Hounds repeat shut out in season opener

Fort Madison's Brock Califf drops a ball in between Central Lee defenders TJ Stutes and Corbin Pohren. The Hounds won 17-0 to open the season. Photo by Ethan Lillard/PCC

Lozano goes for 140 yards and a score in 17-0 win over Central Lee


FORT MADISON – Had it not been for an untimely fumble out of the back of the end zone in the third quarter, the Fort Madison Bloodhound’s season-opener would have mirrored last year’s 24-0 win in Donnellson.

But the Hounds did usher in the Doherty era with a win against 17-0 shutout of the Hawks Friday night to highlight local high school football action.

“I guess it’s kind of spooky,” first-year Head Coach Derek Doherty said of the back-to-back shutouts and nearly identical scores.

“At the end of it, it’s about (the kids). The crowd, they don’t see these kids at weights at 6:45 a.m. every day. They don’t see these kids and the investment that they make and the sacrifices that they make to be high school athletes and we’re super proud of that. Winning feels great, but seeing their investment pay off and them being proud of the work they put in is what it’s about.”

Fort Madison scored on it’s first offensive drive of the game. Junior Diego Lozano marched the Hounds down the field breaking off big chunks of yardage each time he was fed the ball, ultimately capping off the 13-play drive with a 3rdand goal touchdown for the 6-0 lead. Landes Williams made the point after try and gave the Hounds a 7-0 lead.

Fort Madison senior Diego Lozano looks for running room Friday night as Central Lee’s Jonny Snider tries to close in. Lozano led the Bloodhounds with 140 yards rushing and a touchdown on the night. Photo by Ethan Lillard/PCC

For the rest of the first half, offense was hard to come by.

Fort Madison held Central Lee to a three-and-out its first offensive possession. The Hounds then marched down the field with their second offensive possession, but a Williams field goal attempt just missed the right upright, giving the Hawks back possession on their own 20.

The Hound defense held Central Lee to three-and-outs on its next four possessions before the Hawks finally got a first down with 8:38 remaining in the second quarter. The momentum was short lived however, as Central Lee was held to just its one first down in the first half, allowing Fort Madison to head into the half with a 7-0 advantage.

“It was a pretty easy halftime talk to be honest,” Doherty said. “It had nothing to do with schematics, it had everything to do with the two things we pride ourselves on – and that’s attitude and effort.

“At times we didn’t have that effort. With attitude and effort comes execution and when you’re missing one of them, you don’t execute.”

With under a minute to play in the third quarter, it appeared as if the Bloodhounds were going to put the game away as Lozano broke away from would-be tacklers and raced towards the end zone. At the very last second a Central Lee defender caught up and stripped the ball. Lozano and his teammates dove for the ball, but it was knocked out of the back of the end zone before anyone could establish possession, giving Central Lee the ball on its own 20-yard line on a ruled touchback.

Central Lee quarterback Evan Pohren (4) tries to get away from the Hounds pressure led by Keaton Poe (25) and several other Bloodhounds in late action Friday night. Photo by Ethan Lillard/PCC

After the fumble, Fort Madison’s defense continued to shut down any hopes of offense from Central Lee, holding the Hawks to another three and out.

Brock Califf reeled off an impressive day as a return man on the punt, giving the Hounds possession at the Central Lee 39-yard line. A Hawks penalty combined with runs from quarterback Will Larson and Lozano put Fort Madison in field goal territory where Williams sent the ball through the uprights for a 10-0 lead with 8:51 to play.

Keaton Poe came up with an interception on Central Lee’s next offensive series, leaving the Bloodhounds just 11 yards shy of another touchdown. Two plays later Larson hooked up with Parker Denning in the left corner of the end zone for Fort Madison’s second score and a 17-0 lead.

Caleb Wood laid the wood with a sack of Central Lee’s quarterback Evan Pohren on the Hawks very next offensive play and two plays later Denning came up with an interception, sealing the game for the Hounds as they ran the clock and held the Hawks one final drive for the 17-0 victory.

“I think coach Crooks had those guys ready to go,” Doherty said of his defensive coordinator Jason Crooks.

“We stayed in our base defense pretty much all night. We just have fire breathers. We had guys wanting to play the game of football on the defensive side and it was a lot of fun to watch to be honest.”

Lozano paced Fort Madison with 19 rushing attempts for 140 yards. Larson was 19 of 41 passing for 107 yards and a touchdown Denning had five catches for 26 yards and the touchdown. Quentin Schneider had four tackles and nine assists, while Larson had five solo tackles to lead Fort Madison on defense.

For the Hawks, Pohren went 11 of 28 for 54 yards and three interceptions. On the ground, the Hounds held Central Lee to -1 yards rushing. David Vance had 10.5 tackles, eight solo, to lead Central Lee defensively. Stutes and Dylan Stuecker both had interceptions for Central Lee.

Seniors Parker Denning (FM) and TJ Stutes (2) goes up for a ball in the first quarter of Friday night’s 17-0 Fort Madison win in Fort Madison. Photo by Ethan Lillard/PCC

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