Courier Staff Writer
MOUNT PLEASANT —
The Ottumwa football team overwhelmed an outmatched Mount Pleasant squad 46-3 Friday in its first road game of the season.
The Bulldogs were clicking in all facets of the game in this one. Offensively, Isaiah Cox dashed for 114 yards and three touchdowns and Ottumwa quarterback Shane Frazier hooked up with an array of receivers, including completing a medley of passes to Zach Bowling, who had a whale of a night at wide receiver. Frazier ended the night with well over 100 passing yards.
Defensively, the Bulldogs swarmed Mount Pleasant's runners for little to no gain throughout the night. In addition, they constantly pressured Mount Pleasant quarterback Dustin Amos, which prevented the Panthers from implementing any sort of passing attack.
Isaiah Cox, complemented by some fine blocking, ran for two touchdowns in the first quarter. Cox's first touchdown was a 14-yard jaunt with a little over nine minutes left in the first quarter. The sophomore running back had already dashed for a couple of long runs on the drive before he took it in for the touchdown.
The Bulldogs next drive was more methodical. The drive, however, wouldn't have come to fruition if were not for a play that featured a mix of luck and acute concentration skills by Bowling. Frazier fired a pass down the middle of the field that was tipped by the Panther defense. The tip, however, wasn't sufficient enough to re-direct the ball's flight and Bowling made the catch in mid-stride and sprinted into Panther territory for a 37-yard gain.
Cox and Frazier traded nice runs for the rest of the offensive series until Cox burst through a hole and bolted 10 yards for a touchdown. Meanwhile, Mount Pleasant wasn't able to get much going offensively. The Panther running backs weren't gaining many yards and Ottumwa had rendered Mount Pleasant's passing attack virtually obsolete. When halftime arrived, the Panthers had only garnered two first downs.
The Bulldogs lead grew to 16-0 early in the second quarter when Justin Vonderhaar kicked a 23-yard field goal. Ottumwa's next drive featured a couple of nice runs by Isaiah Hutchinson that moved the ball deep into Mount Pleasant territory. Then, on a terrific run, Cox shed a few tackles and, in a move that illuminated his athleticism, spun past another would-be tackler before finally going down on Mount Pleasant's 4-yard line. Three plays later Frazier fired a pass to Kyle Lundy in the middle of the end zone for a 6-yard touchdown. Vonderhaar booted in the extra point to make it 23-0 Ottumwa.
The Bulldogs had one more trick up their sleeve before the two teams retired to their respective locker rooms for halftime. Frazier let loose with a long pass down the right sideline that Bowling, who was being blanketed by two Panthers, somehow came down with for a first down in Mount Pleasant territory. The remarkable catch set the stage for Vonderhaar who showed off his leg strength by booting a 40-yard field goal that increased Ottumwa's lead to 26-0 with a little less than 13 seconds remaining in the half.
A nifty punt return by Andrew Altfillisch allowed Ottumwa's offense to begin its first drive of the second half in Mount Pleasant territory. The Bulldogs made sure to capitalize on the favorable field position. On a tremendous run, Cox changed direction, evaded one tackler and ripped free of two other Panthers before scoring from 27-yards out. Vonderhaar's extra point increased Ottumwa's lead to 33-0.
The Bulldogs defense continued to prevent Mount Pleasant's defense from getting into any sort of rhythm. A sack by Matthew Moreland near the end of the third quarter was the perfect symbol of Ottumwa's defensive prowess throughout the game. Ottumwa struck again early in the fourth quarter. This time it was Hutchinson doing the scoring. On a terrific run, Hutchinson broke free from a shed of tacklers on a 20-yard touchdown run.
The Panthers, capitalizing on a Ottumwa fumble, got its first points of the night off a 32-yard field goal by Nyazum Gwamna in the fourth quarter. The Bulldogs answered when Ottumwa's reserves scored a touchdown in the game's final minute.
Ottumwa (2-0) plays at 7 p.m. Friday at Des Moines East.
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