PELLA — After another subpar performance on the offensive side of the ball, Prairie City-Monroe football coach Greg Bonnett hinted at making personnel changes on Friday night.
But the main conversation Bonnett is having with his inexperienced team is about going back to work and getting better.
That message comes after the Mustangs lost their first game since 2017. West Marshall scored the game-winning touchdown with 9.7 seconds left and defeated Class 2A No. 5 PCM 14-7 at Central College.
“I think the guys were fine. I looked at them in the postgame talk and they were good to go,” Bonnett said. “I think they are ready to get back to work. The loss stings, but we’ll learn from it.”
The loss snaps PCM’s 14-game win streak that dates back to 2017. The Mustangs’ offense was mostly inept, and the home team committed 13 penalties for 85 yards.
PCM’s defense held West Marshall to 244 total yards and six three-and-outs. But the Mustangs gained only 187 yards and managed just one scoring drive late in the third quarter that was aided by a short field.
“I don’t know yet, but we’ll evaluate the film,” Bonnett said when asked about the struggles on offense. “We might have guys playing out of position. We are still trying to find our identity. I told the guys we need to get back to work and figure it out.”
Sage Burns scored the game-tying TD with 1:54 to play in the third quarter, but the Mustangs mostly failed to take advantage of positive field position in the third quarter.
The Mustangs (1-1) got the ball in a tie game with 3:25 to play, but the offense went three and out and punted the ball to the Trojans (1-1).
West Marshall’s final drive went 58 yards in seven plays and took 1:29 off the clock. After a 31-yard pass play from Peyton Pope to Brayden Evertsen, Jarrin Goecke scored from 3 yards out to put the Trojans in front. Goecke was hit at the 2-yard line but spun off a pair of PCM tacklers and fell into the end zone.
Pope scored the Trojans’ first-quarter touchdown on a 38-yard run.
PCM’s coaching staff complained about a missed holding call on the Trojans’ first-quarter TD and there was a missed facemask on West Marshall’s game-winning TD, too. There were 22 flags thrown in the game though.
The Mustangs committed nine penalties in the first quarter as they went three-and-out on four of their six first-half drives. They punted four times, lost a fumble and Tristan Doehne missed a 30-yard field goal attempt in the final seconds. That drive was PCM’s longest of the night at 11 plays.
After forcing the Trojans to a three-and-out on their first drive of the second half, PCM got the ball at the Trojans’ 27-yard line. But the Mustangs turned it over on downs after four plays.
Another strong defensive stop by PCM gave the ball back to the offense at the Mustangs’ 46-yard line. They punted three plays later.
PCM’s only scoring drive of the game came on its third possession of the second half. The Mustangs went 18 yards in four plays. Aidan Anderson started the drive with a 12-yard catch from Burns. Burns then followed with runs of two yards, three yards and one yard to get in the end zone.
Burns finished with 61 yards and a TD on the ground while also throwing for 80 yards on nine completions. Connor Bennett gained 52 yards on the ground and 22 yards on two catches.
Colby Tool led the defense with 6.5 tackles and two tackles for loss. Gatlin Boell had 4.5 tackles and one tackle for loss and Seth Greiner tallied four tackles and one tackle for loss.
Pope led the Trojans with 95 yards rushing and 92 yards passing. Evertsen had 83 yards on five receptions.
“The defensive effort was real good. We figured we could play with them,” Bonnett said. “They have some tough guys who can run the ball, and it was only a matter of time before they made some plays. When they did make some plays, we had some key personnel out of the game, too. It’s a learning experience.
“Whether we win or lose, no matter what, you have to get back to work and get better.”
PCM will try to start a new winning streak against Roland-Story (1-1) at 7:30 p.m. this Friday in Story City.