DURANT, Iowa — The Durant High School football team has a winning record for the second time this season.
The Wildcats opened Class 1A District 5 play with a 34-14 victory on their home field over Wapello on Friday.
Durant coach Greg White said his team came into the Week 3 matchup prepared to play in the rain again. And it paid off as two Wildcat running backs eclipsing 100 yards rushing.
“We kind of came in with a power game plan, instead of throwing, and then the weather cleared and it was actually not too bad out here as far as rain goes,” White said.
After a scoreless first quarter, the Wildcats (2-1, 1-0 1A District 5) scored first on a fourth-and-4 play where junior quarterback Will Bentley scrambled and found senior Alik Lorenz in the end zone.
About seven minutes later, Bentley took an 8-yard keeper in to make it 13-0 after a missed extra point. Wapello quarterback Corben Mears, a senior, ran in an 8-yarder of his own with 1:42 left in the half to pull the score to 13-8.
“They did a great job of coming back and they drove it right down our throats twice,” White said about the Indians.
On the ensuing kickoff, the Wildcats fumbled the ball, which gave the Indians (1-2, 0-1) a chance to even the game with a little time left in the half but Wapello couldn’t convert and had its touchdown pass attempt to end the half knocked down.
“I thought after we got that turnover, we’ve got to score there. That gave us a little life to get some things going in a positive direction,” Wapello coach Todd Parsons said. “Even in the third quarter I thought we were still competing pretty hard.”
In the third quarter, teams exchanged punts and penalties, keeping the score at 13-8 until Durant junior Gavin Blake’s 4-yard run with 8:07 left gave his team a 21-8 cushion.
“I thought they ran the ball well,” Parsons said of Durant. “We knew they were big, physical coming in.”
But Wapello responded with a Jacob Hunt touchdown run of 5 yards with 4:53 remaining to make the score 21-14.
Durant junior Brandon Dykes sealed the game with 2:30 left with a 30-yard run that he followed with an interception on defense.
Dykes and Blake both rushed for more than 100 yards and the Wildcats were able to win the turnover battle with three total interceptions and two lost fumbles.
“I’m glad for the win, I’m happy for the kids, they played hard and they finished their drives tonight,” White said.
The Wildcats will go for consecutive wins when they travel to play at rival Wilton next week while Wapello will look to bounce back at home against its own rival, Columbus Community.
“No reason to hang our heads. We’re going to come back Monday and go to work,” Parsons said. “We’re a young, a young football team. We’re just going to work everyday to get better and stick together.”