The Van Meter Bulldogs hosted the Belmond-Klemme Broncos in the 1st Round of the IHSAA Class 1A Football Playoffs and the weather certainly made it feel like playoff football had arrived. On a night that saw strong winds and cold temps, both teams battled until the end with the Bulldogs securing a 24-6 victory and advancing to a Quarterfinal match-up with the Denver Cyclones this Friday, November 3rd in Denver at 7:00 PM.
The Bulldog defense was ready for a strong ground attack from the Broncos and forced a punt on their opening possession. On Van Meter’s first possession, they marched 46 yards in only 6 plays for the first score of the game. Carson Rhodes carried several Bronco defenders into the end zone on a 16 yard run aided by some strong blocking by his Bulldog teammates. Following the PAT by Sam Bardwell, the score was 7-0.
Despite the quick start by the Bulldogs, both teams had trouble sustaining drives in the wind for the remainder of the first half as both defenses made big plays. Belmond-Klemme’s next drive was halted at the Bulldog 42 yard line by an interception by Sam Thompson along the far sideline. However, Van Meter gave it right back on the very next play as the Broncos came up with an interception of their own. The Broncos then put together an 11 play drive and controlled the remainder of the 1st quarter, however Anthony Lowman ended the threat with an interception in the end zone on 4th down. This would be as close as the Broncos would get to scoring until their final drive of the game. Both teams exchanged two punts during the 2nd quarter, so we went to halftime with Van Meter up 7-0.
The Bulldogs received the opening kickoff of the 3rd quarter and quickly established and sustained their own strong ground attack marching 66 yards in 11 plays. Rhodes carried it across from 1 yard out for his second TD of the game to make the score 14-0. Five plays later Van Meter as back in business following yet another interception by the Bulldog defense, this time by Cade Costlow. Van Meter’s offense put together another 11 play 65 yard drive in which the offensive line controlled the line of scrimmage. Bardwell capped the drive with a 27 yard field goal and the host school lead 17-0.
The game was far from over as the Broncos chose to have the wind at their backs in the 4th quarter, so Van Meter knew their defense would need to continue to keep getting stops and they did. Belmond-Klemme was forced to punt again on their next drive as they could only muster 12 yards on 5 plays. So for the third consecutive drive of the 2nd half, Van Meter pounded its way for 90 yards on, you guessed it, 11 plays. Rhodes got his third TD of the game on a 33 yard break-away run. Bardwell tacked on the PAT and the Bulldogs were in command 24-0. Belmond-Klemme tacked on a late touchdown on a 1 yard run with 19 seconds remaining in the game.
However, it was all Bulldogs in the 2nd half behind some outstanding blocking by the offensive line as well as good downfield blocking by the Bulldog receivers. Bulldogs win 24-6 and advance as one of the final 8 teams still playing in Class 1A. Van Meter pounded it’s way to 220 yards in the 2nd half and scoring on every drive while the Bulldog defense limited Belmond-Klemme to only 101 yards in the final half of play (with 59 yards being accounted for on their final drive of the game). Carson Rhodes had an outstanding night behind the Bulldog offensive line, Derek Golwitzer, Connor Guess, Collin Godwin, Dakotah Herr, Ryan Schmitt and Brett Berg, as he carried the ball 37 times for 247 yards and 3 TDs.
Van Meter’s defensive leaders for the game included:
Derek Golwitzer – 3 Solo Tackles, 12 Asst Tackles (including 1 Asst TFL)
Owen Crawford – 2 Solo Tackles, 6 Asst Tackles (including 1 Asst TFL)
Sam Thompson – 2 Solo Tackles, 6 Asst Tackles & 1 INT
Cade Costlow – 1 Solo Tackle, 1 Asst Tackle & 1 INT
Anthony Lowman – 3 Solo Tackles, 2 Asst Tackles & 1 INT
Chris Reames – 1 Solo Tackle, 7 Asst Tackles (including 1 Asst TFL)
Please click on the following link for complete offensive and defensive stats from the game: Van Meter 24 – Belmond-Klemme 6 (Game Stats)
Van Meter (10-0) will now play the Denver Cyclones (9-1) in Quarterfinal Round action at Denver this Friday, November 3rd at 7:00 PM. Both teams were in the Class 1A Semifinals last year. The winner will secure a return trip to the Dome and a spot in the 2017 Class 1A Semifinals. Denver is the champion of Class 1A District #2 while the Bulldogs won their 5th consecutive District Championship this year as the champions of Class 1A District #6.
Come on out and support your Bulldogs!
Please follow us on Twitter: @VMFootball_