Turnovers, penalties hurt Le Mars in loss to Denison-Schleswig
LE MARS ó The Le Mars Community football team had been doing a good job of limiting their turnovers for most of the season. Quarterback Tate Westhoff had only thrown two interceptions in 240 pass attempts through the first eight games of the season. Unfortunately, the turnover bug hit the Bulldogs on Friday as they turned the ball over three times in a 35-24 loss.
One of two interceptions went for a touchdown late in the first half as Terrance Weah gave the Monarchs their biggest lead of the game at 28-12 entering the locker room at halftime. The Bulldogs also lost a fumble in the game while recovering one from their opponent.
Denison-Schleswig started their first scoring drive with a short field as a punt went high up into the wind and ended not too far past the line of scrimmage at the Le Mars 36. It appeared the Le Mars defense would be able to get out of the threat as they forced a fourth down. The Monarchs took a shot down the field on the fourth down play and Carter Wessel connected with Evan Turin for a 35-yard scoring play.
Another Le Mars drive ended with a punt, but this time the Monarchs had to start at their own 21. The Bulldogs got to a fourth down situation and this time they were the ones to come away with points as a punt block was recovered by Eric Spieler who took it into the end zone for the score. Le Mars was unable to convert on the 2-point conversion pass from Carter Arens, leaving the Bulldogs still trailing by a point.
Denison-Schleswig answered on their next drive as Wessel connected with Jack Mendlik for a 10-yard touchdown.
A kick out of bounds gave the Bulldogs decent starting position near midfield for their ensuing drive. The team followed up with a score about a minute and a half later as Trevor Smith ran in from eight yards out. It was one of five carries for 38 yards in the game for Smith who was the only player with positive rushing yardage for the Bulldogs. Le Mars failed on the 2-point conversion which would have tied the score.
Le Mars had an opportunity as they recovered a fumble in positive territory, but were unable to do anything with it. The Monarchs got the ball back and scored on a 12-yard rush from Leo Araujo before getting the pick-six with less than two minutes before halftime.
Le Mars, who has arguably been a better second half team this season, again got off to a good start to the third quarter as within the first minute Westhoff hit Colton Hoag for a 36-yard score. Hoag was the teamís leading receiver by yardage, gaining 102 yards on five receptions. His night could have been bigger but a nice gain which would have flipped field position for the team was called back on a holding penalty in the first half. It was one of 11 penalties in the game for Le Mars compared to just four for the Monarchs.
Le Mars pulled to within a one score game with eight minutes left in the contest as Smith ran for his second score of the game. Smith had just two rushing touchdowns in the previous eight games combined.
Again failed 2-point conversions hurt the Bulldogs as they failed all four in the game.
Denison-Schleswig put the final nail in the coffin with 3:33 left in the contest on a 3-yard carry for the quarterback.
Wessel was held to negative yardage for the day even with the touchdown rush. He completed 13-of-22 passes for 125 yards and two scores.
Weah was the leading rusher for the Monarchs with 93 yards on 20 carries. Araujo added 44 yards on 14 attempts.
Le Mars again got the majority of their offense through the air as Westhoff completed 24-of-46 passes for 318 yards and a touchdown. Westhoff will end the regular season as Class 3Aís passing leader with 2,436 yards. He also will leave the program as the school record holder in multiple passing categories, supplanting Levi Te Brink in yardage and completions.
Aisea Toki added seven catches for 59 yards as he will end the regular season as 3Aís leader in receptions with 64 as those catches added up to 956 yards. Only Wintersetís Brock Johnson had more receiving yards as the 1,000 yard receiver in Class 3A this season.
Toki will end as the schoolís record holder in all receiving categories, surpassing Collin Nemmers in yardage categories and Tyler Borchers in number of reception categories.
Conlen Parmelee led the Le Mars defense with 11 tackles including one for loss. Arens added 8.5 tackles for next on the team. Colton Hoag had one tackle for loss out of his six and Braiden Hurd got a Monarch player in the backfield three times as part of his 5.5 tackles.
Both Denison-Schleswig and Le Mars finish the season with 5-4 overall records and 2-3 marks in district play. Despite the loss, Le Mars clings to a slight 6-4 edge in the last 10 meetings in the series.
Neither team was in contention for a playoff berth with the Monarchs finishing 25th in the last RPI rankings and Le Mars ending 33rd. Sergeant Bluff-Luton (8-1) was the only team in the district to make the playoffs, earning the No. 4 overall seed and drawing a first round matchup with No. 14 Carlisle (7-2).