Cael Luzum’s 12-yard touchdown reception from Briggs Duwe with 1:19 remaining in the contest was the difference, as Decorah erased a nine-point fourth-quarter deficit to stun West Delaware, 31-27, in a battle of Class 3A District 3 unbeatens, Sept. 11, in soggy conditions at Decorah.
The Vikings, with two one-point wins and this four-point win over West Delaware, improved to 3-0 on the season, while the Hawks, who had outscored their first three opponents, 156-6, fell to 3-1.
Decorah took a 3-0 lead late in the first quarter on Brody Young’s 35-yard field goal, and the Vikings extended the lead to 10-0 with 8:15 remaining in the second period when Duwe connected with Joseph Bockman for a 9-yard touchdown reception.
“It was a tough night,” said West Delaware coach Doug Winkowitsch. “We had a slow start.”
But it was all West Delaware the rest of the half, as the Hawks scored twice in the final 2:39 to take a 14-10 lead.
Jared Voss — who had another outstanding night running the football with 246 yards on 26 carries — got the Hawks on the board with a 35-yard touchdown run to make it 10-6. The extra-point kick failed.
West Delaware forced a punt on Decorah’s next possession, and took over on its own 22 with 1:16 remaining in the half. A 22-yard Voss scamper on first down moved the ball to the 44, and a 14-yarder by Voss two plays later had the Hawks on the Decorah 42.
A pair of inside runs by Wyatt Voelker moved the ball to the Viking 25. Voss found Kyle Kelley for five yards on first down, and another big gain for Voss — this time 15 yards — moved the ball to the five. Voelker smashed inside for two on first down before Voss followed a great surge by the West Delaware offensive line to score from three yards with 12 seconds remaining in the half. The Hawks ran the same play for a two-point conversion to take a 14-10 lead to the locker room.
West Delaware made it 21 points-in-a-row early in the third period, when, after forcing a Decorah punt, Voss broke loose and beat the Viking defense up the sideline for a 67-yard touchdown run. Connor Funk’s PAT kick was good.
Decorah narrowed the gap when Duwe hit Kody Bodensteiner for a 42-yard TD strike at the 4:30 mark of the third. Duwe’s pass to Young was good for the two-point conversion and it was 21-18.
Connor Funk’s 29-yard return of the ensuing Decorah kickoff gave the Hawks great field position at their own 44. The Hawks went 56 yards in just over three minutes, with all nine plays on the ground. A 15-yard run by Voss put the ball inside the Decorah 10, and Voelker scored from nine yards on the next play to give West Delaware a 27-18 lead with 1:16 remaining in the third period.
The Vikings drove for a score on the next possession to narrow the gap to 27-24 with 8:49 remaining. A 25-yard pass from Duwe to Bockman advanced the ball to the five, and on third down, Luzom scored from two yards. Young’s extra point kick was blocked by Voelker.
Nursing a three-point lead, the Hawks took over deep in their own territory at the 19-yard line, but two plays later a missed communication on the snap resulted in a turnover. Decorah took over deep in West Delaware territory, but the Hawk defense stiffened and Young’s 41-yard field goal attempt was no good wide right.
The Hawks took over at their own 20 with 6:45 remaining. Voss ran for 14 yards on third down to advance to the 38, and ran to the 45 to make it a fourth down and three on the next series of downs.
The Hawks chose to punt after attempting to draw Decorah offside. The Vikings took possession at their own 26 with 4:18 remaining and went 74 yards in nine plays. Luzum ran to the 44 for a first down, and Duwe ran for nine yards into West Delaware territory at the 45. A pass interference call two plays later moved the Vikings to the Hawk 30.
Another pass interference penalty moved the ball to the West Delaware 12, and two plays later, Duwe found Luzum for the deciding score. Young’s kick made the final 31-27.
“Everything that could have gone wrong late in the game did,” Winkowitsch said. “We will reset and have a great week of practice.”
The Hawks return to Brown Field, Sept. 18, for a homecoming matchup with a Charles City squad coming off a COVID quarantine.
“Charles City is a good option team,” Winkowitsch said. “We will need to play our best football.”
West Delaware statistics against Decorah: total offense — 402 yards; team rushing — 47-for-369; passing — Voss five-of-14 for 33 yards and two interceptions; rushing — Voss 26-for-246, Voelker 20-for-87, Kyle Cole 1-for-36; receiving — Kelley four-for-28, Cole one-for-five; PAT kick — Funk one; tackles — Voelker 8.5, Woellert eight, Jadyn Peyton six, Cole and Christian Nunley 4.5, Will Halverson four, Voss and Kieran Monaghan 3.5, Cody Monaghan three, Ethan Proper 2.5, Mitchel Krogmann and Payton Lewin two, Kelley and Carson Petlon 1.5, Isaac Fettkether 0.5.