washington fumble in Osky territory, played a role in the score remaining where it was through the end of the first half as both defenses firmed up. The Indians were led by great play from their front 7, which was missing a pair of starting linebackers, as well as excellent open-field tackling from their defensive backfield, particularly from the likes of Waylon Bolibaugh and Jaden DeRonde. The Indians being down several starters prior to kickoff was a key storyline, but the Indians played inspired football, particularly on the defensive side. Over the course of the game, Osky forced a total of 4 turnovers on defense and special teams and committed just two of their own.
In the 2nd half, the Warriors stopped using their 2-QB approach and moved forward exclusively with Epps-Keller at the helm, but they couldn’t muster any points for most of the the third quarter against an Indian defense that continued to respond with stops. One such stop gave the Indians the ball on the Washington 48 midway through the quarter, and the Osky offense finally got on the board with a 6 play drive that culminated in screen passes of 25 and 11 yards to Wyatt Grubb and Dom Piersel, respectively, with Piersel navigating his way to the end zone. The Indians couldn’t field their PAT team until late in the play clock, though, leading to a rushed operation and freshman kicker Linus Morrison’s first missed extra point of the season to keep the score at 14-6.
Prior to the end of the quarter, though, the Warriors struck back with yet another explosive play from McBride, who galloped 43 yards up the middle of the defense three drives later to extend the Warrior lead to 21-6.
The fourth quarter began with the Indians taking over on their own 11 yard line after forcing a turnover on downs. They moved the ball 48 yards in 6 plays into Washington territory, but incompletions led to the drive sputtering out at the Warrior 36. The defenses traded stops from there and the Indians, though they battled to the end, came up short, with 21-6 as the final score.
Oskaloosa (1-7) wraps up their season at #2 Cedar Rapids Xavier this Friday. Cedar Rapids Washington (5-3) travels to Pella.
Trevor Willett: 20/44, 151 yards, TD, INT; 3 sacks, 20 yards lost, 0 fumbles
CR Washington Passing
Malik Epps-Keller: 9/19, 141 yards, TD; 0 sacks, 0 fumbles
Stephen Cain: 3/6, 40 yards; 0 sacks, 0 fumbles
Dom Piersel: 12 carries, 17 yards
Wyatt Grubb: 1 carry, 8 yards
Trevor Willett: 7 carries, 3 yards
CR Washington Rushing
Watts McBride: 12 carries, 117 yards, TD
Alex Taylor: 15 carries, 42 yards, 1 fumble
Malik Epps-Keller: 3 carries, 6 yards, 1 fumble
Stephen Cain: 1 carry, 1 yard, TD
Dom Piersel: 6 rec, 59 yards, TD
Wyatt Grubb: 7 rec, 50 yards
Waylon Bolibaugh: 6 rec, 33 yards
Maddux Ashman: 1 rec, 9 yards
CR Washington Receiving
Michael Blank: 6 rec, 86 yards
Watts McBride: 3 rec, 76 yards, TD
Jaden Harris: 1 rec, 13 yards
Miles Thompson: 1 rec, 6 yards
Alex Taylor: 1 rec, 0 yards