ALBIA – After 51 years of coaching high school football, it’s hard for an opponent to catch Jerry Staton off guard.
Some may have been surprised to see sixth-ranked Albia, a team that had won its first three games by a combined score of 158-13, struggle on the road with Davis County. The Mustangs lost the first two non-conference games of the season to Fairfield and Centerville, two teams that fell to the Blue Demons by scores of 47-0 and 54-6, and had to hang on late to edge Interstate 35 by a touchdown during the same opening week of district play that Albia spent dominating Clarke 57-7.
On paper, it made last Friday’s match-up seem completely one-sided. On the field, however, it was anything but as Davis County nearly pulled off the upset against the Blue Demons before a fourth-quarter touchdown pass from Brett Leshen to Zach Hugan helped pull out a 21-20 victory.
It may have been a surprisingly close call to some. Not to Staton. He’s coached too many young men in too many games to ever overlook anybody.
“A great football team is not known by the games that win going away but the games that test their mettle,” Staton said. “Davis County’s kids came really ready to play last Friday and we’ve had a couple two-year offensive linemen down, so we’ve been dealing with injuries. We had to move around some different players in different positions. We finally found that perfect combination finally late in the contest.”
After having its late-game mettle tested for the first time in 2013, Albia will look to pass an even tougher test for the program this Friday as part of its Homecoming contest. The Blue Demons host Bondurant-Farrar, who kept Staton’s squad from moving to 5-0 last season by handing Albia a 39-29 loss in the game that ultimately decided Class 2A, District 6.