North Mahaska looked like a team that was going down when things fell apart. But the Warhawks were not going to allow their seniors to walk off the home field a last time without the win. North Mahaska rallied from a 12-0 first half deficit to score 21 unanswered points and secure a 21-12 win over the Wayne Falcons.
With 9 minutes 47 seconds to play in the first quarter a North Mahaska fumble was picked up by Iowa defensive lineman Gage Swan who rambled in from two yards out for a score. The 2-point attempt failed. About three minutes after the Warhawks turned the ball over on downs, Corydon Kiefer broke through the NM defense for a 50-yard score and went into halftime leading 12-0.
“We were pretty down at halftime,” said NM coach Trey Bennett. “They (Wayne) are tough, but I am so proud of my team and my seniors. Our boys showed a lot of strength coming back in the second half.”
The third quarter opened up with an interception by Wayne’s Brennen Sims. Then it was North Mahaska senior Gage Vande Voort which flipped the switch for the Warhawks. He stripped the ball and recovered the ball with 6:22 left in the third period. Junior Kaleb Stout, who finished with 124 yards on the ground, scored on a strong run to cure the lead to 12-7.
The Warhawks kept pressure on Wayne and with 9:04 to play in the game blocked a punt and then junior Lucas Nunnikhoven hooked up with junior Asher DeBoef for a 25-yard score and a lead they would not relinquish.
The extra point was the beginning of the downfall of the Falcons. A player was whistled for unsportsmanlike behavior and the kick pinned the Falcons deep and another penalty stuck Wayne at 1 ½-yard line. Not long later sophomore Charlie Goemaat picked off the pass and set the Warhawks up again. Dylan Meland had a crucial 17-yard catch to set up the Warhawks and Stout sealed the game with run.
“I am so proud of these boys,” said Bennett as his seniors were ringing the victory bell. “Dylan’s catch was huge and in the second half we were able to get our running game going. This was big four our seniors.”
Nunnikhoven rushed the ball eight times for 34 yards and DeBoef added 25 more on his TD.
Defensively, sophomore Alex Meland had 10 tackles. Junior Trenton Hol had eight tackles and two quarterback sacks. Senior Austin McMahan also had eight tackles. VandeVoort, Nunnikhoven and Goemaat each had six tackles. Senior Nate Sampson and junior Joel DeJong had five tackles.
Boudyn White rushed for 69 yards and Kiefer had 64. NM limited the Falcons to just two yards passing.
North Mahaska, 2-4, will hit the road next week with a game at No. 4 Madrid. They will close out the season at North Tama. Wayne is also 2-4 on the season