After completing an undefeated season and winning a Class 3A District 7 championship, the Pella High football team enters the playoffs as one of only three undefeated teams in Class 3A and is one of the hottest teams in the state.
Coach Jay Mckinstrey says that aside, they know anything can happen in the playoffs as they proved last year when they were a number four seed and knocked off four ranked opponents on their way to the championship game, so they must be ready to play four strong quarters every game.
There’s no secret to the fact that their defense has been a major part of their success this season holding opponents to just 27 total points in nine games, 14 of which came in week one at Newton. The offense benefitted as well consistently working with short fields which led to numerous scoring opportunities as the Little Dutch outscored their opponents this season 352-27.
Tonight the opponent is Dallas Center Grimes who comes in with a record of 5-4 and earned the 4th seed out of Class 3A District 8. Pella coach Jay Mckinstrey says there are a couple key areas they have been stressing to the kids in practice that he feels are very important, regardless of who the opponent is, if they plan to make a return trip to the UNI Dome. He says they must cut down on penalties and can not turn the ball over and notes their offense and defense must continue to play at the level they’ve been playing while also getting strong special teams play. He says if you look back at last year’s post season run which led them all the way to the championship game, they were out statted on offense and defense in every game, but they didn’t make mistakes and took advantage of good field position due to strong special teams play and he believes a good team can win any game if they don’t make mistakes and win the turnover battle.
Mckinstrey says another key area for them all season, including the post season is their depth in the backfield and the fact they have numerous guys, each with different strengths, that can carry the ball in different situations and that allows them to stay fresh and wear down opposing defenses. He also notes that all their running backs are healthy and ready to go tonight.
Tickets for tonight’s game are on sale today from 7:30am-3:15pm in the High School Athletic Director’s office. They are $6.00 each and fans are encouraged to get them in advance to avoid waiting in line at the gate. Gates to the stadium will open at 6pm tonight. You can hear tonight’s game live with Eric Gotschall and Randy Sikkema on 92.1 FM KRLS and kniakrls.com starting with the pre game at 6:30pm and kickoff at 7pm.