MV in a fight for playoff berth
October 11, 2013 · Jake Krob
After a one-touchdown loss to Class 2A, District 4 leader Cascade Friday night, the Mount Vernon football team is now in a battle for a playoff bid.
The Mustangs fell 20-14 in their homecoming game against the Cougars, putting them at 2-2 and fourth in the district standings. Two more district games remain - at home against Camanche Oct. 18 and against Center Point-Urbana Oct. 25.
Those last two battles of the season, said coach Duane Orr, "will determine if we qualify for a playoff spot."
This Friday Mount Vernon travels to Louisa-Muscatine for non-district action. L&M racked up 147 points in their last two games - a 75-38 win over Columbus Junction and a 72-34 victory over West Burlington.
"This is a chance to build some momentum," Orr said. It might not count for playoffs, but the coach added, "it's another football game - we need to use it to improve."
Louisa-Muscatine has one of the best running games in the state - it's in the top six with 2,129 rushing yards this season.
"This will be one of our biggest tests," Orr said, referring to his defense.
This past Friday night also brought a big test for the Mustangs when Cascade came to town.
The Cougars have made the playoffs four of the last five seasons. They entered Friday's game with one of the top-10 receivers in the state, junior Nate Bergfeld.
Mount Vernon's offense started out strong, using a nearly 60-yard drive on runs by Mickey Hines and Jake Pisarik, and passes from Pisarik to Johnny See and Connor Herrmann, to get within 14 yards of a touchdown.
But Cascade intercepted the ball in the end zone to halt the scoring attempt.
Two possessions later, the Cougars stretched out a drive that resulted in a touchdown pass seconds into the second quarter. With a missed PAT, Cascade led 6-0.
Late in the first half, the Cougars started a drive on their own 18-yard line. A quarterback sack by Mustangs Robbie Peters and Daniel Abresch, followed by two incomplete passes by the Cougars, put Cascade at fourth-and-seven at midfield. Cascade faked the punt and three plays later earned a touchdown and two-point conversion for a 14-0 halftime lead.
Orr said he and his coaching staff were proud of the way their Mustangs responded at halftime.
"We told them it really came down to digging deeper - they found that in the second half," Orr said.
Assisted by strong defensive plays, including an early third-quarter interception by Mustang Spencer Drahos, the Mustangs kept Cascade scoreless in the third quarter.
And the Mount Vernon offense put points on the board. In a drive that started on their own 33-yard line, the Mustangs used Pisarik passes to Luke Maddock, runs by Hines, and a 20-yard scamper by Trey Ryan to get within 24 yards of the end zone. Facing fourth-and-four, Pisarik connected on a pass to Maddock for a touchdown. Keanan Shannon booted the extra point to put the score at 14-7 Cascade.
The Cougars took the kickoff and turned it into another scoring drive, for a 20-7 lead two minutes into the final quarter.
With less than three minutes left in the game, Pisarik connected with Noah Dahlstrom on a 38-yard pass to put the Mustangs on Cascade's three-yard line. Pisarik ran the ball in for a touchdown, and Shannon hit the extra point to put Mount Vernon within six (20-14 Cascade).
The Mustangs attempted an onside kick, and battled in the final seconds, but were unable to complete the comeback.
"If there would have been another minute, I think we would have won that football game," said Orr. "I'm really proud of the way our kids battled in that second half."
Mount Vernon vs. Cascade
CAS 20, MV 14
MV 0 0 7 7 14
CAS 0 14 0 6 20
Rushing 32-133 34-109
Passing 15-29-1 17-22-1
Pass yds 178 198
Punts 5-238 4-157
Mustang stat leaders
Rushing (carries-yds): Ryan 14-77, Pisarik 5-34, Hines 10-26, Drahos 1-2
Passing (comp-att-int): Pisarik 9-18-1, Hook 5-10-0, Dahlstrom 1-1-0
Receiving (catches-yds): Maddock 4-65, Dahlstrom 5-64, See 3-26, Herrmann 3-23
Interceptions: Drahos 1
Fumble recoveries: Pisarik 1
Tackles: Drahos 13, Cannon 10, Dahlstrom 9, Kuntz 9, Ryan 7, Peters 7, Pisarik 5, L.Muller 5, Lamparek 5, Abresch 4, Hof 4, Herrmann 3, R.Muller 2
Sacks: Peters 2, Cannon 1, Abresch 1