ANAMOSA - For a young team learning as they went through the 2019 campaign, Anamosa football coach Lucas Stanton sorely wanted to head into the off-season with a win in the Raiders’ season-finale hosting Oelwein Friday, Oct. 25.
“We’ve come a long way this fall and really wanted to head into the off-season with another thing to build from,” said Stanton, as his team delivered a big 35-20 triumph over the Huskies, closing the 2019 season winning two of their final three games.
“Coming into the season we had a lot of goals, many of which didn’t happen for us. But we won the Cowbell and finished the season strong. On top of that, we sent our seniors out with one final win in the last game they’ll ever get to play on their home field. That feels really good too, and was something we really wanted to accomplish.”
And, the Raiders did it making clutch plays in the second half of the game, something they had struggled on occasion to do earlier this season.
“We were the team making the plays down the stretch, and looking like an experienced team used to playing under pressure,” Stanton said. “The balance we had on offense really helped us through that second half where we were able to pull away, and our defense was outstanding once again, too. The kids just kept making plays, big ones, that got the Oelwein offense off the field and allowed our offense to make plays and win this game.”
With the game tied at 14-14 early in the third quarter, Dominic Haas blocked a Huskie punt and set up the Anamosa offense deep in Oelwein territory, and it didn’t take the Raider offense long to get into the end zone either.
“That blocked punt was a huge play in the game,” Stanton said. “It swung all the momentum to our side, especially after we scored a touchdown to take the lead.”
A lead Anamosa would not lose the rest of the way.
Nolan McLean wrapped a quick three-play, 18-yard drive following the Alex Casey recovery of that blocked punt with a five-yard touchdown run and the hosts took a 21-14 lead after Jordan Brown converted on the extra point.
Oelwein answered the Raider score almost immediately when Gage Voshell raced into the end zone from 53 yards out, but after the Huskies failed on their two-point conversion try, Anamosa still had the lead at 21-20.
“Our game plan coming in was to stop Oelwein’s wing-T and slow down their fullback Voshell,” Stanton said. “For the most part, we did a pretty good job of that. Voshell was able to break a couple of runs against us, but we also did a good job of bottling him and the Oelwein running game up.
“We held them to about what we wanted to.”
And in the second half, after the long Voshell touchdown run, that pretty much amount to very little for the Huskies.
“After that third quarter score, we held them on downs once and forced them to punt twice,” Stanton said. “That’s how to finish out a game.”
That, and the Anamosa offense completely took over as quarterback Grahm Humpal ran wild.
“Grahm did a good job of making reads and doing the right thing with the football,” said Stanton, as Humpal not only ran for 169 yards, but also passed for 207 more completing 16-of-21 against the Oelwein defense.
“With the way our offensive line was playing and the scheme we were running, things were pretty much working out to perfection.”
Early in the fourth quarter Jake Jess closed an impressive 11-play, 76-yard drive with a two-yard touchdown run, putting the Raiders ahead 28-20 before Humpal sealed the triumph with an electrifying 38-yard scamper with a mere 22.9-seconds remaining on the fourth quarter clock.
“What a fitting finish,” Stanton said. “We came into the game wanting to establish the run, something we have struggled doing at times this season, but we closed this game out with a big running play in our last game of the season.”
Anamosa accounted for 436 yards of total offense against the Oelwein defense, with 229 of those coming on the ground as Andrew Morris, Logan Dales, Colin Heeren, Alex Shover and Connor Andresen dominated the line-of-scrimmage most of the game.
The vcitory allowed seniors Wyatt Bickford, Cody Edson, Joe Brown, Cameron Breashears, Christian Steffensmeier, Mitch Engelbart, Jacob Dimmer, Riley McDaniel, Adam Tuetken and Coleman Dimmer to walk off Downing Field as winners one last time.
“These seniors have led by example and bought into what we were coaching all season long,” Stanton said. “Some of them didn’t get a whole lot of playing time, but they stuck with the program and were a big part of our success this season and in the future. This senior class did things the right way and worked hard and they’re leaving behind a legacy that no one will soon forget.
“We’re hoping they’ve started something special here with Anamosa football.”
After Oelwein scored the first touchdown of the game marching down the field in 14 plays covering 65 yards, the Raiders answered when Humpal hooked up with Trae Klatt on a nine-yard scoring pass play.
After Casey added a nine-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, the hosts led 14-6, but the advantage didn’t last long as Oelwein scored a touchdown with just 52.8-seconds remaining on the second quarter clock, and after a successful two-point try, the two teams went into the halftime break tied 14-14.
Ehresman led the Raider defense coming through with 10 tackles while Andresen and McLean added nine more each for the hosts, who close the 2019 season with a 2-7 overall record and 2-3 mark in class 2A district 4 play.
Anamosa limited the Huskies to just 222 yards of total offense.
“I think things are headed in the right direction with this program,” Stanton said. “And we’re hoping to take another big step next season.”