Cole Svestka (far left) takes the handoff from quarterback Bryce Pierce (No. 11) and looks to rush through a hole created by Jon Elsbernd (No. 72), Kyle Kane (No. 88) and Mikhail Suvorov (No. 2). (Photo by Rick Fromm)
Smashmouth football - that's what people in the stands at Viking Stadium saw Friday night as the Class 3A No. 2 Decorah football team (7-0, 4-0 district) hosted Crestwood (4-3, 3-1 district), the only other undefeated team in district action.
For 48 full minutes, the teams went back and forth, matching punch for punch before two big defensive plays and one 67-yard drive propelled the Vikes, ranked No. 2 by the Cedar Rapids Gazette and No. 4 by the Des Moines Register, to a 21-14 victory.
The win is the 21st in a row for Decorah, the second longest in the state. Iowa City Reginal holds the record.
Friday night's game featured a few elements Viking fans aren't accustomed to. The game was a close one for the entire 48 minutes, with neither team leading by more than seven points. For the first time all season and since the Class 3A second round victory over Solon Oct. 29, 2012, Decorah trailed in a game. And for the first time this season, Decorah didn't lead statistically.
However, none of that mattered as Decorah withstood.
Decorah started the game with the ball, going three and out. The Cadets took the punt and rushed right at Decorah, going 64 yards in 12 plays to punch the ball into the end zone.
Trailing 0-7, Decorah went to work. Cole Svestka took the kickoff and returned it 31 yards to their own 45. Bryce Pierce found Kyle Kane for a 16-yard gain. Following two rushes, Decorah faced 3rd and 1. Jake Hovden answered the call, going 30 yards for the score to tie the game.
For the complete story and additional photos, pick up Decorah Newspapers at one of the many convenient locations throughout Decorah and Winneshiek County. Or, for 34 cents an issue, subscribe to Decorah Newspapers by calling (563) 382-4221.