MP looks for 2-in-a-row against Ottumwa

OTTUMWA — The Mt. Pleasant football team put on a pass-defense clinic in last year’s home win over Ottumwa. The Panthers allowed just 34 yards on 17 attempts, disallowing the Bulldogs to find the end zone even one time in a 21-0 skunking.

It was the second win of the season for Mt. Pleasant, one that brought their record to .500 for the first and last time. For Ottumwa, it was the third game of a seven-game losing streak, and also the first of two shutouts of the year.

On Friday night, the Panthers will try and match what they did last year, pick up their fourth win of the season and roll into homecoming with some momentum.

Mt. Pleasant’s defense has been quite good, outside of a runaway second half for Pella in the Panthers’ only home game. It’s their offense that has turned heads, though, as Mt. Pleasant has averaged 39 points per game through three contests.

Quarterback Brody Bender has been razor sharp during his tenure as the team’s “QB1.” Bender has completed 53.8 percent of his passes, throwing for 515 yards, seven touchdowns and one interception.

The bulk of the passes have been caught by speedy wideouts Rylan Seberg and Chase Williamson. The two have combined to bring in 23 of Bender’s 28 completions, with Seberg gaining 275 yards and three touchdowns, and Williamson reaching 183 yards and two scores.

The running game has been a two-headed monster as well. Logan Bass is up to 2560 yards and four touchdowns on the ground, and Jack Johnson has gained 234 yards and four scores of his own. Nobody else has ran the ball more than four times, although Klayton Kleinkopf does have two scores in three attempts.

All that has added up to a balanced offensive attack, who that will look to grind out points against an Ottumwa team that gives up an average of 30 points per game.

Like the Panthers, Ottumwa comes in with an offense that can score both through the air or on the ground. Quarterback Adam Denniston has completed 47.4 percent of his passes for five touchdowns and three interceptions. Trae Swartz has been his main target, catching nine passes for 195 yards and two scores.

The Bulldogs have scored six times on the ground. Kie Glosser has ran for 280 yards and two scores, and Gage Cole has went for 193 and four.

Mt. Pleasant comes into the game 2-1, looking to polish off a strong nondistrict schedule. A win, and they’d be one better than last year’s trip through the nondistrict tilt, where they went 2-2 into league play.

Ottumwa is 1-2, with its lone win coming at Burlington in Week 1. Ottumwa defeated the Grayhounds 47-21 in the opener, but have only scored a combined 35 points since.

After Friday’s game, it’s all district opponents from that point on. The Panthers will host rival Fairfield on homecoming one week from Friday.