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Prep football: Sibley-Ocheyedan swarms over Unity

SIBLEY, Iowa -- Sibley-Ocheyedan's defense swarmed the Unity Christian running game, filling every gap and gang-tackling every ball-carrier in the Generals 27-6 victory in Iowa Class 1A, District 1 football on Friday in Sibley.

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Tim Middagh/Daily Globe Sibley-Ocheyedan's Garrett Sayler (2) breaks out into open field on a punt return Friday night as Unity Christian's Drew Vreugdenhil (57) gives chase.

SIBLEY, Iowa -- Sibley-Ocheyedan’s defense swarmed the Unity Christian running game, filling every gap and gang-tackling every ball-carrier in the Generals 27-6 victory in Iowa Class 1A, District 1 football on Friday in Sibley.

The Knights gained 173 total yards in the game, with 131 coming through the air. S-O did not allow them any space to run the ball. Despite Unity’s best efforts, it managed only 16 rushing yards on 25 attempts. And the Knights’ only score -- and most of their 181 passing yards -- came late in the fourth quarter, with the game well out of hand.

The S-O front dominated the line of scrimmage on pass plays as well, and sacked the quarterback four times. Matt Naig had two of them, while Hunter DeJong and Colby Wagenaar had one apiece.

“I have to give credit to the defensive line,” Wagenaar said. “Those boys are big up there. They’re taking up one, two blocks each at a time and freeing up the linebackers to to go and make the plays and make the hits that made the difference.”

Wagenaar’s defensive effort gave the Generals all the momentum going into halftime. With 32 ticks to go in the second quarter, he stripped the ball from Samuel Byker after he caught a pass from Charlie Poppema, to give Sibley-Ocheyedan the ball at the Unity 47.

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S-O quarterback Spencer Marco then completed three straight passes to find paydirt with two seconds remaining. He completed a 16-yard pass to Garrett Sayler in the middle of the field on first down, followed by a time-out. He then found Wagenaar with a 23-yard pass, to give them first and goal from the 8-yard line. Wagenaar struck again, catching the 8-yard touchdown pass from Marco on the right side of the end zone to give the Generals a 13-0 halftime lead.

“We needed a big momentum swing going into the second half to keep the pedal to the metal,” said Wagenaar, who caught four passes for 43 yards. “We weren’t happy with just a 7-point lead or even a 13-point lead.”

The drive was a form of redemption for Marco, who bounced back to have a nice game after throwing three interceptions. He completed 10-of-20 passes for 215 yards and three touchdowns.

“He’s a junior,” Sibley-Ocheyedan head coach Dan Spooner said. “We just gave him the reigns -- I think this was the second game he played fully. He saw some varsity action last season a little bit, but he’s still getting his feet wet. I talked to him on the sidelines and told him I’ve done this with other kids and it’s tough. You’re gonna make some mistakes.”

Marco hit on long passing plays for his other two scores.

He opened the scoring for S-O with 8:33 on the clock in the first quarter, finding Sayler with a 49-yarder. On Third and 7, the quarterback dropped the ball into Sayler’s hands on a go-route down the left sideline. Sayler outran the man coverage and gave the Generals a 7-0 lead.

And with 5:26 remaining in the third, Marco found Colvin Jenness with a dump off in the flat. The receiver caught the ball, turned upfield, got to the sideline and turned on the jets, going 76  yards untouched into the end zone to put the Generals up 20-0.

DeJong added the Generals final score on a 67-yard run on the second play of the fourth quarter to give them a 27-0 lead. He took a handoff to the right, made one cut to the backside and ran away from the Unity Christian defense, scoring untouched. DeJong carried the ball 13 times for 116 yards and the score.

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Sibley-Ocheyedan is now 3-2 on the season and 2-1 in District 1 play, while Unity falls to 0-5 on the season and 0-3 in district play.


Unity  0 0 0 6 -- 6

Sibley-Ocheyedan-O 7 6 7 7 -- 27


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Tim Middagh/Daily Globe Trent Kruger (6) of Sibley-Ocheyedan picks up good blocks against Unity Christian.

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