Emptying the Notebook-Week 5

-It was Decorah’s first win over Waverly-Shell Rock since 2015

-It was the most points Decorah scored against Waverly-Shell Rock since 2012 when they defeated the Go-Hawks 35-7

-Friday’s game was the first time a Decorah opponent scored first in a game

-Decorah’s 20 point second quarter was the most they’ve scored in a quarter this season

-Kailer McCabe’s kickoff return for a touchdown was the first for Decorah since Jake Muhlbauer in week eight verses Charles City last season and the fifth special teams touchdown scored by the Vikings in the last two seasons

-Decorah opponents have only scored in four of the last 12 quarters

-Decorah controlled the field position, as they have in their three victories. The Vikings average starting field position was their own 41. The Go-Hawks average starting field position was their own 25

-Four of Waverly-Shell Rock’s ten possessions ended with a three-and-out

-In Decorah’s three wins this year, Viking opponents are 12-35 on third down conversions. In their two losses, Decorah opponents are 14-25 on third down conversions

-Kailer McCabe’s 77 receiving yards were the most since Dawson Holkesvik had 92 receiving yards vs Charles City a year ago

-The Jace Johnson to Kailer McCabe 41 yard touchdown pass was the longest touchdown pass for Decorah since Brannan Hogan and Shawn Shindelar connected on a 46 yard touchdown against Charles City in week eight of 2016

-Drake Shelton has rushed for over 100 yards in each of Decorah’s three wins this season

-Decorah’s defense only gave up two plays of over 20 yards against the Go-Hawks, and none after Waverly-Shell Rock’s first drive of the second quarter

-After the McCabe kick return touchdown, Decorah’s defense only gave up 103 total yards and four first downs the rest of the game

-Cam DeLong has field goals in five straight contest. The longest recent streak of field goals made in consecutive games for Decorah was Josh Lee converting in six straight games in 2011

-DeLong has put 11 of his 19 kickoffs into the end zone for touchbacks. Last season he had 13 touchbacks in 48 kickoffs.

-Decorah’s defense now has 34 tackles for a loss in its first five games, an average of nearly seven per contest

-Outside of one run, Decorah’s first down defense was impressive against Waverly-Shell Rock. The Go-Hawks had 109 total yards on 18 first down plays, which is an average of 6.1 yards per play. 60 of the 109 yards came on one play. Outside of that play, Decorah gave up just 2.9 yards per first down play.

-Decorah’s offense gained 155 yards on 20 first down plays, an average of 7.8 yards per play. Six of their 20 first down plays went for at least 10 yards.

 

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Decorah 30, Waverly-Shell Rock 14

HOW IT HAPPENED

One big special teams play, a balanced offense and a stingy defense all contributed to the Decorah win. Kailer McCabe had a 97 yard kickoff return for a touchdown to pull the Vikings with 14-7 early in the second quarter. That score led to a run of 30 unanswered points for Decorah. The Vikings had 311 yards of total offense, 213 on the ground and 98 through the air.

KEY PLAY

After a Go-Hawk touchdown to put Waverly-Shell Rock up 14-0 with 10:44 left in the second quarter, Kailer McCabe took the ensuing kickoff back 97 yards for a score pulling Decorah within 14-7. Including that score, the Vikings outscored Waverly-Shell Rock 30-0 the rest of the night. The Decorah defense only gave up 103 total yards and four first downs in the final 30 minutes of the contest.

NOTABLE

The win gave the Vikings their first win over the Go-Hawks since 2015. It was the first time Decorah scored more than one touchdown against Waverly-Shell Rock since 2013.

QUOTABLE

“This isn’t your grandpa’s Decorah football. If you watch it we sometimes have two wide receivers, that’s a lot of wide receivers in Decorah,”-Decorah football coach Pat Trewin on the improvement in the passing game

WHAT IT MEANS

The start any team wanted in their first district game and the confidence the offense gained a week ago continued and perhaps grew with a victory over a tough opponent on their home field.

UP NEXT

Decorah travels to Charles City. Both teams won their district opener. Waverly-Shell Rock travels to West Delaware. With both of those teams losing their district opener, the loser of next week’s matchup will have an uphill challenge to reach the post-season.

The Second half of the season now means a new beginning in Iowa High School football

The high school football season is now halfway complete. Some questions regarding teams have been answered. Many other questions remain. But for Class 3-A football teams a new season starts this week. It’s district play. Win your district and you’re heading to the post-season. All teams still control their own destiny. And what better way to start district play then with a traditional rivalry. The Waverly-Shell Rock Go-Hawks host the Decorah Vikings Friday night.
Since high school football is education based athletics, when a term is halfway complete mid-term grades are often given out. What would Decorah’s midterm grade be? “Since we’re pretty close to where we wanted to be right now, I’d have to say a B,” said Vikings coach Pat Trewin. “But in reality we’re more focused on growth and the growth we’ve seen has been very good.”
As for the Go-Hawks? “A B-plus,” said Waverly-Shell Rock Mark Hubbard. “We’ve done some very good things on the defensive side of the ball. Offensively we’ve been a little inconsistent and we’ve been a little banged up. We’ve also played conference rivals and even though those teams may be in a different classification it brings a different level of intensity and energy to those games.”
After losses to 3-A top-ranked Cedar Rapids Xavier and 3-A seventh-ranked Western Dubuque in consecutive weeks, the Vikings defeated Crestwood 23-6 last Friday night to even their record at 2-2. Decorah ran for 290 yards in the contest and had 361 yards of total offense. The Vikings were able to end two negative trends last week. In the first three weeks of the season, Decorah was outscored in the second quarter by their opponents 49-10. Against Crestwood, the Vikings outscored the Cadets 6-0 in the second period. Decorah was also able to limit the big play. In the first three games, the Vikings gave up 14 plays of 20 yards of longer. Decorah’s defense limited that total to two against Crestwood. “We tried to keep things in front of us,” said Trewin. “Our alignments and our physicallity were really strong against Crestwood. We’ve jelled on the defensive side pretty well.”
After not scoring a touchdown in its previous two games, the Vikings scored three last weeks. Decorah scored on its first two drives of the second half, marking the first time this season the Vikings were able to score on consecutive possessions. “We hope last week’s second half sparks some confidence offensively,” said Trewin. “We found a few plays that we could hang our hats on but primarily it was our backs blocking and running hard and our line getting off the ball.”
Waverly-Shell Rock is the fourth ranked opponent Decorah will face this season. The Go-Hawks have started 4-0 and are ranked eighth in the Radio Iowa poll. Waverly-Shell Rock has been led by a stingy defense which has given up just 34 points in the first four games, including only 13 in the past three weeks. “It’s just been a combination of experience, effort and playing hard,” said Hubbard. “There isn’t a lot more to it than that.”
While the Go-Hawk defense has shined, the offense has struggled over the past couple of weeks. Waverly-Shell Rock has scored just 20 points in the last two games. They played part of the Crestwood game in week two and all of last week verses New Hampton without quarterback Luke Velky, who has been injured. The Go-Hawks are averaging 246 rushing yards per game. “I think we ran the ball better last week, ” said Hubbard. “It’s nowhere near we need it to be but we’re moving in the right direction.”
The matchup between the two long-time rivals kicks off Friday night at seven-30. “(Waverly-Shell Rock) is really conistent,” said Trewin. “They don’t run a ton of plays but what they run they do well. Their defense is fast and aggressive and they don’t beat themselves.”
Trewin is preparing for his first district game as head coach. “There are a few new wrinkles,” said Hubbard. “But I think for the most part it’s typical Decorah football based on what we’ve seen on flim.”
Waverly-Shell Rock has won two straight in the series and three of the last four matchups in the series. Decorah’s last win over the Go-Hawks was a 10-7 win in 2015. The Vikings haven’t scored more than one touchdown against Waverly-Shell Rock since 2013.

Emptying the notebook-Week 4

-Decorah has now won 17 straight games against Crestwood dating back to 2002

-Decorah won its homecoming game for the first time since 2015

-Decorah had 83 more yards of offense than Crestwood and ran 11 less plays

-Decorah had eight more tackles for a loss, increasing their season total to 29

-The first two drives of the second half were the first time this season Decorah scored on back-to-back possessions

-Cam DeLong has field goals in four straight games. That’s the longest FG streak for a Decorah kicker since Josh Lee kicked a field goal in six straight games in 2011

-Decorah won the field position battle for the first time since week 1. The Vikings average starting field position was their own 34. Crestwood’s average starting field position was their own 25.

-Decorah’s defense was able to cut the amount of big plays given up down against Crestwood. The Vikings gave up five plays of more than 20 yards against both Waukon and Cedar Rapids Xavier and four such plays against Western Dubuque. Decorah cut that total down to two against the Cadets.

-Drake Shelton had his first career two-touchdown game

-After getting outscored 49-10 in the second quarter in the first three games of the season, Decorah outscored Crestwood 6-0 in the second quarter Friday night

-Decorah is now four for six in the red zone this season and is five for eight on fourth down conversions

-Cam DeLong is averaging 39.2 yards per punt, the 8th best in Class 3-A.

-DeLong has made four field goals this season, tied for the fourth best in all classes of high school

-DeLong has eight touchbacks this season, tied for the 7th most in Class 3-A

Decorah 23, Crestwood 6

HOW IT HAPPENED

Traditional Decorah football. The Vikings ran for 290 yards, an average of 6.6 yards per carry, and played a bend but don’t break defense which limited Crestwood to six points despite gaining 258 yards. The Cadets yardage total was 105 above their season average.

KEY SEQUENCE

A 66 yard, 13 play drive that took the first 5:55 of the second half off the clock leading to a Cam DeLong 31-yard field goal. The scoring drive gave Decorah a 9-0 lead. The Vikings would have a two-score lead the rest of the game.

NOTABLE

Decorah’s defense had eight tackles for a loss, improving their season total to 29. The first two drives of the second half were the first time this season the Vikings scored on consecutive possessions. Decorah has now defeated Crestwood 17 straight times.

QUOTABLE

“That is Decorah football. That is great stuff.”-Decorah coach Pat Trewin

WHAT IT MEANS

An offense that was stagnant the last two weeks came alive with 23 points and 361 yards of total offense, averaging 7.4 yards per play. Viking fans are hoping it will give that side of the ball some much needed confidence after putting up only three points in the last two weeks.

UP NEXT

District play. Decorah will open at Waverly-Shell Rock, who is 4-0 after a 13-6 win over New Hampton Friday night. Crestwood, now 1-3, will travel to Iowa Falls-Alden.

Things to correct, but plenty of time to do so

The Decorah football program is not used to being 1-2 after three games. In fact, the Vikings have only been 1-2 or 0-3 twice in the last 13 years. When something happens that many aren’t used to, there’s tendency to panic and over-react. But with six football games left in the regular season, including the entire district schedule, an emotional response isn’t the rational one. The Vikings will look to get back on the winning track Friday hosting Crestwood for Homecoming.
“You lose a couple of games and you think everything is going wrong,” said Decorah coach Pat Trewin. “But there are a lot of really good football plays happening, especially on the defensive side.We’ve improved and our guys see that and notice that.”
The Vikings held Western Dubuque, a team that was averaging 48 points per game in its first two contests, to just 19 points last week. Decorah’s defense shutout the Bobcats in the second half. Other defensive highlights through three games include five takeaways and a total of 21 tackles for a loss. The Vikings have, however, struggled to get off the field the last two weeks. Decorah opponents were 14 of 25 attempts on third down conversions against Cedar Rapids Xavier and Western Dubuque.
“We need to finish plays,” said Trewin. “To be fair the two quarterbacks we faced the last two weeks are two of the best we’ve seen in quite some time. But we need to get a better pass rush and to break on the ball better to help ourselves get off the field.”
The Vikings have struggled offensively scoring only six points in the last two games. Its the first time in at least 13 years Decorah has gone back-to-back weeks without scoring a touchdown. “We’ve got to hit some passing plays if teams are going to stack the box,” said Trewin. “And there have been times we’ve missed a block or two putting us into second or third and long and that isn’t a situation we want to put ourselves in.”
Crestwood enters the matchup in a similar situation to the Vikings. The Cadets are 1-2. Their defense has shined giving up just 36 points in the first three contests. “Defensively we’ve come a long way,” said Cadet coach Skip Eckhardt, who is beginning his second stint as Crestwood’s head coach. “We’ve played good team defense with good gang-tackling and the coaches have provided good schemes as well.”
The other side of the ball still has a ways to go for Crestwood. On offense, the Cadets are averaging just 4.3 points and 158 yards per game. “We haven’t been able to do the little things,” said Eckhardt. “A little miss here, a miss there, a dropped pass, some silly penalities, can all make things hard on yourselves. We’re working hard to improve that.”
Despite both teams being 1-2, district play does not begin until next week. A chance to restart the season is something both teams are appreciative of. “It definitely is,” said Eckhardt. “But it’s important to win any game with the new playoff system. We’ve played three bigger schools and hopefully that will get us ready for district play.”
“The guys know that we can still go out and the win the district and qualify for the postseason,” said Trewin. “And that is one of our goals, just like every team in the state.”
Despite Crestwood moving to Class 2-A three years ago, the two programs have continue to schedule one another. It has allowed the long-time rivalry to continue. Both coaches agree, the more things change, the more they say the same. “Crestwood prides themselves on being physical,” said Trewin. “They’re going to smack you in the mouth and they always come to play.”
“They’re typical Decorah,” said Eckhardt. “Great team, well-coached, they play great team ball and get after it. It’s been that way since I was in high school (at Crestwood) in the 1970s.”
Decorah has won the last 16 match ups between the two teams. The Vikings defeated the Cadets twice in 2008, eliminating Crestwood in the quaterfinal round of the playoffs.

Emptying the Notebook-Week 3

-Decorah has gone back-to-back games without scoring a touchdown. With box scores available back to 2006, that has not happened in that time

-Decorah’s lowest two-game point total in that time was week two and three of 2007 when Decorah scored a total of 7 points

-Decorah has scored first in each of its first three games

-Decorah has given up 74 points and 12 touchdowns. 49 of those points and seven of those touchdowns have come in the second quarter

-In Decorah’s win, they were ten of 15 on third down conversions, their opponent was four of 12 on third down conversions. In Decorah’s two losses, they were five of 24 on third down conversions, their opponents have been 14 of 25 on third down conversions

-In Decorah’s win, they had 22 first downs. In Decorah’s two losses they’ve had a total of 16 first downs

-Decorah did not have a running play of more than seven yards against Western Dubuque

-Decorah’s opponents have a record of 8-1 thus far. The rest of the opponent record of Decorah’s district foes: Waterloo East 5-4, Charles City and Waverly-Shell Rock 3-6, West Delaware and Independence 2-7

-Decorah’s defense has 21 tackles for a loss in the first three games and has also forced five turnovers

-Decorah’s offense went three-and-out on six of its nine possessions against West Dubuque and the Vikings have been three-and-out on ten of their last 20 possessions

-Decorah defense has only forced one three-and-out in its last 21 possessions

-Clay Johansen’s 14 tackles and Tanner Knutson’s 12 tackles against Western Dubuque were career highs.