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Pella Avenges Loss to DC-G, Heads to the Dome for 4th Straight Year

Posted: Saturday, November 4th, 2017 at 6:01 am
Author: KNIA/KRLS Sports - Trevor Castle

An early third quarter barrage was the difference as Pella rallied to beat Dallas Center-Grimes last night 35-18 in the class 3A quarterfinals in Grimes in a game heard live on 92.1 KRLS.

It didn’t start well for the Little Dutch, as Ryan Gustafson threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown less than two minutes into the game. Pella answered, however, with a score on their next offensive play, when Gus hit Avery Van Zee on a 66-yard pass.

Another Gustafson interception led to a Mustangs field goal, with Pella answering the bell again with a 68-yard scoring drive capped by a Reece Schnell 3-yard score to give Pella a 14-10 lead at intermission.

Coming out of the halftime break, Pella took control of the game with a 14-0 spurt that took just 70 seconds. Gabe Thomas returned the second half kick to the DC-G 29, with Gustafson hitting Van Zee on a long touchdown two plays later. The Little Dutch then recovered a Mustang fumble on the ensuing kickoff, and Schnell paid it off on the next play.

While there was still nearly an entire half of football to be played, Little Dutch coach Jay McKinstrey says that felt like the beginning of the end.

“To start the second half that way, you talk about the last five minutes of the first half where we held them out of the end zone. Then we start the second half the way we did to get 14 points in 70 seconds, starting with Gabe’s great kickoff return. The whole level of play, I just think that got our offensive line believing. And you’ve got to think that DC-G kind of had their head down a little bit and it allowed us to play better up front and take over the game.”

Schnell tacked on another score late in the third quarter, and the Mustangs found the end zone in the game’s final minutes for the 35-18 final.

After being held to just 14 rushing yards on 25 carries in the first meeting between the two teams, the Little Dutch ran for 203 yards in last night’s victory. Gustafson only completed 3-of-7 passes, and threw two picks, but he had 124 yards and the two touchdowns to Van Zee.

The Pella defense also played lights out, limiting the DC-G rushing attack to less than half of its season average with only 104 yards, and holding the Mustangs to just 1-of-11 on third down conversions, with the one coming on the game’s final drive against a backup defense.

Fifth-ranked Pella improves to 10-1 on the season, and will play #6 Harlan next Thursday night at 5:36 in the class 3A semifinals at the UNI-Dome. The other 3A semifinal pits #1 Xavier against #2 Solon.