‘Mud’ Dawgs end Mustangs’ season

Register Sports Editor

Register/Jocelyn Sheets
Iola High’s Seth Snavely falls in the mud while tripping up Anderson County High’s Alen Troyer for a three-yard loss late in Thursday’s game here. The ACHS Bulldgos ran well on Iola’s muddy field on their way to a 38-0 win and a 4A playoff berth. The Mustang season came to an end.
Register/Jocelyn Sheets
The lone takeaway by Iola High’s Mustangs Thursday night came on this forced fumble by linebacker Chris Heffern (10) as he tackles Anderson County High’s Eric Pretzer. It was with 4:42 left in the game with Iola trailing 32-0. Iola lost its season finale 38-0.

One play was all it took to establish Anderson County High’s Bulldogs as Mud Dawgs here Thursday night.
Anderson County stopped Iola High’s Mustangs on the opening possession and forced a punt. On the first play from scrimmage, senior fullback Joseph Wittman went untouched 85 yards for a touchdown.
Day-long rain had turned Iola’s football field at Riverside Park into a sloppy, muddy, water-logged mess but the Bulldogs had little problems on the field. On their way to 38-0 win over the Mustangs, the Bulldogs rushed for 353 yards.
Wittman scored four touchdowns to lead the Bulldogs to a 7-2 regular season mark. The win handed the Bulldogs the runner-up spot in Class 4A, District 6 play and a berth in next week’s state playoffs.
In the other district game Thursday, Chanute beat Fort Scott 42-20.
Iola finished at 3-6. The Mustangs ended up 2-4 in the Southeast Kansas League.
“Nothing went right for us tonight,” said Rick Horton, Mustang head coach. “Their first play from scrimmage goes for a long touchdown run and we didn’t respond.”
Aaron Fulton, Iola senior defensive end, blocked the extra point kick, leaving it 6-0. The ensuing kickoff by Anderson County went out of bounds so Iola elected to have the Bulldogs kick again.
Five yards back and the Bulldogs re-kick but it goes out of bounds. Instead of taking the football at the 45-yard line, the Mustangs decided to make ACHS kick it one more time.
Iola’s second series of the game started at its own 35-yard line. The Mustangs picked up two first downs and appeared to be getting their footing in the mud.
Junior quarterback Charles Apt threw the first of four interceptions with 7:09 left in the first quarter. Anderson County’s Taylor Stapp made the interception at the Bulldog 35-yard line.
Five plays later senior Cody Chambers, who had 171 yards on 17 carries, scored from one-yard out. Again, Iola turned away a two-point conversion run.
The game was still within reach. Iola trailed 12-0 at the 5:40 mark of the first quarter.
Another interception was made by the Bulldogs on the third play of Iola’s possession. The Mustang defense stiffened but a punt by Galen Ryman pinned Iola at its one-yard line.
Apt found senior wide receiver Seth Browning for a 21-yard pass play to get Iola out from under its own goal post. But execution of a reverse resulted in a fumble and loss of 14 yards.
“It just was a bad game all the way around. We never clicked,” Horton said. “That reverse looked like it was open for good yardage but we fumbled the exchange. We threw interceptions, we dropped passes, we fumbled the ball and we missed tackles.
“Part of it comes back on the coaches, I guess we didn’t do a good job of having the kids prepared tonight. I thought we were but Anderson County had a game plan and executed better than we did.”
Anderson County just ran the ball right at Iola. Ryman, the Bulldog’s senior quarterback, only threw four passes, completed two and that was in the first half.
With a 26-0 halftime score, the Bulldogs were content to keep the football on the ground in the second half. They played field position football and won the battle.
There was no scoring in the third quarter. The Mustang defense put up a goal line stand with 1:55 left in the period.
Anderson County recovered an Iola fumble at the Iola 13-yard line. Four plays from the two-yard line, the Mustangs held the Bulldogs out of the end zone.
The Mustangs took over on downs at the four. Iola’s offense, which generated just 45 yards rushing, had to punt out of its own end zone.
Anderson County went 48 yards on five plays. Wittman powered over from two-yards out making it 32-0 at the 10:48 mark of the fourth quarter.
Three times in the second half, Iola fumbled snaps on fourth-down plays, recovered but had to give the ball up on downs.
The last time was with 8:57 left in the game. Chambers got loose for a 27-yard gain to help set the Bulldogs up on another scoring drive.
Eric Pretzer had a good gain but Iola senior linebacker Chris Heffern forced a fumble. Browning recovered it for Iola at the Iola 10-yard line.
But Apt’s pass on the first play for Iola’s offense was intercepted by Chase Whitcomb. Two plays later, Pretzer scored on a 13-yard run,
The Mustangs spent most of the game on defense. Senior linebacker Kyler Thompson racked up 11 solo tackles and seven assisted tackles. Chris Heffern, another senior linebacker, had eight unassisted tackles, five assists, a quarterback sack and a forced fumble.
Senior linebacker Shane Snavely had six solo stops, two for losses, and four assisted tackles. Kyle Heffern, a junior linebacker, had six solo stops and two assisted tackles.
Aaron Snavely had five unassisted tackles and four went for losses. He partially blocked a punt and blocked a extra-point kick. Apt had four solos stops and two assisted tackles.
Offensively, Iola’s junior tailback finished with 33 yards on 13 carries. Chris Heffern, senior fullback, gained 27 yards on 10 carries.
Apt was 7 of 22 for 100 yards. Senior tight end Seth Walden made three catches for 69 yards.

Iola 0-0-0-0—0
ACHS 12-14-0-12—38
ACHS — Wittman 85 yd run (kick blocked)
ACHS — Chambers 1 yd run (run failed)
ACHS — Wittman 1 yd run (Chambers run)
ACHS — Wittman 25 yd run (run failed)
ACHS — Wittman 2 yd run (pass failed)
ACHS — Pretzer 13 yd run (pass failed)

Individual Statistics
Rushing: Iola-Sullivan 13-33, Ch. Heffern 10-27, E. Fulton 2-(-9), Apt 6-(-6). ACHS-Wittman 14-123, Chambers 17-171, Troyer 11-43, Ryman 10-3, Pretzer 3-13.
Passing: Iola 7-22-100-4. ACHS-Ryman 2-4-33-0.
Receiving: Iola-S. Walden 3-69, E. Fulton 1-4, Sullivan 2-6, Browning 1-21. ACHS-Whitcomb 1-28, Walters 1-5.
Punting: Iola-Frazell 4-140 (35 yd avg.). ACHS-Ryman 4-127 (32 yd avg.)