Prep Football: No. 1 Decorah Dominates No. 5 Marion
By K.J. Pilcher, Reporter
MARION – What promised to be a competitive game turned into an old-fashion beating.
In a matchup of top-five teams, Class 3A top-ranked Decorah whipped No. 5 Marion, 35-0, in a non-district contest Friday night at Thomas Park.
The Vikings (2-0) felt they had something to prove as the returning state runners-up facing a second straight ranked foe to open the season.
“We got ranked No. 1 to start the year, and that doesn’t mean much,” Decorah lineman Andy Hovden said. “We wanted to come out and make a statement so everyone knows we’re a team to reckon with again.”
They dominated both sides of the ball, shutting down a Marion (1-1) team that racked up 70 points in its opener at Mount Pleasant. It opened the eyes of Decorah Coach Bill Post, who was more impressed by the defensive performance.
“I didn’t expect this at all,” Post said. “I thought it was going to be a close ball game.
“Our guys were excited about playing down here, playing on this field, under this atmosphere in a big city. … It’s a big accomplishment for us. They were coming down. They were pretty excited to play.”
The Vikings capitalized on prime field position and Marion miscues in the opening half to build a 14-0 lead.
Marion fumbled the snap of its first punt attempt, giving the Decorah the ball on the Indians 18. Two plays later, Josey Jewell pounded home the first Viking score with a 7-yard run less than two minutes into the game.
Another fumble burned Marion again in the second quarter. The Indians’ quarterback Trevor Hardman was sacked on 4th-and-27 from the Decorah 27. The ball bounced out and Hovden scooped it up and rambled 64 yards for the touchdown, diving in the end zone as Trev Biery tried to track him down. The return gave the Vikings a 21-0 halftime lead.
Hovden had a similar play when he was a sophomore, but was tripped up two yards from a touchdown.
“As soon as I scooped the ball, I was thinking I got to get to the end zone,” Hovden said. “I was huffing and puffing when I got there. It felt really good.”
Hovden helped dismantle the physical running game of the Indians. Post said he is an exceptional athlete, who can run well for his 6-foot-3, 235-pound frame.
"He was beating their tackle inside all night long," Post said. "He picked the ball up and went."
Decorah only had to travel 29 yards on its second possession. Vikings’ quarterback Jacob Kvale scored on a 2-yard QB sneak, capping a six-play drive.
Drew Schwartz caught a 31-yard TD pass from Kvale in the third and Gavin Nimrod added a rushing TD, forcing the continuous clock with more than 10 minutes left.
The Vikings tallied 146 rushing yards and about 200 total yards, despite the early short field. Holt Johansen had 51 yards on the ground to lead Decorah. Jewell and Nimrod added 33 and 29, respectively.
“Overall, it was a good team victory,” Jewell said. All of us played 100 percent today. There were no let downs.”
Marion had less than 40 rushing yards and drove down to the Vikings' 10 before being pushed back to about the 30-yard line, ending in Hovden's fumble return. The Indians were reduced to a one-dimensional attack when Hardman was injured and left the came after the sack that forced the fumble.
Marion Coach Tony Perkins said about five players are questionable for next week’s game.
“They beat us up pretty good,” Perkins said. “It wasn’t anything we did different. They’re just one a different plane.”
Marion opens 3A district 6 play next week against Anamosa at Thomas Park. Decorah plays at Independence to open 3A district 5 competition.
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