ANAMOSA - When Anamosa athletic director Brett Jones was scrambling to find an extra home game for the Raider football team this season, the addition of class 3A West Delaware seemed like a perfect fit.
Both teams are young and talented and returning a ton of experience.
Both were also picked to be among the best in their respective districts, and both sorely wanted to open the 2020 campaign with a victory when the eighth-ranked Hawks and Anamosa met up at Downing Field Friday, Aug. 21, in one of just three week zero games played in the state, and one of the first actual contact football contests to take place in the entire country.
In the end however, the outcome didn’t quite play out like Jones had hoped as the visitors rolled to a huge 66-0 triumph in front of a big semi-socially distanced crowd in Anamosa.
“At the end of the day, we just need to learn from the mistakes that we made in this game and understand that one game does not define a team and come back with two great weeks of practice and preparation,” said Caleb Huss, guiding the Raider team from the sideline for the first time as Anamosa’s head coach.
“As the game went on, we just made too many mistakes. Turnovers, alignment errors and missed blocks and tackles are things that we can control and fix. A team like West Delaware that is talented and well-coached, will take advantage of those opportunities if we are not doing those little things correctly. The good news is that the mistakes we made are fixable.”
After the Hawks took the opening kick-off and marched 77 yards down the field on nine plays, ending with West Delaware’s Kyle Kelley finding the end zone after hauling in a six-yard scoring pass from quarterback Jared Voss, it seemed as though Anamosa (0-1) might very well answer right back.
The Raider offense managed nine plays of their own on their opening drive, but after gaining 34 yards in the series, was forced to punt.
As it turned out, it would be Anamosa’s best drive of the entire night.
“I thought our first offensive drive was decent,” Huss said. “And I thought our guys stepped up and made some key third down conversions. Our second drive we missed an opportunity to score down the sideline, which easily could have changed the way things went in the first quarter.
“On their first few drives we had them stopped on third down, and just made some coverage and containment errors. I really thought we did a nice job getting to their runners in the first half, but just did not finish plays.”
After the Raider defense forced West Delaware to punt on their second drive (it would be their lone punt of the game), the Hawk offense went back to work as Kyle Cole snared a perfectly thrown 59-yard touchdown pass from Voss and the visitors were up 13-0 at the end of the first quarter.
After three more second quarter scores for the Hawks, the rout was on as the visitors led 33-0 at the half.
“Offensively, we struggled putting ourselves in good positions on first and second down, which made us very predictable,” Huss said. “Defensively, we did not tackle well enough to get off the field.”
After putting up 33 points over the game’s first two quarters, the Hawks did it again in the final two to close out their week-zero victory.
West Delaware amassed 516 total yards of offense and registered 25 first downs while rushing for 373 yards.
The Hawk defense was just as impressive, holding the Raiders to five first downs and 66 yards of total offense, over half of which came on the opening drive.
Things were made even more difficult for the Raiders when star junior Sam Wilt went down with an ankle injury early in the game while junior Jake Jess was carted off the field after suffering an apparent concussion. The team is already playing without standout senior Nolan McLean, who will miss the entire season with a knee injury.
Anamosa quarterback Grahm Humpal led the offense throwing for 46 yards, completing 7-of-19 passes while he also rushed for a team-best 16 yards.
Trae Klatt and Levi Ehresman topped the Raider defense coming through with eight tackles each while Colton Borst added seven more.
The Raiders now have a week off before traveling to Dyersville to take on Beckman Friday, Sept. 4.
“We now have two weeks to correct some of the things we struggled with on Friday night,” Huss said. “Our kids work hard and I know they will use these next two weeks to prepare for a really good Beckman team.”