ANKENY - Fort Dodge experienced first-hand just how explosive the top-ranked Ankeny football team can be Friday.
Fighting an uphill climb from the start, the Dodgers (2-6 overall,1-3 Class 4A, Division 2) simply had no answers to contain the unbeaten Hawks, dropping a 55-8 decision at rain-soaked Ankeny Stadium.
"I was proud of how our guys came out and fought hard (last evening)," FDSH head coach Matt Miller said. "Ankeny is every bit as good as advertised. (AHS Hall of Fame) Coach (Jerry) Pezzetti does an excellent job with those guys. With (the Hawks) being in our division now, I wish them nothing but the best the rest of the year."
In a game that featured a 30-minute lightning delay midway through the opening quarter, the Dodgers watched the Hawks (8-0, 4-0) gain control early with a six-play, 51-yard touchdown march on their initial possession, capped by a two-yard run from Iowa State recruit Joel Lanning.
Fort Dodge later looked to have deadlocked the contest on an apparent 11-yard scoring dash from junior quarterback Andrew Stover, however, a costly holding penalty nullified the play. The Dodgers eventually came up empty-handed on that same drive after a potential 37-yard field goal clanked off the crossbar.
With the all the momentum swinging back to the home team, Ankeny pulled away by finding paydirt three more times before the break. Five of the Hawk scoring drives on the night were five plays or less.
Passing Yards 187 77
Total Offense 241 481
Punts-Avg. 6-31.3 2-51.0
Fumbles-Lost 1-0 1-1
Penalties-Yards 6-45 5-40
Fort Dodge00 80-8
Ankeny 7 21 13 14-55
Ankeny - Joel Lanning (2-yard run), 9:37 left first. Zach Halder kick.
Ankeny - Stephen Goforth (60-yard run), 5:59 left second. Halder kick.
Ankeny - Ian Begg (64-yard pass from Lanning), 3:58 left second. Halder kick.
Ankeny - Begg (6-yard run), 3:10 left second. Halder kick.
Ankeny - Lanning (14-yard run), 9:40 left third. Kick blocked.
Ankeny - Begg (20-yard run), 6:37 left third. Heath Naylor kick.
Fort Dodge - Tyler Vaughn (26-yard pass from Andrew Stover), 2:43 left third. Tommy Halligan pass from Stover.
Ankeny - Brent Jones (1-yard run), 10:59 left fourth. Naylor kick.
Ankeny - Bryce Evans (59-yard run), 7:20 left fourth. Naylor kick.
Rushing - Fort Dodge: Jerique Bryson 7-41, Austin Halligan 6-12, Austin Anderson 2-8, Keegan Jones 1-(minus-1), Andrew Stover 11-(minus-6). Ankeny: Ian Begg 11-151, Stephen Goforth 6-82, Bryce Evans 2-79, Sam Pickard 3-37, Joel Lanning 6-30, Garrett Aukes 1-23, Brent Jones 3-9, Drew Carlson 2-(minus-2), Team 1-(minus-2), Nathan Gust 1-(minus-3).
Passing - Fort Dodge: Stover 17-36-3-187. Ankeny: Lanning 3-9-0-66, Jones 1-2-0-11.
Receiving - Fort Dodge: Tyler Vaughn 13-157, Spencer Barber 1-17, Tommy Halligan 2-10, Jones 1-3. Ankeny: Begg 1-64, Marshall Clark 1-11, Pickard 2-2.
"No matter the sport, Lanning is such a great athlete, and he showed it again (Friday)," said Miller. "There's a reason why he's getting a full-ride scholarship to play football at Iowa State."
Stover finished 17 of 36 passing for 187 yards, including a 26-yard endzone strike to senior Tyler Vaughn with 2:43 remaining in the third. Stover now ranks fourth in school history in single-season passing yards with 1,486.
Vaughn also pulled down 13 catches for 157 yards. As a result, Vaughn established a new program mark for single-season receptions (54), eclipsing the previous record set just last year by former teammate Isaac Lehman.
Vaughn has registered 65 grabs for 885 yards in his career, trailing only Alonzo Clayton (69) for receptions.
"Our running game has been very inconsistent (the Dodgers were held to only 54 yards on 27 carries Friday), so we figured we'd have to move the ball through the air, which we were able to do at times," Miller said.
Linebacker Tyler Simpson and lineman Carlos Rocha each collected sacks for the Dodger defenive unit, which surrendered the state's highest-octane offense 481 yards of total offense.
Ian Begg sparked the Hawks with 151 yards rushing and a pair of touchdowns on only 11 attempts, while Stephen Goforth added 82 yards and a score on six totes.
Dodger senior linebacker Adrean Johnson was forced out of action early with a shoulder injury. Senior lineman Gavin Thomas (concussion) was also banged up.
"I was hoping we'd come out of a physical game like this healthy, but I'm not sure we did," said Miller.
With a playoff ticket on the line, Fort Dodge closes out its regular season Friday at Sioux City North (2-6, 1-3). The Stars, who are under the direction of former Eagle Grove head coach Shawn Meth, suffered a 55-29 setback to Ames last night.