ATLANTIC – For a half and a little bit more, Atlantic’s homecoming battle with ADM Friday night was a real competitive game, just as it was expected to be.
It was the Tigers’ speed that changed the complexion of this contest.
The Trojans had drawn to within a touchdown of the Tigers on a quarterback sneak by Caden Andersen in the Iowa Class 3A District 6 opener.
That play was set up by two plays: ADM, forced to punt, fumbling the snap and the Trojans taking over at the ADM 44-yard line, and a nifty 33-yard completion to Carter Pellett, the guy whose catch won the game for the Trojans’ last week against Ballard.
It was 28-20, the Trojans down just one touchdown, but magic didn’t strike again.
Instead, it was the speed of Brevin Doll and the passing ability of quarterback Aiden Flora – and Flora’s own speed – that turned the game squarely in favor of the Tigers, en route to a 56-27 victory.
Still, there were a number of positives to come out of the game, against a team that was ranked in the top four in four statewide major polls.
One specific one was Colton Rasmussen making several big-game catches, often with two or more Tiger defenders hanging on him as he made his catches. These included two huge passes by Andersen to the lanky Trojan junior wide receiver, for 8 and 31 yards, that gave the Trojans their first two scores and rallied them to 14-13 midway through the second quarter.
Early on, it appeared ADM would run away with the game, as Doll, utilizing the speed that won him a Class 3A 200-meter dash state championship this past spring, sprinted for big gains, setting up the Tigers first two touchdowns 3 and 1 yards and establishing a 14-0 lead.
The Trojans found their offensive footing late in the first quarter and that led to the first Andersen-to-Rasmussen score with 10:34 left in the first half.
The Trojan defense stiffened and nearly pulled off a safety as the elusive Flora seemed to be tackled in his own end zone, only for him to be ruled down at the 3-yard line on the sack by Jackson McLaren.
Still, Easton O’Brien returned the punt to the Tigers’ 31, and that’s when Andersen rifiled off his second touchdown strike to Rasmussen.
But ADM responded and re-established their two-touchdown edge, with Doll’s 1-yard run and a halfback pass to Bennett Holmberg established the 28-13 halftime lead.
The Trojans were forced to punt on the opening drive of the second half, but the defense held and, forced to punt, the Tigers’ punter mishandled the snap and had to down the ball at the Tigers’ 44, setting up the touchdown drive to put them to within a score once again.
But Doll and the rest of the Tigers responded, putting the game away on Doll’s final touchdown of the night, a 1-yarder with four seconds elapsed in the fourth quarter.
The Trojans got a late touchdown on Andersen’s sneak from the 1 to establish the final score.
Atlantic ended the game with 334 yards, including a 14-of-32 passing performance by Andersen, and Rasmussen making five catches for 89 yards. Five Trojans had at least one catch for the night. After a couple of weeks of nursing an injury, Dante Hedrington returned to the lineup and gained 120 yards rushing on 25 carries.
For ADM, Flora ended with 257 total yards, including 127 passing, and figured into two touchdowns. Doll had 97 rushing yards and 56 receiving yards in his six-touchdown performance.
Atlantic (2-3, 0-1 District 6) will be on the road the next two weeks, with the first stop being at Harlan. The Cyclones defeated Saydel 62-6.