By Sam Parsons
The Oskaloosa Indians suited up for a rare Thursday night game ahead of Labor Day weekend under clear skies and comfortable temperatures at Des Moines Hoover. The game itself may not have been as pretty as the weather, but the end result saw the Indians keep their early season success going.
The Indians got the ball to start the game and trouble struck early. A holding penalty on the opening kickoff gave them poor field position and a high shotgun snap over the head of sophomore QB Kayne Boender resulted in a safety. The Huskies got the ball back after the safety kickoff and immediately drove 76 yards, highlighted by a 44 yard scamper by senior QB Damian Miller, and scored on a 19 yard TD pass from Miller to junior RB Niyo Francois. The Indians, who entered the game as favorites, were suddenly down 8-0 a little over 6 minutes into the game, a score that remained until the second quarter.
However, in the 2nd quarter, the Indians began to turn things around on both sides of the ball, in spite of some hiccups. Their first drive of the 2nd quarter began with their best field position yet, on their own 47 yard line, and the Indians took 9 plays to move the ball down the field and score, with Boender punctuating the drive with a 6 yard TD pass to junior WR Jaden DeRonde. Junior Linus Morrison tacked on the PAT, and it was 8-7.
A 3-and-out was promptly forced by the Indians D, and then the offense got back to work. The Indians utilized a balanced attack to go 63 yards on their next drive, capped off this time by a 5 yard keeper by Boender, finding the end zone to make it 13-8. This time, Morrison’s PAT was blocked, so the score held steady there. The Huskies would get the ball with a little over 2 minutes left in the half, but a sack by junior Grady Kool erased any potential for a scoring drive. The halftime score was 13-8 Indians.
The Indian defense would go on to answer the bell on every 2nd half drive, holding the Huskies off the scoreboard entirely. Miller was sacked 4 times on just 12 passing dropbacks by the Indians front. Meanwhile, the offense continued to hum, as long as penalties weren’t getting in the way: after their 11 penalties vs. Washington in week 1 were a storyline, the Indians were flagged a total of 19 times for 166 yards on Thursday night. Some of those penalties brought drives to a halt; others, the team was able to overcome. And like last week’s game, the 2nd half was sophomore RB AJ Walker’s time to shine: in the 2nd half, Walker took 11 carries for 99 yards and scored 2 more touchdowns for the Indians, adding plenty of cushion to their lead and making it a 26-8 final. Walker has now eclipsed 100 rushing yards in each of his first two varsity starts, and in total, he had over 150 yards from scrimmage against the Huskies.
The Indians have now doubled their win total from last year with their 2-0 start. They will get to enjoy a long weekend before gearing up to host Grinnell next Friday (9/8). Coverage can be heard on KBOE 104.9 FM and kboeradio.com beginning at 7pm.
Unofficial Stats – Oskaloosa
Kayne Boender – 15/22, 169 yards, TD; 7 rush, 16 yards, TD; 0 sacks, 1 fumble
AJ Walker – 18 rush, 121 yards, 2 TD; 4 receptions, 46 yards; 1 fumble
Merrick Padgett – 3 rush, 16 yards
Parker Lewis – 1 rush, 6 yards
Wyatt Grubb – 6 receptions, 90 yards
Max Roach – 2 receptions, 11 yards
Jaden DeRonde – 2 receptions, 10 yards, TD
Heavon Knox – 1 reception, 12 yards