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In the first week of high school football, Mount Ayr fell to Nodaway Valley making way for fans to question the program.
In week two, those questions were answered as the Raiders hosted the Central Decatur Cardinals in a hard-nosed battle that took every second of the 48-minute contest.
Mount Ayr won the coin toss and elected to defer to the second half, giving Central Decatur a chance to score early, which they did after a four-minute drive took them 76-yards down field for a touchdown on a carry up the middle.
The ensuing extra point field goal attempt was blocked.
Mount Ayr would begin their first offensive outing from its own 29. The drive ended in Cardinal territory after Central Decatur stripped the ball from Raider back Adler Shay, but a big defensive outing for the Raiders saw Jaydon Knight with a big sack to bring up a second down and 30 to go.
“Their blocking schemes, if we ran certain line stunts, it left me wide-open to get to the quarterback,” said Knight on his ability to get to Boothe. “That was key.”
Matthew Boothe was hit while he threw and Jaixen Frost picked-off the pass. The Raiders would now look at an 81-yard drive to score.
The Raiders were able to go the distance and on the two-yard line, Shay found redemption after the strip earlier as he powered his way into the endzone for six.
The two-point conversion was no good and the game was tied at six through the first 12 minutes of the contest.
Boothe was having trouble in the first-half, throwing a second interception, this time to Austin Cole who returned the pick to the Raider 41-yard line.
That pick ended in a 30-yard touchdown run by Cole, but not before Mount Ayr converted on a fourth and short situation, something they struggled to do against Nodaway Valley a week earlier.
The Raiders led 14-6 with 8:15 left in the half.
The Cardinals looked to even the score once more as they sat on the Mount Ayr 39. On fourth and 11, the Cardinal offense, who had recently had some success through the air, stayed on the field.
Boothe dropped back to pass but immediately found himself scrambling as the Raiders strip-sacked the Cardinal senior and Mount Ayr’s Cody Larson scooped up the ball for a long fumble recovery touchdown to put Mount Ayr on-top with a comfortable 20-6 lead.
Mount Ayr would receive the kick to start the second-half, a half that would belong to the Cardinals until the very end as the Cardinals made adjustments that seemed to throw the Raiders off balance.
“They wanted it until the last minute,” said Knight. “It showed. We wanted it too.”
The Raiders had a bit of penalty trouble early in the third and a Cardinal strip once more saw the Cardinals in control of the ball, however, the Raiders forced a punt and gave the offense another chance.
The Raiders could only go eight yards on the next drive and the punt got some hang-time but would be caught at the 32. A Raider in-coverage wrapped up the returner, prompting an illegal catch interference call that put Central Decatur on the Raider 14.
Boothe would call his own number and dive at the pylon for six more before the PAT was good and it was a seven point contest.
On the ensuing kick return, Jaixen Frost cramped up and was out of the game, putting Drew Ehlen in under center, where he would manage the team through a fourth down conversions before Frost came back.
With 1:09 left in the third, the Raiders faced a fourth and 12. Jaixen Frost was back to punt, but a fake punt pass saw Frost connect with Shay who took the ball to the Cardinal 16-yardline.
Just six seconds into the fourth quarter, Adler Shay punched another one in for his second score of the night.
Mount Ayr was leading by 13 and the Cardinals looked to change that in the fourth.
Boothe and Hullinger would connect multiple times throughout the fourth, including on a sideline pass at the goal line that would end in a Devin Adams carry for six.
The PAT split the uprights and it was a six point game.
The Raiders would punt on their next drive, and Boothe and company would march down the field to the Raider nine.
Boothe dropped back to pass and Raider defensive back, Hunter Case, showed his vertical skills with a leaping interception on the goal line.
Case looked to make a play, but was brought down on the three.
The Raiders had 4:11 to run off the clock, but Central Decatur was able to stuff the offense and force a punt.
Frost was set to boot the ball down the field, but it came off the side of his foot and gave the Cardinals a short, 14-yard, field.
“I was kind of punching myself for that one,” said Frost. “I thought I had blown the game for us, but everyone still believed in me and kept my confidence up.”
Boothe would find Hullinger with 1:55 remaining in the contest to lead 27-26, the first time the Cardinals would lead since the opening drive of the first quarter.
The Raiders would show the fans in the next minute, what this team was made of.
Case returned the ensuing kick to the Raider 42 as Mount Ayr entered a two-minute drill.
On a third and nine, Frost was sacked and Mount Ayr faced a 4th and 11.
It was now or never as Frost looked to redeem himself after a poor punt saw the go-ahead drive for the Cardinals.
Frost dropped back and launched the ball to receiver Riley Stark who caught the pass at the one with 13.7 seconds to go in the contest, however, a false start as they team rushed to the line pushed the Raiders back.
The penalty looked to work in favor of the Raiders, however, giving the receivers a little more room to run their routes inside the redzone.
Frost would drop back once more and found Stark again for the six points needed put Mount Ayr ahead in the ball-game with only five seconds left on the clock.
Mount Ayr went for two, looking to secure the win. Frost called his own number and found pay-dirt, putting the Raiders ahead by seven.
“He’s not only my cousin, but he might be my favorite, target, don’t tell Jaydon,” said Frost with a wink and smile as he expressed what his receiver, Riley Stark, meant to him tonight.
“It was pretty big,” said Stark on his two catches that won the game. “I believe in Jaixen and I really appreciate that he trusted me. It was a tough one, they wanted to fight, but I guess we just fought harder.”
The ensuing kick gave the Cardinals only one play left. In true, late-game fashion, the Cardinals pitched the ball around behind the line-of-scrimmage before finally being brought down, giving Mount Ayr its first win of the 2021 campaign and coach Ryan Victor his first of his Mount Ayr career.
“We played two teams that have some good players,” said coach Victor. “Last week just wasn’t our number and this time we were able to make plays. We could’ve folded after that punt and checked it in and said it is what is is. Guys came up on a two-minute drill and holy cow man.”
Coach Victor expressed excitement for his team after the win.
“It feels awesome, but I’m more excited for these guys,” said Victor. “They win those ball games. I feel good because they feel good. They did a great job, they deserved it and you win when you deserve to win.”
1 2 3 4 F
MA 6 14 0 14 34
CD 6 0 7 14 27
8:15 – CD – Matthew Boothe 4-yd run. PAT blocked.
0:08 – MA – Adler Shay 3-yd run. PAT no good.
8:15 – MA – Austin Cole 24-yd run. 2pt PAT good.
6:18 – MA – Cody Larson 45-yd fumble recovery. PAT no good.
6:08 – CD – Boothe 5-yd run. PAT good.
11:54 – MA – Shay 10-yd run. PAT no good.
10:26 – CD – Devin Adams 1-yd run. PAT good.
1:55 – CD – Boothe to Hullinger 22-yd pass. PAT good.
0:05 – MA – Frost to Stark 6-yd pass. 2pt PAT good.
1st Downs MA CD
Total 17 17
Rushing 11 6
Passing 5 11
Penalty 1 0
Attempts 45 31
Gained 213 118
Lost 13 85
Net 200 33
Completions 11 16
Attempts 18 27
Percentage 61 59
Intercepted 0 3
Net 143 246
Total Offense 343 279
Punts 4 1
Average 23.75 55
Punt Return 0 18
Kickoff 101 40
Int. Returns 27 0
Fumble Ret. 45 23
Fumbles 3 2
Fumbles lost 2 1
Penalties 6 8
Yards lost 61 70
Comp Att Yds
Frost 11 18 143
Att. Gain Avg
Frost 9 6 0.67
Shay 23 124 5.3
Knight 3 15 5
Cole 9 51 5.6
Swietlik 1 4 4
Rec Yds Avg
Ehlen 3 17 5.6
Stark 3 57 19
Knight 3 40 13.3
Frost 8 1
Ehlen 4 1
Case 3 0
Stark 4 1
Dugan 0 1
Shay 2 2
White 1 1
Murphy 0 1
Knight 3 3
Cole 1 0
Larson 1 0
Yoder 1 2
Larson 1 4
Knox 0 1
Cole 6 216
Stark 2 51
Frost 2 44
Frost 5 53
Case 1 17
Stark 1 12
Knight 1 19
Knight 1 0
Frost 1 0
Case 1 3
Cole 1 24
C.Larson 1 45