GRIMES Turnovers and a lack of offense, combined with losing the war in the trenches is never a recipe for success in football.
It's the recipe for a disaster.
That's exactly what happened Friday night. South Tama County turned the ball over seven times, accumulated less than 150 yards offensively and couldn't control the offensive or defensive line of scrimmage.
All of that combined for one of South Tama's worst loss in Jay Hoskey's tenure as head coach of the Trojans. STC (1-2) was beaten 34-0 by Dallas Center-Grimes (2-1) in its first Class 3A District game of the season. It was STC's second road loss of the fall.
"Didn't see that coming," Hoskey said. "I know we're young and trying to rebuild on what we had last year. We expect a lot out of kids, but I was really disappointed in our execution and kids making the same mistakes over and over. We have to be quick learners. We can't be slow learners, because our kids are playing both ways.
"I know Dallas Center had 80 kids and they had them playing one way," he said. "I don't care because that's the way it is. I say too many kids taking plays off here and there or not using the right technique or the things that we teach them. We expect a supreme effort, not just an OK effort."
Despite the lack of offensive yards and the struggles in the trenches, South Tama had chances to stay close in this game. Dallas Center-Grimes took the opening possession of the game and marched 75 yards in 14 plays. The drive was capped off by a four-yard run by senior Andrew Kramer.
South Tama punted on its first three possessions after combining for six yards on all three possessions. However, the STC defense tightened up and forced the Mustangs to punt on its two possessions following the touchdown.
The second punt was fielded by STC sophomore Raymone Walker. He squeaked out two yards before a hard hit caused him to fumble the ball. Dallas Center-Grimes recovered the ball on the Trojans' 22 yard line.
"There we have a guy returning a punt that hasn't done it much," Hoskey said. "He's a good athlete and he's trying to make a play. He catches the ball in practice, but doesn't catch them in the game. That was a big play."
The Mustangs took advantage of the field possession. They threw a four-yard touchdown pass just six plays later, taking a 14-0 lead in the middle of the second quarter.
South Tama tried to respond with its longest drive of the half. STC threw two passes that totaled 28 yards as it moved down to the Mustangs' 46 yard line. However, the drive ended on third-down-and-long. STC junior Dalton Doyle threw an interception at the Mustangs' 37 yard line. Seven plays later, the Mustangs' senior Michael Lortz booted a 41-yard field goal to give them a 17-0 lead.
Two plays later, Doyle was intercepted again. This one gave the Mustangs possession on the South Tama 41 yard line. The Mustangs scored a touchdown on a 20-yard pass right before halftime. They led 24-0 at halftime.
"The turnovers were a big story," Hoskey said. "We gave them the ball and great field position. We never had good field position. (Dallas Center-Grimes) had it all night long."
South Tama marched down the field on the first possession of the second half. Sophomore Jerry Lowe helped the Trojans convert a fourth-down fake punt attempt. Lowe ran six yards to keep the drive alive at midfield. However, STC's next fourth-down attempt wasn't successful. Junior Bo Blocker ran the ball, but the Mustangs blew up the play for a four-yard loss and the Trojans turned it over on downs.
STC sophomore Justice Dunning gave the Trojans another shot at making a comeback. Dunning intercepted the Mustangs on their next drive. The Trojans punted four plays later. The Mustangs followed that with a 58-yard, nine-play scoring drive. A five-yard touchdown ran gave the Mustangs a 31-0 lead.
The Trojans started their next drive with their third interception of the game. Dallas Center-Grimes kicked a 30-yard field goal four plays later, taking a 34-0 lead over the Trojans.
"He was pressing and trying to make a play," Hoskey said of Doyle. "He was also trying to fit the ball into a narrow window that just won't fit."
Friday's loss was also the first time one of Hoskey's teams has been shut out. South Tama finally scored a touchdown late in the game, but it was called back on a block in the back penalty on the Trojans. It was a 56-yard pass from sophomore Cody Kellogg to Blocker. Senior Tyler Martens committed the penalty behind the play that kept STC scoreless.
"We just couldn't sustain anything offensively all night long," Hoskey said. "We thought we could move them up front and I thought that's where we had our biggest advantage. We didn't get the job done. We were probably good at two of the five positions up front, but the other three stunk it up.
"We have to learn from this," Hoskey said. "If you get beat this badly, you have to learn what you can do to avoid this situation again. That's life. If something looked terrible, you have to figure out how to get better at it."
South Tama will be back at home Friday. STC will host Newton (1-2), who ruined the Trojans' perfect start a year ago.
"We pretty much have to win that one to have a shot at the playoffs," Hoskey said. "Hopefully we'll get guys healed up and ready to go for Newton. They will be physical and they have a good quarterback. They beat us last year and we were a lot better last year than we are now."