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Orabs' ground game tramples Generals, 39-7

SIBLEY, Iowa -- Rushing the football 61 times for 302 yards, the Sheldon Orabs overcame an early 7-0 deficit and rolled to a 39-7 victory over Sibley-Ocheyedan in 2A, District 1 action.

Both teams entered the game undefeated and excitement was at a high pitch as orange and black colors dominated both sets of bleachers.

On their first drive of the evening, a 63-yard touchdown strike from Ross Wiersma to Cody Dirks thrilled the larger home crowd side. Marshall Doeden's extra-point kick gave the Generals a quick 7-0 lead with 9:14 showing on the first quarter clock.

S-O (2-1) had been moving the ball well on the ground and when Dirks broke open on a post pattern over the middle, Wiersma (6-of-11 passing for 121 yards) hit the streaking 160-pound senior back in stride for the game's first big play.

"We came out pumped up and ready to play, so scoring that first touchdown was big for us," S-O assistant coach Daryl Tutje said. "It was a well-executed pass play and sparked our excitement."

After the Generals stopped the Orabs on their first possession, S-O was moving the ball again.

But an interception by Sheldon's Ryan Warnke gave the visitors the ball at their own 38-yard line.

After several runs by senior back Nick Pulscher, the Orabs gained great field position on a pass interference call against the Generals.

Setting up at the S-O 31-yard line, Sheldon ran the ball with mixed results, as Levi Hibma and Justin Truckenmiller teamed up for a big defensive play for the Generals.

A few plays later, after being penalized for an illegal block, the Orabs were back at the 31 and facing a second down and 21.

Sheldon quarterback Nic Meendering (7-of-12 passing, 90 yards) found Pulscher with a screen pass along the left sideline.

Picking up some nice blocks, Pulscher broke loose for a 31-yard scoring play, putting the Orabs on the board as the first quarter ended.

"We executed on that play," Sheldon head coach Mike Meendering said. "Our offensive line did a nice job all night long and Pulscher was hard to bring down."

Sheldon scored its second touchdown midway through the second quarter -- again on the first play after a penalty -- as 157-pound junior back Danny Ridenour (nine carries, 69 yards) broke free for a 34-yard touchdown dash.

The burst, through the right side of the Orab line, capped a nine-play, 76-yard drive that chewed up three minutes and gave Sheldon a 12-7 lead with 5:24 to play in the first half.

After a three-and-out by the Generals, the Orabs were moving again -- but were stopped by S-O's Dylan Vande Garde's pass interception at the Generals' 41-yard line.

But Sheldon's defense forced S-O to punt again and gained great field position when the snap was low and the punter's knee touched the ground on the recovery.

Starting at the S-O 33-yard line, the Orabs punched it across with 34 seconds left in the second quarter when Pulscher bulled in from five yards out.

Graeme St. Clair's kick was good and Sheldon took a 19-7 lead into halftime.

Sheldon had 10 first downs and 213 total yards in the first half, sparked by Pulscher's 53 rushing yards on 10 carries.

"Nick punished some people with his rushes," praised coach Meendering. "He did an outstanding job and our line continued to sustain their blocks and give our backs nice openings."

Sheldon's interior line -- left tackle Kevin Huss, left guard John Oldenkamp, center Michael Westphalen, right guard Jared Johnson and right tackle Kyle Huss -- blocked well enough for the Orabs to control the ball for the first five minutes of the third quarter.

But Vande Garde's second pick of the game gave the Generals new life with 6:54 to play in the third.

Two minutes later, however, Sheldon gathered up one of its four fumble recoveries on the night and started a drive from the Generals 32.

After a 19-yard gain by Pulscher put the ball inside the 10, the Orabs made it 26-7 with Pulscher's third TD of the game (three yards out) and the kick by St. Clair.

Sheldon added a pair of fourth quarter touchdowns as Meendering hit Andy Goeb for a 14-yard score and later ran 15 yards on a "student body" sweep to the right with seven minutes remaining in the game.

"We made lots of good defensive plays," said Tutje. "But Sheldon's third down conversions were key and they were able to sustain many drives."

Leading the S-O defense were Kyle Trieweller and Brian Block -- each with five solo tackles and seven assists -- along with Vande Garde who assisted on 11 tackles and had two interceptions.

Doeden had three catches for 53 yards for S-O, while Wiersma rushed for 46 yards on 16 carries.

Pulscher finished the game with 159 yards on 24 rushes.

Kyle Huss recovered a pair of fumbles for the Orabs, while both Andrew De Vries and K.C. Weaver were credited with fumble recoveries.

S-O travels to Cherokee next week, while Sheldon (3-0) hosts Central Lyon (3-0) in a clash of undefeated teams.

Sheldon 6 13 7 13 -- 39

S-O 7 0 0 0 -- 7

H-LP 71, R-A 7

AYRESHIRE, Iowa -- Harris-Lake Park scored 65 points in the first half on its way to a big victory over Ruthven-Ayreshire.

Chris Hemphill rushed the ball 12 times for 121 yards and four touchdowns. He also had a touchdown reception.

Mychal Sheridan (seven tackles) scored a pair of touchdowns on a reception and an interception return. John Vandermeulen had a 50-yard touchdown reception.

Kyle Jacobsen and Austin Jacobsen combined to complete 3-of-6 passes for 74 yards and three touchdowns, while Nate Brueggeman was 9-for-9 on extra-point kicks.

Kyle Kruger recovered a fumble and returned it for a touchdown, while Jake Bosma had three sacks (one for a safety). Matt Mayou led H-LP with 13 tackles.

The Wolves (3-0) rushed the ball 28 times for 193 yards and host Whiting Friday.

H-LP 35 30 0 6 -- 71

R-A 0 0 0 7 -- 7

Other scores

In other Iowa Prep football action, Central Lyon/George-Little Rock defeated Unity Christian, 46-0. West Sioux knocked off Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn, 23-16, while Sergeant Bluff-Luton edged Spirit Lake, 7-3.