GREENFIELD — There was plenty of positive energy shown by the young Nodaway Valley football team in Taylor Ashman's coaching debut Friday, but mistakes were costly in a 36-0 loss to Mount Ayr.
"I think we came out ready to go," Ashman said. "The guys have worked really hard. They gave great effort. We just had a lot of little things today that caused us problems. Mount Ayr is a good football team with great tradition and great coaching. We like playing teams like that because moving forward it makes us better."
The Raiders retained the Battle for the Rock trophy for the seventh straight time. The traveling trophy has been at stake since 2012 between these two traditional rivals, in honor of longtime head coaches Bob Daut of Greenfield and Dave Still of Mount Ayr. At halftime, Daut's playoff teams from 1978 and 1981 were honored. The 1981 team was state runner-up, with a 7-0 loss to Dike-New Hartford in the championship game at the UNI-Dome.
Mount Ayr got on the scoreboard first with 3:19 left in the opening quarter on the first of two touchdown passes from sophomore quarterback Payton Weehler to rangy receiver Dawson Frost on a fade route to the right corner of the end zone.
On the next possession, mistakes began to plague the Wolverines as a procedure penalty on fourth-and-one prompted Ashman to punt instead of going for it. The punt snap sailed over the head of punter Brady Hilpipre, who came up short of the first down with a 2-yard gain after retrieving the loose ball.
Weehler ran around the right side for a 37-yard touchdown on the next play to give the Raiders a 14-0 lead late in the first quarter.
Mount Ayr's Erik Trujillo raced downfield and recovered a fumbled punt after the Wolverines had a defensive stop. That set up a 31-yard scoring drive by the Raiders, capped by Keelan Klommhaus's 11-yard run for a 21-0 lead.
Austin Wilson's plunge on fourth-and-one was stopped just short of a first down at the Wolverine 31-yard-line with 5:16 left in the half. Kolben Klommhaus cut back for a big 30-yard pickup on the first play for Mount Ayr, and Weehler followed with a 1-yard dive into the end zone. A two-point pass made it 29-0.
Nodaway Valley had passing gains of 19 yards and 22 yards on the next possession on catches by Aryll Shantz and Hilpipre. The drive stalled at the Raider 32, however, as quarterback Tyler Vandewater was stuffed for a loss on fourth-and-five.
A pass interference penalty against Nodaway Valley set up the Raiders' final scoring play with just seven seconds left in the half as Weehler rolled out to his right and found Frost open on a deep route for a 31-yard scoring strike. The extra-point kick was the final scoring play of the game as the second half went scoreless under the state's 35-point running clock rule.
"Dropped passes, fumbled punts, lining up wrong and giving up big plays when we had them in third and long or fourth down," Ashman said. "A lot of little things when we had chances to change the momentum our way. I'd like to think we're capable of playing right with them, but we have to play better fundamental football."
Wilson led the Wolverines with 21 yards rushing on three carries, two catches for 22 yards and a team-high six tackles. Vandewater had five completions for 65 yards, with at least two other potential big gains for first downs dropped by open receivers.
"I was proud of the effort, but we have a lot of work to do," Ashman said. "We'll get back after it this week and try to do the little things better. We'll keep the expectations high and try to be optimistic."
The Wolverines travel to Osceola Clarke, which ended a long losing skid Friday with a 45-0 victory at Martensdale-St. Marys.
Mount Ayr 36, Nodaway Valley 0
MA 14 22 0 0 - 36
NV 0 0 0 0 - 0
MA — Dawson Frost 7 pass from Payton Weehler (Myles Greene kick), 3:19
MA — Weehler 37 run (Greene kick), :06
MA — Keelan Klommhaus 11 run (Greene kick), 7:27
MA — Weehler 1 run (Cade Clymer pass from Cayden Lambert), 3:53
MA — Frost 31 pass from Weehler (Greene kick), :07
Rushing: MA - Keelan Klommhaus 6-43, Payton Weehler 6-28, Kolben Klommhaus 3-31, Reas Knapp 4-25, Isaac Grose 2-12, Seth Shelman 1-11, Hunter Arends 2-9, Dawson Swank 1-6. NV - Austin Wilson 3-21, Tyler Vandewater 7-17, Tony Ayase 9-12.
Passing: MA - Weehler 7-11-0 for 70 yards, Myles Greene 2-6-0 for 14 yards. NV - Vandewater 5-17-0 for 65 yards.
Receiving: MA - Dawson Frost 4-54, Grose 2-8, Kolben Klommhaus 1-8, Nathan Hauge 1-7, Connor Eaton 1-7. NV - Wilson 2-22, Brady Hilpipre 1-22, Aryll Shantz 1-16, Clay Hohertz 1-5.
Tackles (solo-assists): MA - Weehler 5-5, Knapp 3-6, Keelan Klommhaus 2-2, Rhett Larson 2-2, John Shields 2-2, Grose 2-1. NV - Austin Wilson 6.0, Clay Hohertz 5-0, Ayase 4-0, Hunter Ernst 4-0, Hilpipre 3.0, Caelen Devault 3.0.
Tackles for loss: MA - Shields 2.
Quarterback sacks: MA - Grose 2, Jacob Haveland 1.
Fumble recoveries: MA - Erik Trujillo 2.