The next-play mentality the Ottumwa High School football team has embraced was essentially gone by the third one.
The Bulldogs never did get that mentality back.
Ottumwa turned the ball over four times, and Mount Pleasant turned three of those into touchdowns in the first half of a 35-7 rout of the Bulldogs for their homecoming game Friday at Schafer Stadium.
"It was a little of everything tonight, but all the attention to detail just wasn't there tonight," Ottumwa coach Brian Goodvin said. "And that's on us as coaches to get the kids ready. They weren't ready for the adversity tonight."
Mount Pleasant piled up 420 yards total offense, but it wasn't so much of the success running and throwing the ball as it as the timeliness of the big plays.
Rylan Seberg intercepted Ottumwa quarterback Adam Denniston on the third play of the game, setting up the first of Brody Bender's three touchdown passes, as he found Seberg for a 25-yard score on fourth down.
Then, in the second quarter, the Panthers (3-1) endured a 14-point swing when they intercepted Denniston at the goal line, then scored on Klayton Kleinkopf's 23-yard touchdown run.
However, it was the two touchdowns in a span of 1:46 late in the first half that seemed to be the nail in the coffin. Logan Bass broke tackles on a 12-yard touchdown run, then the Panthers went 44 yards in three plays after a Gage Cole fumble. Bender capped off the drive as he connected with Chase Williamson over the middle for a 7-yard touchdown pass, making it 28-0 with nine seconds left in the half.
"Those are the things that happen when you have some momentum in your favor," Mount Pleasant coach Shawn Striegel said. "This is a rivalry of sorts, and I was just pleased with how hard our kids played. It wasn't really anything we did, but it was more about the effort of the kids."
The Panthers drove 80 yards in six plays to start the second half, as Seberg hauled in a 48-yard touchdown pass from Bender to make it 35-0.
Ottumwa (1-3) finally reached the scoreboard the fourth quarter, when Mitch Wood scored from 2 yards out.
"Mount Pleasant was very opportunistic. They took advantage of all of our mistakes," Goodvin said. "We didn't really play in the moment tonight."
The Panthers outgained the Bulldogs 289-92 in the first half with excellent balance. They rushed for 156 yards in the first half, while Bender threw for 133. Bender completed 12 of 18 passes for 194 yards in the game; Seberg caught five passes for 140 yards.
More importantly, the Panthers didn't turn it over. In the last two meetings, they've forced nine turnovers and outscored the Bulldogs 56-7.
"I've been on the other side of this as well, where everything goes against you," Striegel said. "We're a team that likes to throw the ball to try to open up the run, and we got a little stubborn with our running game. Fortunately we have a lot of talented guys up front."
Goodvin wanted to focus on stopping the run, but Bender made plays through the air that made the Panthers difficult to stop.
"I thought we did a better job against the run, but then he'd throw it over the top of us," he said. "We just have to do a better job of knowing what our expectations are, and knowing what's not tolerated."
The Bulldogs have lost three in a row, and the schedule doesn't soften with Class 4A District 6 play opening next week at Indianola.
"We just have to go back to being 0-0. We know we're going against a good Indianola team," Goodvin said. "We just have to get back to one snap at a time, and make sure that message is getting across to our guys."
MP—Rylan Seberg 25 pass from Brody Bender (Brady Hall kick)
MP—Klayton Kleinkopf 23 run (Hall kick)
MP—Logan Bass 12 run (Hall kick)
MP—Chase Williamson 7 pass from Bender (Hall kick)
MP—Seberg 48 pass from Bender (Hall kick)
O—Mitch Wood 2 run (Bryan Carapia kick)
Rushing—Mount Pleasant: Logan Bass 9-66, Jack Johnson 9-52, Carson Coleman 2-(minus 5), Kyle Samples 7-50, Klayton Kleinkopf 3-48, Brody Bender 1-4, Levi Graber 2-3, Grifen Molle 1-6. Ottumwa: Kie Glosser 18-68, Gage Cole 12-84, Andrew Cole 2-3, Mitch Wood 4-16, Adam Denniston 1-(minus 2), Team 1-(minus 3).
Passing—Mount Pleasant: Bender 12-18-0-194. Ottumwa: Denniston 4-11-3-24, Drake Handling 1-4-0-33.
Receiving—Mount Pleasant: Rylan Seberg 5-140, Chase Williamson 1-7, Brennen Bender 4-35, Brevin Wilson 1-3, Cole Jarrett 1-9. Ottumwa: Blaze Rominger 2-43, Glosser 2-9, A.Cole 1-5.