PARKERSBURG — After delivering a consistent barrage of hits that contained Aplington-Parkersburg’s ground game, Dike-New Hartford linebacker Kaleb Brouwer refused to go down on his first carry of Friday night’s rivalry contest.
Brouwer spun through a pair of tackles for a 10-yard touchdown run to open the fourth quarter of Dike-New Hartford’s 28-20 road victory at Ed Thomas Field.
“I was ready,” Brouwer smiled, when asked about his initial carry. “I told the coach before the play, ‘I’m putting this one in.’”
That type of drive within Dike-New Hartford’s team (2-2) ultimately was the difference as the Wolverines took advantage of miscues and came through with timely plays to defeat A-P for the ninth time in the last 10 years.
Aplington-Parkersburg (1-3) often held possession with 76 plays for 325 yards compared to Dike-New Hartford’s 37 plays for 219 yards. Falcons’ coach Alex Pollock, however, saw too many inconsistencies from his team to win this type of close contest.
“We do good things, but we have not had all 11 guys on the same page yet,” Pollock said. “That’s the most frustrating thing. Credit to them (DNH). They always seem ready in this game. For us it’s more of a confidence thing at this point. We’ll learn.
“Until we understand how to play with urgency every single play we’re going to go backwards and forwards.”
The two teams traded blows during a first half of play that finished tied at 14.
Aplington-Parksburg opened scoring on its second drive after Owen Thomas broke a 31-yard run on a fourth down quarterback draw. On third down from the Wolverines’ 7, Thomas then faked a draw and threw a jump pass to Josh Haan for the touchdown.
Dike-New Hartford took advantage a Falcons’ turnover and dodged a turnover of its own to pull in front in the second quarter.
Brouwer dropped back in coverage and tipped the ball to himself for a pivotal interception at the AP 24. On the next play, Wolverine quarterback Nathan Moore found Dane Fuller in the end zone during his 106-yard passing performance on seven completions.
Moore dodged a turnover on the Wolverines’ next series. An AP defender came down with a jumpball along the sideline that was ruled incomplete before Drew Larsen broke a 60-yard touchdown run on the next play to give D-NH a 14-7 lead.
Aplington-Parksersburg answered with 2:50 until halftime when Thomas found Kaden Huttinger deep over the middle for a 54-yard equalizer.
Dike-New Hartford’s offense put together a key third-quarter drive to take the lead for good.
Coach Don Betts elected to go for it on a fourth-and-12 play from the AP 37 and Moore connected with Reid Ehmen for a 27 yard gain. Larsen scored his second touchdown from 10 yards out one play later as part of his 114-yard game on 16 carries.
“At that point we needed a drive,” Betts said. “We had to get something going. We challenged our kids to go out there and make something happen and we were able to put that drive together. Those are the things we’ve been missing on just a little bit all year offensively.”
Dike-New Hartford then took advantage of Aplington-Parkesburg’s second turnover when Brewer Eiklenborg recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff. Brouwer ended that drive with his determined TD run to put the Wolverines up two scores early in the fourth quarter.
AP battled back with a 21-play drive capped by Thomas’ 2-yard touchdown run on the Falcons’ third fourth-down conversion of the march. Jake Wolff recovered the ensuing onside kick, but Brouwer hit Falcon running back Chase Verrett in the backfield to set the tone for a quick three-and-out.
Moore, who also serves at Dike-New Hartford’s punter, pinned Aplington-Parkesburg on its five for the second time with an impressive punt before the Falcons’ final drive in the last minute stalled at midfield.
Verrett took 33 carries to reach 114 yards against a D-NH defense that allowed just one of the Falcons’ 52 total carries to exceed eight yards.
“It’s almost bend but don’t break, but we’re bending an awful lot,” Betts said, assessing his defense. “We’ve got some things there we’ve got to get cleaned up, but the kids battled and fought and did enough to win. At the end of the day that’s what it’s all about.”
Brouwer sees his younger teammates learning and stepping up.
“We’ve definitely grown,” the Wolverines’ senior linebacker said. “We struggled a little bit, but we’ve stayed together and help each other. We’re always there for each other and have each other’s back. It’s a family so we always come together no matter what happens.”
The Wolverines are beginning to find progress with a large cast of varsity newcomers.
“The attention to detail, early in the year they didn’t quite understand that part of it, but I think as we’ve been working through these games they’re really starting to dial in on details,” Betts said.
Dike-N.H. 28, Aplington-Parkersburg 20
Dike-N.H. 0 14 7 7 — 28
Aplington-Park. 7 7 0 6 — 20
AP — Josh Haan 7 pass from Owen Thomas (Cameron Luhring kick)
DNH — Dane Fuller 24 pass from Nathan Moore (Nolan Dall kick)
DNH — Drew Larsen 60 run (Dall kick)
AP — Kaden Huttinger 54 pass from Thomas (Luhring kick)
DNH — Larsen 10 run (Dall kick)
DNH — Kaleb Brouwer 10 run (Luhring kick)
AP — Thomas 2 run (PAT blocked)
First downs 8 12
Rushes-yards 25-116 52-174
Comp-att-int 7-12-0 13-24-1
Passing yards 106 151
Punts-avg 6-38 3-35
Fumbles-lost 0-0 3-1
Penalties-yards 5-30 4-25
DIKE-NEW HARTFORD —Drew Larsen 16-114, Kaleb Brouwer 2-12, Dane Fuller 2-6, Nathan Moore 4-minus 14, Team 1-minus 2.
APLINGTON-PARKERSBURG — Chase Verrett 33-114, Owen Thomas 15-54, Jake Wolff 3-7, Aidan Junker 1-minus 1.
DIKE-NEW HARTFORD — Moore 7-12-0, 106 yards.
APLINGTON-PARKERSBURG — Thomas 13-24-1, 174 yards.
DIKE-NEW HARTFORD — Fuller 3-43, Devon Kollasch 3-36, Reid Ehmen 1-27.