MT. PLEASANT — It’s called “bully-ball.” The ability to run the ball straight up the middle over and over again to wear down your opponents. Mt. Pleasant utilized bully-ball to the exterme on Friday night, running right through Ft. Madison en route to a 35-10 win.
“That was kind of the plan to begin with because of the wind,” head coach Shawn Striegel said. “We still wanted to throw the ball, and I’m so stubborn, I like to do it. But the offensive line and the running backs decided they were going to take over.”
The Panthers handed the ball to Logan Bass and Jack Johnson again and again and watched them both eclipse 100 yards on the Bloodhound defense. Bass had a career night, finding the end zone five different times, accounting for every Mt. Pleasant touchdown.
“All week we were focusing on our line sealing all those guys in front, and occasionally we’d throw Jack or me in on one of those lead plays,” Bass said. “Every time I run behind Jack, he’s picking his guy up. Everyone found their guy, and it just opened it right up for me.”
Bass scored the first touchdown of the game with 6:31 remaining in the first quarter. That was the only score of the opening period.
Ft. Madison’s Landes Williams boomed a 36-yard field goal in the second quarter to cut the lead to four, but Bass and the Panthers took over from there. Bass scored three more times before halftime, running scores in from 28 yards, 19 yards and two yards out.
Bass finished off his five-touchdown day with a five-yard score at the beginning of the fourth quarter.
Ft. Madison scored the final touchdown of the day on a 70-yard pass from Will Larson to Diego Lozano. That accounted for over half of Ft. Madison’s 116 passing yards. The Panther defense held Larson to 8-21 for 116 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. Both those picks came from Brevin Wilson.
“I picked up a couple tendencies from their wide receivers,” Wilson said. “(On the first one), he ran that 10-yard out that he burned me on in the first half. He slowed down and I broke right over the top of it and made a great play. I tried to take it to the house, but it didn’t work out.”
Bass finished with 164 yards and five scores on the ground. Johnson ran for 103.
Brody Bender was 5-14 for 61 yards and an inteception. Rylan Seberg, Johnson, Wilson, Chase Williamson and Bass each caught one pass.
Mt. Pleasant (6-2, 3-1) will now get ready for the biggest game of their season. The Panthers will travel to Washington on Friday, Oct. 25, to face the Demons in what should be a play-in game for the Class 3A playoffs.