The Howells Dodge Jaguars got the play they needed, a 21-yard touchdown pass from Dax VanLengen to Dylan Horesji in the fourth quarter. Then the Jaguars withstood the Tigers’ late surge to win the back-and-forth opening thriller between two highly ranked Class D1 teams.
"Our team played with great effort in an excellent game," East Butler coach Shawn Biltoft said.
The Tigers had answered every score by the Jaguars until the fourth quarter. Neither team could get much separation. The game was so evenly matched, that up until the final score, both teams had equal success on their point-after-touchdown attempts, going 1-3.
Carter Starah and Dalton Bohac shared the running load for the Tigers, with Stara gaining 108 on 23 carries; Bohac gained 94 yards on 16 carries.
Bohac also completed 8 of 14 passes for 97 yards, and Jaden Ryhnalds pitched in, going 2-2 for 42 yards, including the 25-yard strike to Camden Robley to tie the game at 20-20 in the fourth quarter.
The difference in the game may have been the three interceptions the Tigers gave up, stalling out three drives in a game when they couldn’t afford it.
VanLengen was 13-21 passing for 174 yards. He also got the Jaguars on the board first with a one yard run.
Bohac answered with an 8-yard run in the first quarter.
The Jaguars led at halftime 20-14 after VanLengen hit L. Rocheford for a 9 yard touchdown strike. The quarterback also rushed for a one yard touchdown. Dalton Bohac kept the Tigers in the game with a 4 yard run.
The third quarter was scoreless until Robley’s touchdown catch. The Jaguars pulled back ahead, and fended off a surge by the Tigers, which included a holding penalty negating a touchdown run. The Tigers got their last chance after recovering a Jaguar fumble on the 28-yard-line.
The Jaguars grabbed an interception to stop the final Tiger threat.
"There were plays throughout the game that proved to be the difference," Biltoft said. He expected that the close loss will not lead to a drop by Tigers.
"The team will continue working to get better and prepare for our next game," he said.
The Tigers have a week off before they host Lourdes Central Catholic 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 8 at Dwight. Lourdes lost to Falls City, 50-0, to start the season.
Aug. 25 at Howells
HOWELLS-DODGE 26, EAST BUTLER 20
East Butler 6 6 0 8 -- 20
Howells-Dodge 14 6 0 6 -- 26
HD--VanLengen 1 run (pass failed)
EB--Bohac 8 run (pass failed)
HD--Rocheford 9 pass from VanLengen (Horejsi run)
EB--Bohac 4 run (pass failed)
HD--VanLengen 2 run (run failed)
EB--Robley 25 pass from Rhynalds (Rhynalds run)
HD--Brichachek 21 pass from VanLengen (pass failed)
EB- C. Stara, 23-108; D. Bohac 16-94
HD- D. Horejsi 24-90
EB- Bohac 8-14-97; Rhynalds 2-2-42
HD VanLengen 13-21-174.
Receiving: Havlovic 4-61; Stara 3-45; Robley 3-33.
Tackles (solo-assists) B. Reza 8-8; T. Havlovic 5-8; Ryhnalds 1-1; Stara 4-3; Bohach 5-3; R. Spatz 3-3; C. Robley 1-3; Novotny 1-2; Janak 1-8.
Fumble rec.: Stara, 1; Pass breakups: Robley 1; Havlovic 2.