DES MOINES — The Ottumwa football team picked up the biggest win of the Zach Pfantz era Friday, when it knocked off former CIML Metro Conference rival Des Moines East 22-14.
The Bulldogs played well in all facets of the game and came through in clutch situations. Ottumwa's offensive attack was once again spearheaded by Isaiah Cox, who had another huge day running the ball. The sophomore running back rushed for 214 yards and one touchdown on 29 carries. The breadth of Cox's runs — 18 of them — came in the second half when Ottumwa was trying to battle back from a 15-7 deficit.
"The thing I really like about him is he's a very focused, very driven young man," Coach Zach Pfantz said about Cox. "The improvement he makes on a week-to-week basis is pretty awesome. He just runs so hard and is so determined. He's doing a lot of good things for us right now."
In an inspired effort, Cox consistently shed, broke and dragged tacklers with him as he moved Ottumwa's offense into Scarlet territory. Not that Cox had to do it alone — he had plenty of help from his offensive line. Ottumwa's offensive line played superbly in the second half, creating holes to run through on a regular basis.
"I think those guys can take a lot of pride, especially in that last quarter in a half; about how we ran the football," Pfantz said.
Defensively, the Bulldogs kept the Scarlets' high-tempo, big play-friendly offense from scoring during most of the third quarter and all of the fourth quarter. Ottumwa was led by linebacker Chris Peden, who recorded a team-high 11 tackles. In addition, Zach Bowling and Sam Kramer compiled six tackles each. The play of the night for the defense came when the boys stopped the Scarlets on fourth and inches with less than five minutes left in the game.
The huge defensive stand allowed Ottumwa's offense to run the clock down through running plays before Ottumwa quarterback Shane Frazier capped off the night with an out-of-this-world fake to Cox, that allowed the Bulldog quarterback to scamper nine yards for a touchdown that put Ottumwa up 21-14 with only nine seconds left in the game. Justin Vonderhaar's extra point extended Ottumwa's lead to eight. Frazier's fake was an Oscar-worthy performance that induced a swarm of Scarlets to collapse on Cox while Frazier, unbeknownst to the entire East defense; kept the ball before quietly tucking it away and stealthily taking it down the left sideline for a touchdown.
"He did a really good job of selling the fake, pulling the defense in, and then using his athleticism to get in the end zone," Pfantz said.
One of the biggest plays of the game came when Ottumwa's Greig Duo recovered a fumbled punt by Y'vez Quinn on East's 49-yard line. The play changed the whole complexion of the game. Up until the fumble, the East had a firm grasp on the game's momentum. Now, the Bulldogs had renewed life and great field position to boot.
"That was a huge turning point in the game," Pfantz said. "We were not having a good third quarter until that point. We really moved the ball well on offense after that."
Pfantz opted to stick to the basics and have Cox take it up the middle until East's defense proved it could stop him. The strategy worked, as Ottumwa's star running back plowed down the field for first downs.
Later in the drive, it was running back Isaiah Hutchinson who came up big for Ottumwa by running for a first down on fourth and inches in. Frazier eventually capped off the drive by faking a handoff and taking it himself around the left side before cutting back inside for a 4-yard touchdown. With Ottumwa trailing 14-13, Pfantz, not satisfied with a tie, elected to go for the lead. The gamble paid off as Cox rammed his way into the end zone to put Ottumwa ahead 15-14.
The Bulldogs got off to a quick start in the first half. On its first drive of the game, Ottumwa needed less than a minute to get into the end zone. On the third play of the drive, Cox creased through a hole and galloped 53 yards for a touchdown. Later in the first quarter, the Scarlets answered Ottumwa's touchdown with a touchdown of their own. Their touchdown drive, however wasn't as lightning quick as Ottumwa's. But, the Scarlets were able to methodically amble down the field thanks to a number of solid runs by Chino Alcala.
Alcala's running skills was the one riddle Ottumwa's defense never solved Friday night. When nothing else worked, an Alcala quartback keeper up the middle always seem to yield significant yardage for the Scarlets. Fortunately for Ottumwa, the Bulldog defense successfully stifled many of East's other offensive strategies. On this drive, however, Alcala eventually managed to connect with Jaylin James for a 4-yard touchdown pass that wilted Ottumwa's lead to 7-6. The Bulldogs were able to maintain their one-point advantage because Kramer blocked the Scarlet's extra point attempt.
In other action, Class 4A, Division 3 action, Dowling improved to 3-0 with a 42-14 win at Ankeny and Ankeny Centennial suffered its first loss of the season at Ames 34-30. In addition, Des Moines Hoover beat Des Moines North 49-14; Marshalltown lost to Fort Dodge 27-13; and Waukee beat Mason City 27-13.
Ottumwa (2-1) plays Indianola Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Schafer Stadium.
Ottumwa 22, Des Moines East 14
Ottu 7 0 0 15 — 22
East 6 0 8 0 — 14
Scoring By Quarters
OTT — Isaiah Cox 53-yard run (Justin Vonderhaar kick), 9:28.
EAST — Jaylin James catches 3-yard pass from Chino Alcala (Luke Dawson kick no good), 1:47.
EAST — Alcala 32-yard run (Alcala run), 9:06.
OTT — Shane Frazier 4-yard run (Cox run), 11:10.
OTT — Frazier 9-yard run (Vonderhaar kick), .9.
First downs 14			13
Rushes-yards 46- 272 22-150
Passing yards 44		 70
Total Yards 321		 220
Comp-Att-Int 6-3-0	 22-14-0
Return Yards 2-17	 4-64
Fumbles-Lost 0-0		 1-1Penalties-Yds 9-78		 2-20
Des Moines East
RUSHING — Alcala 16-119 yards, Greg Hatchett 6-31 yards.
PASSING — Alcala 14-22, 70 yards.
RECEIVING — Y'vez Quinn 7-36 yards, Hatchett 2-16 yards, Jaylin James 2-9 yards, Colby Carmichael 1-7 yards.
TACKLES — Juleo Harris 8, Quinn 6, Carmichael 4, Dillon Howser 4.
RUSHING — Cox 29-214 yards, Isaiah Hutchinson 13-34 yards, Shane Frazier 4-29 yards.
PASSING — Frazier 3-6, 44 yards.
RECEIVING — Titus Weller 2-28 yards, Zach Bowling 1-16 yards.
TACKLES — Chris Peden 11, Bowling 6, Sam Kramer 6, Isaiah Hutchinson 5.
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