COLUMBUS JUNCTION, Iowa − The Louisa-Muscatine football team’s focus all week was stopping No. 5.
On Friday night, when the Falcons defense finally went head to head with Columbus Community quarterback Abel Mena, who had shredded defenses for 406 rushing yards through the first three games, Louisa-Muscatine executed its game plan to a T and defeated the Wildcats 30-8.
“We just knew we had to key on No. 5, he’s a great athlete, and we felt like we couldn’t give him the edge,” Louisa-Muscatine coach Matt Shoultz said. “Once he gets outside of the pocket, he makes things happen, so that was our focus all week – keep him in the pocket and keep him bottled up.”
Louisa-Muscatine took advantage of a three-yard net punt from Columbus from its own 19 late in the first quarter, completing a 22-yard drive with a touchdown on a Chase Kruse one-yard quarterback sneak. A successful two-point conversion attempt gave the Falcons an 8-0 lead they wouldn’t give up.
After going up 16-0 on another Chase Kruse rushing touchdown, this time from six yards out with just under two minutes left in the half, it appeared that the Falcons were on their way to routing the Wildcats.
Columbus had an answer, though, as Mena led the Wildcats on a 62-yard touchdown drive, capping it off with a five-yard pass to Thomas Pretz in the end zone, and cutting Louisa-Muscatine’s lead to 16-8 with just under 10 seconds left in the second quarter.
Louisa-Muscatine struggled to start the third quarter, throwing an interception on its first drive and going three-and-out on the next before Kruse connected with Brock Jeambey for an 11-yard touchdown pass midway through the quarter to go ahead 24-8.
Kruse hit Jeambey for another score in the fourth quarter, this time from 74 yards out, to give their team a 30-8 lead and seal the game.
Both teams struggled, though, to hold onto the ball in the second half, with each committing four turnovers.
“Our quarterback had no time to throw,” Columbus coach Scott Symmonds said. “(Louisa-Muscatine) did a nice job, they brought a lot of pressure. They prepared for us well.”
Shoultz knows, however, that his team will need to clean up the mistakes it made before it plays Wilton next Friday.
“Turnovers, mistakes are killing us,” Shoultz said. “I felt like we left a lot of points on the board. Because we’re making mistakes on offense and not capitalizing on things – giving them the ball, dropping passes – we got a lot of things to clean up before we go play Wilton next week, who is a very good football team.”
Columbus, which has now lost three straight since its season-opening win, will play Wapello.
“I’d like to see my coaching staff, especially myself, prepare better than I did this week,” Symmonds said. “I’d like to see massive improvement in the offensive line. I’d like to see Abel have some time to throw the ball.”