In a defensive battle, 4th seeded Pella made the plays when it counted to gain a 10-7 win at second seeded Grinnell last night in the opening round of the Class 3A high school football playoffs. Both teams moved the ball in the first half but neither defense would give in. Pella had a chance to get on the board late in the second quarter but a 28 yard field goal attempt fell short and the game was scoreless at halftime. The Little Dutch connected through the air to get on the board first in the third quarter. Blaine Forsythe found Josh Pringle on a 54 yard pass to move deep into Tigers territory, then the two connected on a 27 yard touchdown moments later to put Pella ahead 7-0 with six minutes remaining in the third quarter. Pella maintained that lead until Grinnell broke loose on an 80 yard catch and run to tie the score with 6 minutes remaining in the game . Pella answered right back driving down the field and settled for a 23 yard field goal from Forsythe giving Pella a 10-7 lead with just 1:47 remaining and the Pella defense answered the call once again forcing a turnover on downs which allowed Pella to run out the clock and get the win. Pella coach Jay Mckinstrey said Pella’s defense answered the call all night and was the difference maker in the game. Pella held Grinnell’s leading rusher Jake O’Polka to just 77 yards on 22 carries. Blaine Forsythe connected on 7-19 passes for 107 yards and a touchdown, Matt “Bubba” Meyers carried nine times for 105 yards and Josh Pringle was the leading receiver with two catches for 81 yards and a touchdown. Pella now gets to come home for Friday night’s Class 3A quarterfinals and will get a rematch with district champion, undefeated Centerville who beat Clear Creek Amana last night 30-13, with a trip to the UNI Dome on the line. Centerville beat Pella 44-43 at Centerville in overtime in week three of the season and went on to win the district while Pella finished fourth. Mckinstrey says it’s no secret to them Centerville will be very tough and they’re excited to play back at home. Pella is 8-3 on the season while Centerville is a perfect 11-0. You can hear Friday’s game on 92.1 FM KRLS.