BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
OSKALOOSA – The night turned upside down in hurry for the Bloodhounds in a 58-14 loss to Oskaloosa Friday night.
Coming into the game 2-0, the Hounds were hoping to give the Indians, whose only loss was to top-ranked Pella, a run for their money on the road.
But the first series set the tone for the game as Oskaloosa was all over the Hounds from the get go forcing two Lennon Barker incompletions on the first series of the game. On 4 and 12 the snap sailed over the head of Barker and into the endzone. Barker flipped the ball out of the back of the endzone for a safety. Oskaloosa then returned the ensuing kick for a touchdown, but that was nullified by a holding penalty and the hosts took over at the Hounds’ 41.
The Bloodhounds didn’t have an answer for the Indians senior quarterback Seth Howard who had success running and throwing against the Hounds all night. He started by going 5 of 5 including a 19-yard touchdown to Tanner DeKock on their first drive of the game to give the Indians a 9-0 lead.
The Hounds regrouped and Barker found Lorenzo Riles twice on the Hounds’ next possession, including a 16-yard completion on 1-10 from the 20 and then again for 31 yards on 3rd and 16 to get the ball to the Indians’ 11. On the next snap, Barker found Quentin Estrada for a 10-yard gain to the 1, where Alex Gully pushed across the goal line. The PAT was blocked and the Hounds were down 9-6.
The Indians got two first downs in the next series and then attempted a 53-yard field goal that came up just short right and the Hounds took over at the 20 and went four and out.
Howard led the Indians back down the field for a 10-play, 52-yard drive capped by a Howard pass to 6’8″ wideout Cole Henry who drug Sheymouhr Redd-Donald into the end zone after a short 6 yard pass play for a 16-6 lead.
The Hounds had something going on the next possession, but a 16-yard sack of Barker on 3rd and 13 forced a punt. Howard took the next snap at the 34 and scampered through the middle of the field and cut right and down the sideline to put the Indians up 23-6.
Barker suffered his first interception of the year on the next possession on 3rd and 14. Howard and Indians running back Casey Hill went right to work on the Hounds. Miller rushed for 20 yards on two carries in the series and Howard completed two passes for 20 yards and then ran it in from 15 yards out to put the lead at 30-6. Howard would score again on the Indians next possession after holding the Hounds to a 4 and out, on an eight-yard run.
Fort Madison would get back on the board in the next series after Gully returned the kick 13 yards to the 14. Barker went 5-6 for 74 yards that ended with a 2-yard touchdown pass to Shance Redd-Donald. The two also hooked up on the conversion to make it 37-14, which would be the Hounds last score of the game.
Both teams went out on downs on their next possessions. After a Lennon Barker punt to the Indians 42, Howard dropped back on first and 10 and Shance Redd-Donald was patrolling the middle and picked the pass off and raced down the right sideline to about the 20-yard line. However Redd-Donald was flagged for a personal foul getting up and then another flag went flying when a Hound questioned the call. After all was said and done the Hounds suffered a 30-yard penalty.
“We were just undisciplined there. That was not us,” Head Coach Tony Shiffman said after the game. “I’m not angry that we lost, I’m disappointed. This is not the way we know how to play. This is not us.”
Barker threw a couple incompletions and was sacked for a 10-yard loss forcing the Hounds to punt again. Flags were all over on the next series, a total of seven on the series. But the Indians were able to move the ball down the field with 1:23 left in the half and scored when Howard found Henry again on a 4-yard score.
The Indians’ Hill found the end zone on the first possession after the half to push the lead to 51-14 starting a running clock. Sophomore Tyler Miller would add another score in the fourth quarter to set the final score at 58-14.
Senior Alex Gully would break off another run on the last drive but was pushed out at the one after a 44-yard run. The Hounds next three attempts at the goal were shot down by the Indians.
Gully finished with 91 yards on 17 carries including a touchdown to lead the Hounds on the ground. Barker was 15 of 31 for 187 yards, a touchdown, and two interceptions on the night. Redd-Donald had six receptions for 68 yards, one touchdown, and a two-point conversion. Riles II finished with two receptions for 58 yards.
Redd-Donald and Sam Hayes led the Hounds on defense with four solo tackles each.
“This was a tough one,” Shiffman said. “We played well at times, but we’re just not there yet. We don’t know how to handle adversity yet.”
He said the Hounds prepared for what Oskaloosa brought to the game.
“Everything we saw… everything they ran, we practiced against. It came down to us not executing on offense or defense.”
He said the offense struggled executing and getting the ball into the right players’ hands.
“We were trying to use the field and get the ball to our best athletes and make plays. These changes aren’t going to happen overnight and I’m the one that has to be patient and understand that. That was a good football team and they are well-coached, but they aren’t 44 points better than us.”
The Hounds return home Friday to take on West Burlington-Notre Dame-Danville starting at 7:30 p.m.