The Pella High Little Dutch football team is looking to add another District Title, and they have to travel to Grinnell to take it.
Though the stakes are a bit higher for the regular season finale, the players themselves are keeping their cool.
“It’s just another game,” Aaron Downs said. “We’re going to come in with the same level of intensity we’ve brought to every game.”
Both teams are coming into the Friday, Oct. 25, contest with a 6-2 record. Grinnell will more than likely turn to its workhorse running back, Wyatt Hunter, who has 1,464 yards and 22 touchdowns this season. Downs does is not fazed by these statistics.
“I think we’ll be able to stop him,” Downs said. Pella’s ground game is much more balanced, with Nolan Clayberg racking up 513 yards and Downs with 491.
“I think if you look around, at our intensity, you will find a different level,” Logan Shetterly added. The team has been learning from its mistakes and watching a great deal of film on Grinnell. One of Pella’s keys to victory will be the trust and strong relationships they have with each other, Shetterly added.
“Blocking out front has been big,” added Ryan Mace. “These guys have provided me as much protection as they can.”
Mace has thrown for 1,514 yards and 19 touchdowns this season. He’s rushed for another 137 yards and four touchdowns.
Freshman Dallas Sauser has thrown for 1,529 and 14 scores. He has five juniors with over 200 yards receiving, including Cole McGriff with 475.
Shetterly has been Mace’s favorite target, with 770 yards and 12 touchdowns.
“Ryan has been good all year,” Shetterly said. “I credit him for the yards.”
Josh Warner and Downs also have over 200 yards through the air.
Downs knows Grinnell will bring a lot of quick passes that the defense will have to be prepared for. The Dutch have played in practice every day this week in anticipation of that.
“We’re going to do what we do,” Mace added. “We’re always excited we’re able to play on Friday. We play as a family and we are going to have some fun.”
Downs, Shetterly and Mace will lead the rest of the team by example. They are going to play hard at Grinnell, just as they have all season. Head Coach Jay McKinstrey put his thoughts going into the game simply.
“We are excited about the opportunity to go and win our district outright,” McKinstrey said. Kickoff is set in Grinnell at 7:30 p.m.
“I think we should be fine,” Mace added.