Led by a potent rushing attack and a stifling defense, the Pella Christian football team rebounded strongly from a week one loss with a 31-7 home victory over Van Meter on Friday night.
Heard live on kniakrls.com, the Eagles began the game with a methodical 80-yard drive, capped by a two-yard score by Caleb Morgan to go up 7-0. Pella Christian’s defense picked up the next score, forcing a fumble on a sack that rolled into the end zone and was covered up by Luke Callahan. A 39-yard scamper up the middle by Nate Tvedt rounded out the first half scoring for the Eagles, as they went into the locker room up 21-0.
Van Meter’s defense tightened up in the second half, while their offense finally found enough breathing room to put together an 85-yard drive that ended in a 7-yard touchdown pass to make the score 21-7. With their backs up against their own goal line, Pella Christian responded with a momentum-shifting 92-yard catch-and-run score by Nate Tvedt. The Eagles’ final score came as the game was winding down, as Will Vande Voort converted on a 36-yard field goal to cap off the 31-7 win.
Pella Christian fed the Bulldogs a steady diet of Tvedt and Morgan, as the two backs combined for 50 carries and 253 yards rushing. The passing game also opened up for the Eagles as well, as Adam Howerzyl competed 4 of 10 passes for 122 yards. As impressive as the offense was at times, it was Pella Christian’s defense that likely had the greatest impact on the outcome.
“What we did tonight – and I don’t know if you could hear it up here in the booth – but there was some serious poppin’ goin’ on tonight,” said assistant coach Darryl De Ruiter after the game. “We’re starting to hit [hard], and our pursuit was phenomenal. There were times we had all eleven guys around the ball, and I just thought pursuit was really good tonight on defense.”
Van Meter mustered up just 71 total yards of offense on 51 plays, compared to 359 yards of offense for the Eagles. In the first half, the Bulldogs had a net gain of only one yard. Linebacker Dan Hessing led the way for the PC defense, notching six tackles; with fellow linebacker Caleb Morgan tallying four.
One area that is likely to be addressed in practice next week, though, was penalties. Pella Christian was flagged 13 times for 125 yards of penalties, compared to just two yellow flags for Van Meter.
The victory improves Pella Christian’s record to 1-1 overall, as the Eagles begin District play next Friday at Bondurant-Farrar.