ANAMOSA - With the weather forecast for Friday, Sept. 27, looking ominous at best, Anamosa Athletic Director Bret Jones decided it was the best interest of everyone involved for the Raiders’ football contest against visiting North Fayette Valley to be moved to up a night, especially with Homecoming festivities looming Saturday, Sept. 28.
So, for the first time in more than a quarter of a century, Anamosa had a Thursday night regular season football contest as the Tiger Hawks made their way to town Thursday, Sept. 26, opening the class 2A district 4 slate for both teams.
For the Raiders however, it wasn’t the start they were hoping for in front of a big Homecoming crowd.
“Pretty disappointing loss considering how well we had played just a week earlier at Beckman,” said Anamosa football coach Lucas Stanton, as his team struggled most of the night in dropping a tough 28-6 decision.
“The difference really came down to intensity. North Fayette picked it up a lot more than we did and they also did a really good job of controlling the line of scrimmage on both sides of the football. That really surprised me. We’ve gone against bigger lines than what North Fayette had out there, but we just couldn’t match what they were able to bring intensity wise. Beckman and West Liberty had bigger kids and we were able to play with, and at times outplay them, but it was North Fayette who was able to dominate Thursday night, and it cost us the game.”
Early on it appeared Anamosa (0-5, 0-1) was going to control things as Trae Klatt picked off a pass from North Fayette Valley quarterback Kole Johnson on the Tiger Hawks’ first possession, and set the Raider offense up in solid field position.
“At the beginning of the game we had some defensive stops, but we have to do a better job on offense of doing something with those opportunities,” Stanton said. “If we could have done something after Trae got that interception, it sets a quick tone and we take away any momentum North Fayette thinks they might have.”
Instead, the Raiders were forced to punt.
The Anamosa defense forced the Tiger Hawks to punt on their ensuing possession, and after one quarter of play the two teams were knotted in a scoreless tie.
Things would change quickly in the second stanza.
“We knew coming into the game that #40 (Liam McIntyre) was going to get the ball a lot,” Stanton said. “Early on we did a good job of being able to limit some of his runs, but in the second quarter, and for the rest of the game really, he just took over, as did their offensive line.”
McIntyre scored three second quarter touchdowns, the first coming on a nine-yard scamper with 9:15 to play in the frame.
The second may have broken the backs of the Raider defense, as the Tiger Hawk junior raced 76 yards and into the end zone.
After another McIntyre score with just 55.5 seconds remaining in the first half, Anamosa trailed 20-0 at the break.
“We were right there in the game fighting the best we could, then all of a sudden it seemed, we were down 20-0,” Stanton said. “They scored on three straight possessions there in the second quarter and used #40 for a lot of those yards.”
North Fayette Valley took the opening drive of the third quarter and marched right down the fielding ending with a Lukas Lau three-yard touchdown run.
With 9:04 remaining in the third quarter, the Raiders were staring at a 28-0 deficit.
“To our kids’ credit, they never quit,” Stanton said. “They battled all the way to the end, but this was a tough one all the way around. No other way to spin it. We struggled on offense and when you dig a 28-0 hole, that’s going to be pretty tough to climb out of.
“Offensively, what we’re looking for is consistency. There have been too many times we’ll run a play and run it well, then we’ll run that same play again and act like we’ve never run it before. We have to get that consistency on offense and when we do, we’ll at least give ourselves a better chance at winning.”
It was Anamosa who finished the scoring when quarterback Grahm Humpal found Sam Wilt open on a seven-yard scoring pass play.
The Raiders were limited to 245 yards of total offense while North Fayette Valley accumulated 400, with 396 of them coming on the ground.
McIntyre finished with 258 yards on 34 carries while Humpal paced the Anamosa offense coming through with 111 passing yards while rushing for another 77.
“We’ll keep plugging away,” Stanton said. “We’ll keep trying to get better. It’s all we can do. I know we’re a young team and we’re learning, but this is week five and youth is no longer an excuse. We’ve just got to get better.”