MONROE — The Mustangs heard all the talk.
Des Moines Christian’s offense had scored more points and gained more yards than any other Class 2A team through six weeks of the season.
And the Lions’ junior quarterback Jackson Waring had tallied more than 1,400 yards passing and more than 800 yards rushing in leading his team to a 5-1 start.
When PCM’s football team was finally able to take the field on Oct. 5, the Mustangs showed why they are still the top-ranked team in the state.
PCM held the Lions’ high-powered offense to 112 yards, and Waring gained just eight rushing yards in the first half during the Mustangs’ 49-12 home win.
“This was an impressive performance. To shut down the No. 1 offense in the state like that shows how good our defense can be,” junior lineman Jace Smith said.
Class 2A No. 1 PCM withstood a delayed start to the game and an early deficit during the 2A District 8 victory.
The Mustangs rolled off 49 straight points before the Lions put in a late TD to close the gap.
Senior quarterback Reed Worth rushed for 188 yards and three touchdowns and threw for 90 yards and two more scores as the Mustangs improved to 7-0 on the season and 3-0 in district play.
On a wet and muddy night, the Mustangs out-gained the Lions 430-112.
The game’s start time was moved up to 5 p.m. because of inclement weather in the forecast, but lightning and heavy rains delayed the start of the game to 6:45 p.m.
“This was a blast. It’s fun to play in the mud. It was some old-school football out there,” Smith said.
Seth Juhl got loose for the Lions on their first possession of the game and his 68-yard TD run put the Lions up 6-0.
PCM held the Lions to only five rushing yards on 29 carries the rest of the way.
The Lions came into the week as the 2A leader in points and yards.
“It’s a big win for us,” Worth said. “They came into the game with the No. 1 offense. Our defense was up to the challenge, but our offense also wanted to prove that we are pretty good, too.”
The Mustangs offense took a few possessions to get going. They picked up a pair of first downs on the first drive of the game but turned it over on downs.
They turned it over on downs the possession after Des Moines Christian’s scoring drive. Senior Wes Cummings had a 20-yard run on the drive, but PCM dropped two TD passes a few plays later.
After forcing DMC into a three and out, Worth tied the game late in the first quarter with a 44-yard TD run. It came on the first play of the drive.
Des Moines Christian turned it over on downs on its next drive. The key play in the series was a sack by Smith that put the Lions in a third-and-five situation.
With the game tied, Worth found senior Preston Van Wyk for a 50-yard TD on the drive’s first play, and the Mustangs went up 14-6 just 16 seconds into the second quarter.
PCM’s defense forced the Lions into punts on their next two possessions. Seniors Chance Palm and Cole Dustin both had sacks during that stretch, but the offense couldn’t take advantage right away because of penalties.
They finally extended their lead late in the second quarter. After forcing the Lions to another three and out, Des Moines Christian lost a fumble during its attempt to punt the ball away.
Telfer recovered the fumble and then with 2:23 to play in the second quarter, Worth’s second rushing TD of the night put PCM up 21-6. It was a two-play drive that covered 12 yards and Worth scored from six yards out.
PCM’s defense forced a three and out on the Lions’ next possession.
The offense took over on its own 34 and marched 66 yards in four plays. Worth gained 33 yards on second and 11, and a facemask penalty tacked on 15 more yards.
Cummings capped the drive with a 7-yard TD run.
Cummings finished with 106 yards on 20 carries. He scored a pair of TDs and now has 49 career rushing TDs, which ties him for the school record. He’s also 122 yards away from the school’s career rushing record.
Cummings scored his second rushing touchdown of the night on the Mustangs’ first possession of the second half. This time, he went in from 20 yards out to make it 35-6. That drive also took one play, and it was set up by a Telfer interception.
“Wes might have gotten off to a slow start, but he opened up things for everyone else,” PCM coach Greg Bonnett said. “Des Moines Christian heavily keyed on him with their defensive ends. When we stretched him out, they went with him and that opened up some running lanes for Reed. That was a good 1-2 punch for us.”
Worth’s 41-yard TD run made it 42-6 late in the third quarter, and PCM capped its scoring when Worth hit Telfer on a 23-yard TD pass with 8 minutes to go in the game. Telfer finished with 32 yards on two catches.
Des Moines Christian returned the ensuing kickoff to the PCM 12-yard line. The Lions scored on one play to make it 49-12.
“We were out of our gaps early, but in the end we ended up being pretty dang dominant defensively,” Bonnett said. “The offensive line stayed on blocks, opened up holes and did a great job on pass protection.”
Defensively, the Mustangs were led by seniors Brycen Rogers and Jarron Trausch. Rogers finished with seven tackles and Trausch had six tackles and two tackles for loss.
PCM’s defense had 13 tackles for loss in the game. Senior Cole Dustin had four tackles and three tackles for loss. Junior Cody Rink also had a fourth-quarter interception.
Waring finished with no pass completions and just eight rushing yards in the loss. He injured his hand at the end of the first half and did not return to the game.
“We stuck to our game plan. That centered around Jackson Waring,” Bonnett said. “We wanted to have guys show up, make sure they were in the passing windows where he likes to throw the ball and flip some coverages up to not give him a clear read. We took care of business and executed.
“The guy that came in did a pretty good job, but Jackson Waring is a special talent. Not having him out there for the second half definitely gave me a sense of relief,” Bonnett said.
Worth knew how good of a player Waring was but didn’t focus his attention to trying to be the better quarterback on the field.
“I knew he was pretty good, but if you focus too much on trying to outplay him, that makes it all about me,” Worth said. “Football is a team game. I can’t do anything without my offensive line. If it wasn’t for those guys, I wouldn’t be near as effective.”
Des Moines Christian dropped to 5-2 on the season and 2-1 in the district. The Lions play Chariton next week in what could be a playoff elimination game.
PCM is two games away from its first undefeated season since starting 11-0 in 2011. The Mustangs play Clarke at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 12 in Osceola. The Indians forfeited to PCM last season.
It may take Bonnett a few days to forget about the touchdown run his Mustang defense gave up to Juhl on the Lions’ first possession of the game. PCM’s first-team defense has only given up 28 points this season.
“I called a blitz on a two-back set and you can’t do that. It bothered me all game and will probably bother me all week,” Bonnett said. “It was a bad call, and I messed up. But I want Coach Block to have some ownership in this one. I told him in the headset that I was thinking about the blitz and he told me to call it before Des Moines Christian broke the huddle.
“You can’t call that blitz before they leave the huddle because if they line up in a two-back set it won’t work. When I saw that formation, I knew it was over because we don’t have anyone behind it and nobody was in the middle of the field.”
Des Moines Christian 6-0-0-6 — 12
PCM 6-22-14-7 — 49
DMC — Seth Juhl 68 run (pass failed)
PCM — Reed Worth 44 run (kick failed)
PCM — Preston Van Wyk 50 pass from Worth (Worth pass to Dane Owens)
PCM — Worth 6 run (Andrew Mitchell kick)
PCM — Cummings 7 run (Mitchell kick)
PCM — Cummings 20 run (Mitchell kick)
PCM — Worth 41 run (Mitchell kick)
PCM — Isaac Telfer 23 pass from Worth (Mitchell kick)
DMC — Juhl 12 pass from Jeff Herbers (pass failed)