Notre Dame Pios hammer Iowa
By Lance Reed
If there was ever a way for the Notre Dame Pioneers to come home and show appreciation to their fans for five straight weeks of road support, the total domination of the Iowa Yellow Jackets was hit. The Pioneers drilled the Yellow Jackets 47-6 in Friday’s contest. It was the first time the Pios played in front their home crowd since last yearís playoff loss to Patterson. In front of a packed house, Notre Dame was impressive on both sides of the ball.
The Pios got a chance to score rather quickly. Iowa fumbled the ball at mid-field, just moments after the opening kickoff. Senior Adam Meche jumped on the ball and that brought the NDHS offense on to the field. From the 50-yard line, the Pios began their first drive of the night. Hard runnin from Jordan Bertrand put the home team in great position to score. A connection between Ryan Leonards and senior wide receiver Robert Johnson put the Pios inside the red zone. Bertrand punched the ball in from two yards out. After Stephen Benoitís extra point, the Pios were up 7-0 with six minutes left in the period.
Seconds later, the ND boys found another way to score points. After the kickoff and a penalty, Iowaís offense was pinned deep in their own territory. A bad snap forced Iowa quarterback Logan Chapman to kick the ball out of the end zone rather than allow Notre Dameís John Graf to fall on the ball for a touchdown. It was the Piosí second safety in two weeks.
Another senior found a big way to score with less than two minutes left to go in the first period. Bryant Gilbert fielded a punt and was the beneficiary of some great blocking. Gilbert galloped for 70 yards and another six points. Benoitís kick was good, making it a 16-0 ball game after the first period.
The NDHS defense was pinned deep in their own territory during Iowaís next possession. The Jackets had the ball at the ND 11-yard line. It looked as though they would punch the ball into the end zone and jump back into the ballgame. Senior cornerback Nick Ware would have none of that idea. Ware made an amazing play on fourth and goal to keep the IHS boys off of the score board.
Ware’s good play kept all the momentum on the home team’s side. The offense followed with an amazing drive. They held on to the ball for nearly minutes and rattled off 11 plays. During the drive, the Pios got good runs from Jack Thomas Hundley and Marshal Watson. The drive was capped when Leonards hit Morgan Allen on a 33-yard fade route. Benoit booted the kick and Notre Dame was up 23-0 with a little over four minutes left on the clock.
Moments later, the Pios got the ball back and moved within junior place-kicker Hunter Stoverís striking distance. ND Head Coach Lewis Cook wasted no time in calling for the field goal team. Stover blasted a 37-yard field goal right through the uprights. His effort made it a 26-0 ball game at the intermission.
The Pios were not about to let up on the Yellow Jackets and when the second half began, it showed. The NDHS boys got the ball back to begin the half. In classic fashion, the Pios pieced together a 15 play drive that consumed over seven minutes off of the clock. Hard runs from Robert Sarver, Stu Cook and Watson helped the Pios down to the Iowa four-yard line. Bertrand cashed in the football for the second time in the game and Benoit added the extra point. Notre Dame took a 33-0 lead but they were not done yet.
It took only one play on their next possession to score a touchdown and once again, it as a senior who stepped up and made a play. Notre Dame had the ball at their own 45-yard line. Leonards handed the ball to Hundley and the senior did the rest. He galloped for 55 yards and crushed a few IHS football players in route. William Primeaux added the extra point.
The Pios scored midway through the fourth period. Sophomore Logan Venable scored on a four-yard run. The score capped a nice drive that was orchestrated by back-up quarterback Bo Pettijean and a host of youngsters. Primeaux hit the extra point making it a 47-6 ball game.
The Iowa boys had scored a touchdown in the third period on a fade route connection in the end zone. It was Iowaís only score after piling up 257 yards of total offense in the contest.
The NDHS running backs gobbled up 305 yards on the ground. Hundley led the way with 78 yards on four carries. Bertrand finished the night with 63 yards on 15 carries and two scores. The biggest reason for the backsí success was an amazing performance from the offensive line.
“We made some switches on the line during the week and that may have made a difference,” stated Cook. “As of now, it seems like we are headed in the right direction. It was nice to have a chance to spread the ball around tonight. Robert (Sarver) had a big game last week, and this week some others stepped up.”
The offense ended the nigh with 450 yards on offense. Leonards was 10 of 13 in the air for 145 yards. Another person having a big night for Notre Dame was Hunter Stover. Besides the 37-yard field goal, he kicked several touchbacks on kickoffs and has some tackles on defense.
The NDHS defense was tough as usual, giving up just 257 of total offense to a team that was averaging nearly double that per game.
“The defense made some big plays tonight,” Cook remarked. “That play in the end zone was huge for us. They (Iowa) are very good on offense and have a good quarterback and a receiver from last yearís squad. They are good at what they do.”
The Pios will host the Alexandria Senior High Trojans tomorrow (Friday) as the Trojans are the Homecoming guests for 2008. The Trojans are undefeated after beating up on Marksville Friday night 49-8. ASH is 4-0 this year with an impressive win over Pineville 31-0 in week three.