State football: PCM downs Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley to win first state title in school history
CEDAR FALLS, Ia. — The PCM (Monroe) football team had never played in a state title game before Friday afternoon. Inside the UNI-Dome, the Mustangs put on a show, and gave their fans another new feeling.
PCM beat Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley 28-7 in the Class 2A state championship game. It is the Mustangs’ first state football title, and they complete the 2018 season a perfect 13-0.
“I can’t describe the feeling,” PCM senior Nick Dredge said. “It’s like the happiest moment you’ve ever had times a million. I’ve never been so happy.”
The Mustangs blew through everybody on their schedule, winning all 13 games by at least 21 points. The offense had scored 47.8 points per game entering Friday’s final, and the defense had been equally as dominant, posting five shutouts, including a 27-0 win over West Liberty in last week’s semifinal round.
The dominance resumed on Friday against Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley (11-2), a team that won state two years ago and reached the semifinals last season. The Mustangs cared not for their credentials. They led 13-0 at half and by 21 in the fourth quarter.
Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley had an offense equally as potent, at 42.9 points per game, but it could not do much on Friday. The Nighthawks finished with 236 total yards of offense. At half, they had minus-3 rushing yards. The Mustang defense was relentless, racking up nine tackles for loss and a pair of sacks. Payton Strovers recorded two interceptions, one of five Nighthawk turnovers.
“I have to give credit to their defense,” Nighthawk coach Cory Brandt said. “They were outstanding all the way around. They were extremely well-coached and did a great job. They’re state champs for a reason.”
As Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley floundered, PCM flourished. The Mustangs scored on their first play, a 55-yard flea-flicker from Reed Worth to Preston VanWyk, to go up 7-0. Worth went 16-of-27 for 262 passing yards and three touchdowns. He connected with Brayton VanDyke for a 12-yard score in the second quarter, then hit Isaac Telfer from 8 yards out in the fourth to lead 28-7.
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The Nighthawks’ lone threat came midway through the third quarter. A booming punt put PCM on its own 1-yard line. Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley forced a three-and-out and took over just 28 yards from the end zone. Two plays later, quarterback JT Van’t Hul hit Cody Post for a 28-yard touchdown to come within 13-7.
The Mustangs answered immediately with a 7-play, 65-yard drive, ending with a 7-yard touchdown run by Wes Cummings. The senior running back finished with 129 rushing yards on 26 carries and the score.
“I can’t even find the words,” Cummings said. “It’s not just ours. It’s the community, the coaches, everyone that put in time, love and effort. They gave us all everything we needed to do this.
“This has been a dream since we were in seventh grade. This feeling — the amount of buildup and loss and hardships that we’ve gone through, this feeling, it’s insane. I can’t even describe it.”
Cummings nearly broke off a 90-plus yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter, as he blasted through the trenches and took off downfield. A Nighthawk defender caught him by the ankles around midfield after 41 yards. The Mustang contingent let out a collective sigh, but Cummings bounced up and pointed toward them, and they stood back up to cheer.
That was with less than three minutes to play. The crowd did not sit down again. When the clock hit all zeroes, they started a "P-C-M" chant. For the first time, the Mustangs are state champions.
Cody Goodwin covers wrestling and high school sports for the Des Moines Register. Follow him on Twitter at @codygoodwin.