Pleasantville opened up a 14-14 game with 10:17 left in the half, taking advantage of an Albia fumble and an interception to take a 27-14 lead into the half. Unfortunately, critical mistakes continued for Albia in the second half with the Trojans stripping the ball and running it back 82 yards and another interception that led to a 57-yard touchdown and a 46-14 victory.
In total, the Blue Demons fumbled three times and lost two and gave up four interceptions. Errors wiped out an otherwise good offensive effort and a defensive effort that was very good at times. If there was anything missing, it was zero catches for Nate Wynn and Jackson Pence, two of Blake Chance’s favorite receivers. But Blake Stewart had a brilliant game receiving, catching six passes for 174 yards including a 74-yard touchdown pass. Sophomore Damon Sovern was solid rushing and receiving with 11 carries for 35 yards and four catches for 20. Luke Bossard had three catches for 21 yards including an eight-yard touchdown.
You couldn’t have scripted a better game offensively for both teams in the first quarter. There were few surprises for the Albia defense as the ball was handed to Cale Anthony a lot and quarterback Caylor Clark ran and passed the ball well.
Clark opened the first Trojan drive with an eight-yard run, Anthony rushed twice for a first down at the Albia 39, Clark ran for 14, Anthony twice more for four yards each to the 16 and then ran three straight times to the one where Clark scored with 9:00 left. The kick failed.
Albia’s offense started at the 42 and looked crisp. On a third and nine, Chance hit Stewart for 42 yards to the 15, then Chance rushed for six, Bossard for one and Chance hit Bossard with an eight-yard touchdown pass. David Fisher’s kick was good and Albia led 7-6 with 6:12 left in the quarter.
The Trojans ran 12 plays starting at their own 19 with Clark picking up a first down with an 11-yard pass, but Albia’s defense held when Doug Flattery sniffed out a screen pass and dropped the receiver for a three-yard loss forcing a punt.
The ball rolled dead at the four. It looked like the luck of the Irish was with the Blue Demons when Bossard fumbled at the two, but Nate Wynn picked up the fumble and ran it 17 yards. Chance hit Stewart for 15 yards, and on third and seven at the 35 found Stewart again, this time for 65 yards and a score. Fisher’s kick gave Albia a 14-7 lead with 1:13 left in the quarter.
Pleasantville took over at the 15, a steady diet of Clark and Anthony drove the ball to the five, where Anthony scored with 10:17 left in the half. The run was good and the game was knotted at 14-14.
It appeared Albia would drive again for the go-ahead score when Chance found Stewart for 24. But Chance was dropped for a six-yard loss and a 13-yard pass to Sovern came up four yards short of the first down at the 45 forcing a punt.
Albia’s defense stiffened as Pleasantville took over at their 16, Clark recovered his own fumble, but the Trojans punted from the 26 and Albia had great field position at the 43.
Bossard gained two, six and one on consecutive runs and Chance ran for a first down at the 45. But on second and 10, he threw behind his receiver into the arms of Clark. The Trojans took advantage and moved in 10 plays to the eight on a 15-yard pass. Anthony ran the ball in with 1:49 left in the half. The kick gave Pleasantville its first lead, 21-14.
Disaster struck after the kickoff return to the 31. Chance fumbled, Pleasantville recovered and scored five plays later with Anthony running in from the four, taking a 27-14 lead into the half.
The third quarter looked good for Albia as Chance found Stewart for what looked like a 30-yard gain, but the ball came back to the 16 on a holding call. Bossard caught a pass for seven, but Albia punted and on the punt return Albia was called for a 15-yard penalty, the first of several highly questionable calls and no calls.
Pleasantville took over at the 42 and scored on a 23-yard run by Anthony with 8:07 left in the quarter, making the score 33-14.
The Blue Demon offense continued to click with Chance hitting Bossard for six and Stewart for eight and a first down. Stewart caught another pass for 17 to the 31, and Sovern ran for eight and five to give Albia a first down at the 18. Then Chance ran and looked like he was down at about the 14. But whistles never blew, Anthony grabbed the ball out of his hands and ran the other way 82 yards for the score, giving Pleasantville a 40-14 lead with 5:35 left in the quarter.
Coach Justin Huber was still fuming on Monday. “It wasn’t the first time the officials failed to blow plays dead,” said Coach Huber. “Blake was on his butt when the Anthony kid pulled the ball away from him. I don’t blame him. We teach our kids to play until the whistle. That’s exactly what he did.”
Confronting the officials about their spotty use of the whistle, Coach Huber was told they didn’t have to blow their whistles if the play was clearly over. “That’s the craziest thing I’ve ever heard,” Huber said. “I told them that somebody was going to get hurt.”
Albia punted on it next possession, but after a 50-yard pass completion from Clark to Mann, the Trojans fumbled and Albia got it back at their own 18. Sovern had a nice 12-yard run, but lost four on his next try, then caught a two-yard pass from Chance setting up third and 13. But Kolbie Jarvis stepped in front of an Albia receiver, picked off a Chance pass and ran 43 yards for the touchdown with two seconds left in the third quarter.
Reserves from both teams played most of the fourth quarter. Garin Grinstead was four for nine passing for 23 yards and an interception and Chris Kilfoyle and Sovern were on the receiving end of Grinstead’s passing.