Mustangs to play host to top-ranked Treynor next
On it's home field here Wednesday night, Newell-Fonda couldn't be stopped in its bid to get to the Uni-Dome.
Dominating time of possession to the tune of 69 offensive plays to 26, the Mustangs trounced Manning 27-6 in an opening round state playoff game.
"It playoff games, kids have to step up and make plays," said Newell-Fonda coach Brian Wilken. "That's what our kids did tonight."
Not only did the Mustangs control time of possession with a punishing ground game and a penchant for converting on third down, they forced five Manning turnovers on three lost fumbles and two interceptions.
The Mustangs wasted little time in showing Manning it wouldn't be a repeat of a September meeting when N-F had to rally with a fourth-quarter touchdown to win.
N-F took the opening kickoff and marched 67 yards on 33 plays before senior quarterback Matt Stauter snuck in from the 1-yard line.
"It was key for us to get off to a good start," Wilken said. "I don't think there was a second this week where our kids doubted they could move the ball against Manning."
But Manning has an explosive offense itself, and it tied the game at six early in the second quarter on a 32-yard run by halfback Cole Pelican.
But the Mustangs struck right back, using another long drive that was capped by a 3-yard run by senior halfback Jared Neppl. The kick failed and Newell-Fonda still led just 12-6.
Late in the first half with Manning on the move and at the Mustang 30-yard line, Stauter picked off a pass to stop what could have been a halftime tie or lead for Manning.
"It was a huge play by Matt," added Wilken. "It was a tipped ball and Matt just made a heads-up play."
Manning had five first downs in the first half, but that all changed in the second half when the Mustang defense stiffened. Manning didn't get a first down in the second half.
Meanwhile, the Mustang offense and defense each created one touchdown in the second half.
In the third quarter, Stauter scored on another 1-yard sneak. With the two-point conversion, N-F had a comfortable lead of 20-8 going into the fourth quarter.
Late in the fourth quarter, Mustang defender Tyler Jarvis made another heads up play, recovering a backwards pass in the end zone for the game's final score.
Neppl led all rushers with 124 yards on 27 carries while Stauter rushed for 41 yards on 12 carries. All told, Newell-Fonda rushed 235 yards.
N-F, 10-0, meets top-ranked Treynor Monday night in Newell for the right to play in the Uni-Dome in Cedar Rapids in the Iowa State football semis.