CEDAR FALLS — Dike-New Hartford’s football leaders have never allowed the Wolverines to settle for the status quo.
Constantly striving for more, Dike-New Hartford has earned an opportunity to play on the final Friday of the season. The Wolverines used a barrage of big plays to open a 27-point lead in the third quarter and held on for a 34-21 state semifinal win over Pella Christian Saturday inside the UNI-Dome.
D-NH (12-0) will play West Sioux at 11 a.m. Friday in the program’s fifth attempt to secure its first state title since consolidation.
“Our motto is unfinished business,” Dike-New Hartford junior quarterback Drew Sonnenberg said. “We don’t want to ever settle. We want to always try to continue to get better every week.”
With Pella Christian devoting most of its resources toward trying to stop 1,848-yard rusher Cade Bennett, Sonnenberg found multiple receivers for big plays that allowed D-NH to separate itself by halftime. Sonnenberg needed just 11 completions to accumulate 289 passing yards and two second-half touchdowns. Cade Fuller was his top target with six catches for 155 yards.
“Their quarterback is sharp and it all starts up front,” Pella Christian coach Rich Kacmarynski said. “We were bringing our safeties down and that’s tough sledding as a defensive back to have to worry about their big run game and then still defend the pass. “
Running behind a dominant starting offensive line of Owen Goos, Matt Reinicke, Clayton Wright, Daniel Graves and Colton Harberts, Bennett rushed for 150 yards on 33 carries.
The D-NH back covered 38 yards on seven carries and scored from six yards out on his team’s opening drive. A 43-yard pass reception by Ryan Moore set up Bennett’s second touchdown run of 14 yards, and the Wolverines’ running back added a third score with under a minute until halftime after a 27-yard reception by Fuller.
Dike-New Hartford’s Parker Kieweit recorded his second interception and a 70-yard touchdown reception on back-to-back plays in the third quarter, and Sonnenberg also rolled out and hit an open Jake Landphair for a 17-yard strike in the second half.
“They really loaded the box up on us and we had to be able to take advantage of some of the passes to get the offense rolling,” D-NH coach Don Betts said. “They’ve got a good football team and I was really proud of our kids and how hard they played.”
Pella Christian’s Daniel Jungling amassed 239 passing yards and a touchdown on 36 attempts, and running back Noah Treimer rallied his team late with touchdown runs of 66 and 13 yards in the second half of his 171-yard game.
The key turning point of this contest came early in the second quarter. D-NH’s Moore was beat deep, but recovered in time to tackle receiver Nathan De Bruin on the 7-yard line after a 74-yard gain. Pella Christian was then backed up by a block in the back call and settled for its second missed field goal of the first half.
An Eagles team that has now lost in back-to-back state semifinals became just the third opponent to score more than one touchdown against the Wolverines this season.
“We can always get better,” Dike-New Hartford middle linebacker Nathan Graves said. “Eyes in the right spots. We need to get better on the fundamentals if we want to bring home a championship.”
Dike-N.H. 34, Pella Christian 21
Dike-N. Hart. 6 14 14 0 — 34
Pella Christian 7 0 7 7 — 21
DNH — Cade Bennett 6 run (kick failed)
PC — Nathan De Bruin 50 pass from Daniel Jungling (De Bruin kick)
DNH — Bennett 14 run (Isaac Jorgensen kick)
DNH — Bennett 2 run (Jorgensen kick)
DNH — Jake Landphair 17 pass from Drew Sonnenberg (Jorgensen kick)
DNH — Parker Kiewiet 70 pass from Sonnenberg (Jorgensen kick)
PC — Noah Treimer 66 run (De Bruin kick)
PC — Treimer 13 run (De Bruin kick)
First downs 15 17
Rushes-yards 41-169 35-201
Comp-att-int 11-21-0 18-36-2
Passing yards 289 239
Punts-avg 6-36 3-36.3
Fumbles-lost 2-1 0-0
Penalties-yards 3-25 7-54
DIKE-NEW HARTFORD — Cade Bennett 33-150, Cade Fuller 3-14, Tristan Cleveland 3-4, Drew Sonnenberg 2-1.
PELLA CHRISTIAN — Noah Treimer 16-171, Jase Maelse 9-25, Daniel Jungling 9-1, Kyle Fynaardt 1-4.
DIKE-NEW HARTFORD — Sonnenberg 11-21-0, 289 yards.
PELLA CHRISTIAN — Jungling 18-36-2, 239 yards.
DIKE-NEW HARTFORD — Fuller 6-155, Parker Kiewiet 1-70, Ryan Moore 1-43, Jake Landphair 1-17, Tim Koop 1-4.
PELLA CHRISTIAN — Nathan De Bruin 10-200, Treimer 3-56, Amelse 3-44, Fynaardt 2-39.