SIOUX CITY - Starting off the season with a pair of deflating setbacks can be the ultimate test of a football team's character.
Fort Dodge will now have an opportunity to show its resiliency after dropping a 48-7 decision to Sioux City East Friday night at Olsen Stadium.
Unable to contain the explosive Black Raider offensive attack, the Dodgers (0-2 overall) spotted the home squad a 14-point halftime advantage and failed to recover.
"The bottom line is we've got to make some changes, and we've got to make them fast," FDSH head coach Matt Miller said. "We're not at the point where we need to push the panic button yet, but there has to be a lot of concern.
"We all have to find a way to get on the same page."
After East broke through on its opening possession of the evening, the Dodgers eventually knotted the game on the first play of the second quarter, when junior Andrew Stover connected with senior Tommy Halligan on a 21-yard touchdown pass, capping a crisp six-play, 74-yard march.
From there, the Black Raiders seized control and held Fort Dodge in check the rest of the contest.
East actually found paydirt twice in the final 2:16 before the intermission, including a back-breaking 48-yard endzone strike - off a fly route down the left sideline - from Taylor DeLaughter to Dom Thompson-Williams.
"We played pretty good for the first 22 minutes, but when one thing bad happened, we never responded," Miller said. "You just can't let one or two plays define the whole game.
"Somewhere along the line, we needed someone to step up and make a play for us."
Any potential Dodger comeback hopes likely ended right after the break, when the Black Raiders chewed up over five minutes with a methodical 17-play, 95-yard march.
Devon Kirby, a 165-pound junior, sparked the Dodgers offensively with 71 yards on 14 carries. Kirby's best run came on a 22-yard dash in the first period.
Sophomore Austin Halligan added 57 yards on eight totes for FDSH. Halligan contributed two first-downs on fake punts, including a 38-yard jaunt in the second half.
The Dodgers, who committed four turnovers, were outgained by East in total yardage, 451-269.
Defensively, Fort Dodge received an interception from senior cornerback Wesley Castro.
"I thought we tackled pretty good a week ago, but (last night) we struggled," Miller said. "Credit (the Black Raider) skill kids and all their speed."
Greg Kirwan sparked the Black Raider ground charge with 118 yards and two scores on 20 attempts. Thompson-Williams was the top receiver for East with eight catches for 130 yards and a pair of scores.
Looking to right the ship, the Dodgers welcome Marshalltown (1-2) next Friday. The Bobcats suffered a 49-35 loss to Waukee last night.