CRESTON, Iowa — Creston/Orient-Macksburg’s drive for the No. 1 seed in District 8 of Class 3-A immediately got stuck in neutral and never moved.

Dallas Center-Grimes scored on its opening possession, and then Callen Bertrand returned a fumble 18 yards for a score on Creston’s first snap. The sixth-rated Mustangs went on to a convincing 35-14 victory Friday on Creston’s home field.

“The kids played hard. Did we play smart? No,” Creston/O-M coach Brian Morrison said. Morrison said the slow start “has happened to us before this year. This is the first game we haven’t rebounded.”

Dallas Center-Grimes was the outright champion in a more centrally located 3-A district last season. Moved into a grouping with some unfamiliar western teams, the Mustangs (7-1, 5-0) are in position to complete another unbeaten run through their new district with a win over Glenwood next week.

“It’s something we take great pride in,” Dallas Center-Grimes coach Scott Heitland said. “It’s something that is at the top of our goal list every year. We want to be a district champion. To do it this year against all these new teams. There was so many teams we’d never seen before.”

Creston dropped to 6-2 and 4-1. The Panthers will still host a first-round playoff game on Oct. 29 as the No. 2 seed in the district.

Dallas Center-Grimes outgained the Panthers 310-212. Its defense set the tone for the game.

“What an awesome performance by our defense tonight,” Heitland said. “Our defensive staff had a wonderful game plan put into place. They pour over film and they really do their homework.”

The Mustangs jumped on Creston before the host knew what hit it.

DC-G marched 80 yards in 12 plays on its opening possession, with sophomore Nathan Brown running in from the 5.

On Creston’s first play from scrimmage, Seth Maitlen was hit hard by Austin Kloewer and fumbled. Bertrand scooped it up and raced 18 yards to the end zone, putting the Mustangs on top 14-0 with 7:02 still left in the opening period.

Dallas Center-Grimes added another backbreaking score to end the half. The scoring drive used 13 plays and covered 74 yards. Kloewer sneaked in from the 1 for a 21-0 lead at the intermission.

The Mustangs pushed it to 35-0 with 7:39 left in the game on Anthony Jacobsen’s 5-yard run. That figured to trigger a continuous clock, but Bryce Briley returned the kickoff 76 yards to paydirt to avoid that.

Brown ran for 106 yards and two scores for the winners.

Against Atlantic in the regular-season finale, Morrison said it won’t be a struggle to get his team to turn the page.

“It’s not going to be difficult,” he said. “We’ve got to build momentum this week. Atlantic is a football team that can beat anybody on a given night.”

Dallas Center-Grimes (7-1, 5-0) .......................... 14 7 7 7—35

Creston/O-M (6-2, 4-1) ....................................... 0 0 0 14—14

DCG: Nathan Brown 5 run (Connor Smith kick)

DCG: Callen Bertrand 18 fumble return (Smith kick)

DCG: Austin Kloewer 1 run (Smith kick)

DCG: Brown 3 run (Smith kick)

DCG: Anthony Jacobsen 5 run (Smith kick)

C: Bryce Briley 76 kickoff return (Conner Pals kick)

C: Chase Shiltz 2 run (Pals kick)

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING: DCG, Nathan Brown 21-106, Austin Kloewer 13-45, Anthony Jacobsen 14-36, Keaton Means 1-29. C, Chase Shiltz 12-90, Seth Maitlen 7-27, Alex Nielsen 8-(-2), Conner Pals 2-(-4).

PASSING: DCG, Austin Kloewer 7-10-0, 93 yards. C, Alex Nielsen 12-21-1, 101 yards.

RECEIVING: DCG, Keaton Means 4-35, Doug Heritage 1-30, Alan Kenworthy 1-11, Austin Winter 1-17. C, Chase Shiltz 4-38, Bryce Briley 2-26, Christian Groumoutis 3-15, Conner Pals 2-9, McClain Haines 1-13.

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