McLouth slams Valley Falls, wins district title
McLouth High still has one game remaining on its regular-season football schedule, but the Bulldogs removed any remaining suspense Friday on their home field.
MHS clinched its second consecutive Class 2-1A District 2 title with a 52-8 win against Valley Falls at Stan Bracksick Sports Complex. The Bulldogs (6-2, 3-0 district) led by just eight points after the first quarter, but reeled off 24 in the second to take control.
“We started out kind of sluggish on offense,” coach Chris Stewart said. “We were making mental mistakes — bad naps, penalties, things like that. We started getting it together in the second quarter and eliminated some of those mistakes.”
Stewart’s squad opened scoring with a 16-yard touchdown run by Nick McAferty in the opening period, and Jack Courtney ran in the two-point conversion to make it 8-0. The Dragons (1-7, 1-2) answered with a touchdown and conversion to tie things up, but Drew Cerny put MHS back in front with a two-yard scoring run, and a McAferty conversion gave the Bulldogs an 18-6 lead at the end of the quarter.
MHS put the game out of reach in the second quarter, in which it outscored VFHS, 24-0. Courtney and McAferty each ran for a touchdown in the period, and Courtney hooked up with Cerny on a 32-yard touchdown pass to make it 40-8 at halftime.
The MHS defense scored the only points of the second half. Brady Sullivan recovered a fumble and took it 36 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter, and Jake Copeland added a 45-yard scoop-and-score in the fourth.
Courtney enjoyed another big passing day, going 7-of-11 for 164 yards and a touchdown. Over his last three games, he is 13-of-23 for 289 yards and three touchdowns, compared to just one interception.
“His experience of getting into games has gotten a lot better,” Stewart said of Courtney. “We’ve done a little bit more passing in the last couple games, and I think he’s picked that up. We want to get Jack more involved in the offense.”
McAferty was Courtney’s top receiving target, hauling in four catches for 80 yards. Cerny led the rushing attack with 108 yards on 18 carries.
The defense was solid yet again, holding its fourth straight opponent to a single touchdown. MHS has limited six teams to eight points or less this season, including two shutouts.
The Bulldogs will wrap up their regular season Friday at Leavenworth-Immaculata, but since they’ve already clinched a district title, the game will have no postseason implications. Regardless, Stewart said his squad will continue its one-game-at-a-time approach.
“We’ll still work on Immac all week long and do the fundamental items that we work on every week,” he said. “I don’t really see it as being any different than any of the past weeks.”
MHS will host the District 1 runner-up in the first round of the playoffs on Nov. 8. Oskaloosa is the District 2 runner-up and will play the District 1 champion on the road. Centralia (8-0, 3-0) currently sits atop the District 1 standings and can win the title outright Friday at Jackson Heights (7-1, 2-1). JHHS is currently tied with Troy (5-3, 2-1) for second in the district, but Troy won the head-to-head meeting. Troy will wrap up its regular season Friday at Doniphan West (1-7, 0-3).