ANKENY — A halftime deficit rattled the cage of fourth-ranked Cedar Falls Friday.
Apparently, Tigers don’t like having their cages rattled.
Trailing 7-0 at halftime, Cedar Falls dominated Ankeny in the second half and ran away with a 28-7 Class 4A non-district win at Ankeny’s Northview Middle School.
Bo Grosse ran for a pair of touchdowns, Cael Loecher threw two touchdown passes, and the Tiger defense put the clamps on the Hawks.
“We beat a very good team, a team that is really underrated,” Cedar Falls linebacker Jack Campbell said. “A lot of senior leadership tonight, and we came out with a huge win.”
Ankeny had 117 yards at halftime, but was held to negative-9 in the third quarter and just 50 total in the second half. Of those yards, 39 came in the closing seconds after the Tigers put in their second team.
The Hawks, who had already lost to No. 3 Johnston and No. 7 Ankeny Centennial, were forced to punt on their opening possession of the third quarter, and Campbell made the play that started the turnaround by blocking the punt. The ball rolled out of bounds at the Ankeny 9-yard line and it took two plays for Grosse to tie the game on a three-yard run.
“I got a little push out, but it was a pretty clear run from there,” Campbell said of the block. “God gave me that opportunity to make the play, and it is something I will always remember.”
Cedar Falls went ahead for good after Logan Wolf took a reverse 44 yards to set up Grosse’s five-yard touchdown run that put the Tigers up 14-7 with 10:57 left in the fourth quarter.
Grosse rushed for 113 yards on 31 carries, filling in for 1,000-yard rusher Sam Gary, whom Tiger head coach Brad Remmert said is out indefinitely with an injury.
Grosse rushed for 78 of his yards in the second half as Cedar Falls finished with 203 rushing yards on 45 carries.
After Grosse made it 14-7, Loecher hit Jackson Gilbert with a 22-yard touchdown pass to make it 21-7, and Wolf hauled in a 15-yard TD toss with 4:43 left.
“In the second half, we did well,” Remmert said. “Give our coaches credit and our kids credit. We made some adjustments and needed a big play to jump-start us in the second half, and we got that from the blocked punt from Campbell and things started going our way.”
Cedar Falls had just five first downs in the first half and trailed for the first time all season at halftime, 7-0.
After the Tigers turned the ball over on downs at the Hawk 28 early in the second quarter, Ankeny drove 72 yards in 14 plays to take the lead on a Cael Boyd two-yard touchdown run with 7:11 left to halftime.
That touchdown was the first points scored against the Tigers this season.
“Give them all the credit in the world. They played with more energy than us, played harder than us,” Remmert said. “All the problems we had were created by their effort in the first half.
“It was one of those deals where we practiced a couple of times in the gym this week and it kind of looked like that in the first half.”
For Ankeny, coached by former University of Northern Iowa assistant Rick Nelson, there was little to feel good about.
“We are just not a very good team right now,” Nelson said. “We have had flashes of being a decent team, but we are 0-3 and that is reality. I like our kids. I like our coaches. We just need a win to get some confidence.”
Cedar Falls 28, Ankeny 7
Cedar Falls 0 0 7 21 — 28
Ankeny 0 7 0 0 — 7
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Ank — Cael Boyd 2 run (Jake McCann kick)
CF — Bo Grosse 3 run (Matthew Cook kick)
CF — Grosse 5 run (Cook kick)
CF — Jackson Gilbert 23 pass from Cael Loecher (Cook kick)
CF — Logan Wolf 15 pass from Loecher (Cook kick)
First downs 14 13
Rushes-yards 45-203 33-114
Passing yards 77 53
Comp-att-int 9-15-0 13-23-0
Return yards 53 38
Punts-avg. 6-39.8 8-30.4
Fumbles-lost 1-0 2-2
Penalties-yards 8-128 2-20
CEDAR FALLS — Grosse 31-113, Wolf 1-44, Loecher 8-38, Chip Custer 2-6.
ANKENY — Boyd 17-71, Jase Bauer 14-44, Ray Crawford 2-minus 1.
CEDAR FALLS — Loecher 9-15-0, 77 yards.
ANKENY — Bauer 13-22-0, 53 yards, Reece Pitz 0-1-0.
CEDAR FALLS — Wolf 4-20, Luke Anhalt 2-20, Jackson Frericks 2-15, Jackson Gilbert 1-22.
ANKENY — Boyd 7-26, Brody Brecht 3-13, Max Griffin 2-4, Grant Moeller 1-10.