DES MOINES — The Ottumwa football team picked up a gigantic victory over Des Moines East 22-14 Friday in Des Moines.
In a game that could arguably be called the biggest victory in the Zach Pfantz era, the Bulldogs stood face to face with adversity and didn't blink. After falling behind 14-7 in the third quarter, Ottumwa combined herculean effort with clutch playmaking under pressure to oust their former CIML Metro Conference rival.
Isaiah Cox had another monster game at running back, rushing for 188 yards on 29 carries. Cox was the centerpiece of Ottumwa's offense in the second half, where he recorded 18 of his 29 carries. Throughout the half, the sophomore running back ran with a purpose, breaking tackles and dragging Scarlets defenders with him as he gobbled up large chunks of yardage. Cox, however, didn't do it all by his lonesome, the running back had plenty of help from his offensive line, which did a tremendous job opening up holes for him to run through.
Ottumwa's defense also did a tremendous job of containing East's always dangerous, fast-paced, big play-friendly offense. After a strong opening defensive stand, the Bulldog offense didn't need much time — only 57 seconds to be exact — before it got into the Scarlets' endzone in the first quarter. Cox took the handoff on Ottumwa's third play from scrimmage and dashed for a 53-yard touchdown with 9:28 left in the first quarter. Justin Vonderhaar booted in the extra point to give the Bulldogs an early 7-0 lead.
In a series that was in stark contrast to Ottumwa's lightning fast drive, the Scarlets drove down the field in a businesslike manner. East's methodical drive was defined by a number of solid runs by East quarterback Chino Alcala. Alcala capped off the drive by finding Jaylin James for a 3-yard touchdown on a slant pattern to narrow the gap to 7-6 with 1:47 left in the quarter. Sam Kramer, who had another solid game defensively, blocked the Scarlets' extra point attempt for Bulldogs. Neither team was able to score again before halftime arrived.