Promise turned to disappointment for the North Mahaska Warhawks in their homecoming game Friday. NM recovered the opening kickoff and later led 14-13, but a fourth quarter fumble allowed the visiting Raiders to secure a 19-15 District 6 win.
North Mahaska moved the ball into Raider territory, but the running game sputtered, and they turned the ball over on downs at the Mount Ayr 36-yard line. The Raiders moved the ball to the NM 4-yard line, but the tenacious defense stepped up and forced the Raiders to turn the ball over on downs. NM was unable to move the ball and punted.
The Raiders hit on a 25-yard pass for 25 yards and on the next play Tate Dugan zipped up the middle for a score. The kick was good and the Raiders led 7-0 with 14 seconds left in the first quarter.
North Mahaska was not going to outdone on its homecoming night. Two plays into the second quarter, Luke Nunnikhoven hooked up with Asher DeBoef on a 68-yard aerial to tie the game.
The see-saw game continued with a good run back on the kick to the Mount Ayr 45-yard line. After a loss, quarterback Jackson Ruggles hooked up with Dugan for another score, the kick failed, and the Raiders led 13-7.
North Mahaska had a solid return by Hunter Wernli to begin their drive on the Raider 44-yard line. Kaleb Stout powered the ball up the middle for 2 yards, but a face mask added 15 more and set up NM for a score. Lucas Nunnikhoven hit DeBoef for a 27-yard strike then Nunnikhoven’s kick gave the Warhawks the lead, 14-13.
NM had its chance on the first possession of the second half as they took advantage of a pass interference call to reach the Raider 14-yard line. The Raiders forced a fumble and stifled the NM drive. Mount Ayr took over at their own 10-yard line and three plays later Ruggles and Dugan hooked up for a 77-yard strike and created the final score.
NM threw an interception on its possession after the kickoff and relied on the defense to keep the Raiders form advancing. NM worked the ball inside the 5-yard line, but another interception ended the drive and NM’s chances for a win.
Mount Ayr, 3-2, rolled up 470 yards of offense including 293 on the ground and 177 through the air. Unofficially, North Mahaska had 266 yards in offense, 194 of them through the air.
Quarterback Jackson Ruggles of Mount Ayr led all rushers with 14 carries for 132 yards and added another 177 yards passing with to touchdowns. Running back Tate Dugan also topped the 100-yard plateau with 103 on 13 carries.
Unofficially, Lucas Nunnikhoven passed for 194 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. DeBoef led the receiving corps with two TDs and 134 yards. Stout rushed 15 times for 65 yards.
North Mahaska, 1-4, will host Wayne next Friday for senior night. It will be the last home game of the season for the Warhawks.