Sometimes in the football, it’s the simple things that yield the biggest results.
Albia junior quarterback Brett Leshen can attest to that.
Midway through the second quarter against Davis County on Friday, Leshen took a snap from center and rolled out to his left. Simply executed, the junior quarterback was looking to simply move the ball a little further down the field.
Leshen did exactly that. Leshen went from the Albia 45-yard-line, moved to the sideline and didn’t stop until he hit the end zone. A seemingly harmless rollout turned into a sudden jolt of offense and became the biggest play of the night as the 55-yard scoring run put Albia ahead for good.
In a game where points were hard to come by, Leshen’s scoring run was the highlight a 17-point second quarter for Albia. The scoring outburst stood out and stood up as the Blue Demons battled their way to a 17-7 win over the Mustangs in the Class 2A, District 6 battle of unbeatens
Tough runs and tougher defense. It’s the simple game plan for Albia that has them hoping this will be simply sensational season.
“Our linemen played the best game they’ve played all season,” Leshen said. “They did their jobs and opened those holes all night. We just had to do ours and run through them.”
The holes made up front helped Albia dominate the game on the ground against Davis County, who were to their lowest point total of the season by 20 points. The Blue Demons’ rushing attack outgained the Mustangs, 261-72, in a contest that saw the two teams do all their scoring in the second 12 minutes.
“I can’t say enough about our defense. Our coaches did a great job getting the kids ready for this game,” Albia head coach Jerry Staton said. “Our goal each week is to try to get better from the previous week. We want to keep improving and our running game is certainly getting better.”
Davis County, who came into the contest averaging 39 points in their first three games, was hoping to keep the Blue Demon defense off balance with the duel threat of quarterback Calvin Utt. The senior signal caller finished the night going 16-31 passing with 197 yards, but was held to just 15 yards on 15 carries on the ground while also failing to connect with long downfield pass.
“(Albia) definitely took away some of the things we really like to do,” Davis County co-head coach Joe Rasmussen said. “They just executed on a few more things then we did, but our kids really battled.”
“Our defense gave us a shot in the second half, but we weren’t able to take advantage.”
While Leshen had the longest run of the night, the majority of Albia’s rushing attack came from junior running back Alex Schultz. Schultz carried the ball on the first five offensive plays for the Blue Demons and finished the night carrying the ball 29 times for 170 yards, including a three-yard touchdown run to open the scoring on the first play of the second quarter.
According to Schultz, the focus of the Albia attack shifted with the shift of Davis County’s initial defensive alignment.
“When we heard (Davis County) was going to be running a 6-2 defense, I figured we’d have to have a few more running plays,” Schultz said. “I just wanted to set the tone for the night right away and let them know we were here to play. They obviously came to play to. They hit us hard, but we hit them hard right back.”
The Mustangs countered the first scoring drive of the night with one of their own, using a shovel pass to Colton Roberts to set up their offense inside the Albia 10. Four plays later, Utt found Park Mikels on an amazing leaping fourth-down touchdown grab from five yards out to tie the score.
That even score lasted just 48 seconds. Two plays after receiving the Mustangs’ kickoff, Leshen rolled out and broke free down Davis County’s sideline to put Albia right back on top.
“Our tailback carried out his fake and (Davis County) bit on that,” Leshen said about the go-ahead touchdown play. “I had my fullback leading through the hole. He hit the guys he had to hit and I was gone.”
“It was a huge swing. We had a good drive to tie it back up and suddenly, two plays later, we’re back behind again,” Rasmussen said.
Albia put one more score on the board seven seconds before the half on a 38-yard field goal by Tanner Kellogg. Davis County made two drives into Albia territory in the second half, but an interception by Hugh Sinclair and a fourth-down stop stalled out both Mustang drives.
Albia (4-0, 2-0) is one more win away from becoming the lone team atop Class 2A, District 6. The Blue Demons head to Bondurant-Farrar next Friday looking to knock off the other squad that stood atop the district with Albia.
“This is a huge win for us. We feel like the best team in the district right now,” Leshen said.
Davis County (3-1, 1-1) hosts Clarke next Friday night.
Albia 17, Davis County 7
Davis Co. 0 7 0 0 — 7
Albia 0 17 0 0 — 17
Scoring By Quarters
A — Alex Schultz 3 yard run (Tanner Kellogg kick), 11:57
DC — Park Mikels 5 yard pass from Calvin Utt (Ryan Fullenkamp kick), 9:11
A — Brett Leshen 55 yard run (Kellogg kick), 8:27
A — Kellogg 38 yard field goal, :07
First downs 17 17
Rushes-yards 33-72 43-261
Passing yards 197 103
Total Yards 269 364
Comp-Att-Int 16-31-1 7-13-1
Return Yards 5-93 7-47
Fumbles-Lost 2-2 3-3
Penalties-Yds 6-32 15-111
RUSHING — Colton Roberts 16-55 yards, Calvin Utt 15-15 yards. Spencer Bassett 1-2 yards.
PASSING — C. Utt 16-31, 197 yards, td, int.
RECEIVING — Damen Dixon 7-62 yards, Roberts 2-56 yards, Park Mikels 4-53 yards, td, Dalton Anderson 2-16 yards.
INTERCEPTIONS — Dixon 1-15 yards.
TACKLES — C. Utt 16, fumble recovery, Justin Utt 8, fumble recovery, Logan Boas 7, Bassett 6, sack, fumble recovery, Zeb Black 6, Ben Kincart 6, Dixon 5, Roberts 5, Wayne Doerscher 4, Mac Chilton 3, Isacc Hougland 2, Sam McClure 2, Mikels 2, Doug Davis, Ryan Fullenkamp, Cory Howk, Tyler Knapp, Connor Young.
RUSHING — Alex Schultz 29-170 yards, td, Brett Leshen 6-58 yards, td, Shadow Leshen 5-29 yards, Austin Luse 2-3 yards.
PASSING — B. Leshen 6-11, 82 yards, int, Luke Sarver 1-1, 21 yards.
RECEIVING — Zach Hugen 2-45 yards, Ryan Sarver 3-33 yards, Griffin Osing 1-15 yards, Luse 1-10 yards.
INTERCEPTIONS — Hugh Sinclair 1-23 yards.
TACKLES — Tanner Kellogg 11, Schultz 11, B. Leshen 10, fumble recovery, Osing 9, Sinclair 9, sack, Hugen 5, S. Leshen 5, Luse 5, Ben Baker 4, fumble recovery, Dalton Folkerts 4, sack, L. Sarver 2, Zach Davis, Hunter Gerths, Kole Jones, Jordan Woodward.
Sometimes in the football, it’s the simple things that yield the biggest results.
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