Field goal in final seconds sends Le Mars past No. 7 MOC-Floyd Valley
LE MARS — Jovany Kabongo drilled a 41-yard field goal with 5.4 seconds remaining as Le Mars Community beat Class 3A No. 7 ranked MOC-Floyd Valley by a 24-22 score in a non-district contest Friday.
“Boy, when he hit it, it boomed,” Le Mars Head Coach Ken Vigdal said.
Kabongo, who missed a field goal attempt earlier in the game, thanked his teammates for having confidence in him and putting him in a situation to be able to hit the game winner.
“What can I say, they’re great teammates,” Kabongo said. “They’re on the sidelines telling me, ‘Hey, you got this. We believe in you. This is your moment.’ I love my teammates. It felt great that you missed a kick earlier and your teammates are just there, ‘Oh, wipe it’ and what can I say, once again my teammates put me in the right position just to kick that ball. If it wasn’t for the offense, we wouldn’t have that field goal.”
The 41-yard kick, the longest in team history, had plenty of distance to spare as it made its way through the uprights.
MOC-Floyd Valley scored first as a 21-yard pass from Kael Arends to Blake Aalbers in the first quarter made it 7-0 after the extra-point kick.
The Dutchmen looked to add to their lead right before the half with the ball just outside the Le Mars 2-yard line with 0.6 seconds left, but Sione Fifita picked off a pass from Aalbers and returned it 99 yards for a touchdown on the final play of the half as Le Mars, who was receiving votes in the Class 4A rankings, went into the locker room with the momentum.
“We kind of got our backs put up against the wall a couple times, we got behind,” Vigdal said. “Then we were able to dig our way out. We had a great interception by Sione for a 99-yard touchdown and we go in 7-7.”
It was one of two interceptions by the Bulldogs as Ryan Sadoski also picked off Aalbers who finished 14-of-28 for 135 yards in the game.
MOC-Floyd Valley took the lead back in the third quarter on a 3-yard run for Aalbers. Le Mars tied the score once more later in the period on a 12-yard run from Beau Wadle. He ended with 15 yards on three carries, but was the team’s leading receiver with four catches for 79 yards as quarterback Teagen Kasel ended 13-of-24 for 128 yards in the game.
Le Mars took their first lead of the game in the fourth quarter after a 6-yard run from Elijah Dougherty, part of his team-leading 50 yards on 15 carries.
The Dutchmen got a 3-yard scoring rush from Ayden Klein and took the lead with with a 2-point conversion run from Kale Arends. The play was supposed to be a PAT kick attempt, but the holder picked up the ball on a bit of a low snap and scrambled to the right pylon for the score.
The 2-point conversion meant the Bulldogs needed points by the end of regulation and couldn’t settle for a tie to then try to win the game in overtime.
The Bulldogs got the ball back with 2:49 left in the game and began at their own 35-yard line before driving down the field to set up the game-winning field goal.
MOC-Floyd Valley had a final chance after getting the ball back after the touchback following Kabongo’s field goal kick. MOC-Floyd Valley’s first play was stopped by a sack from Carson Ott, who also recovered a fumble earlier in the game. After a timeout, the Bulldogs held on for one more play after the Dutchmen tried to lateral the ball around.
The loss was the first of the season for MOC-Floyd Valley as they dropped to 3-1.
Le Mars will also take a 3-1 record into district play as they will play at Storm Lake (0-4) on Friday.
Vigdal said everything will be magnified with the start of district play.
“Every Friday night now is like times two, so we’ve got to be ready from the start,” Vigdal said. “We’ve got to be physical. We’ve got to clean up the mistakes we’re making.”
Kabongo said the team is looking forward to the start of district play.
“We’re ready for this,” Kabongo said. “We’ve just got to go out there and give it all we’ve got. That’s what we do.”