Van Meter put the finishing touches on an undefeated regular season with a 28-0 victory over Des Moines Christian in Johnston on Oct. 25.
With the win, the Bulldogs completed their first undefeated season since 2001, and fifth in school history. Van Meter went undefeated in regular season play from 1994 to 1996.
“I think we’re very focused on our first-round opponent, Treynor,” said coach Eric Trudo, who has guided the Bulldogs to the playoffs for a school-record sixth consecutive season. “You can’t get too caught up in anything else right now. We’ll reflect on the accomplishments and the district wins when the season is complete, but hopefully we’re a long way from that being the case.”
Van Meter took an early lead against Des Moines Christian with an eight-play, 77-yard opening drive that culminated in an 11-yard rushing touchdown by Cody Blackwell. Logan Crawford added a rushing score early in the second, and Brandon Brittain threw two touchdown passes to Ben Flaherty at the end of the second and third quarters.
The Bulldogs rolled up 339 total yards of offense while limiting the Lions to just 89. Brittain was 14-of-24 passing for 131 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions, and also added 54 yards on the ground. Blackwell ran for 121 yards, averaging 5.3 yards per carry. Crawford caught five passes for 43 yards, and Flaherty had four catches for 21 yards.
Parker Suckow and Chase Wyant each had eight tackles. Spencer Benton had seven, including two sacks. Ben Trent had two interceptions and Grant Gordon added a third, while Brittain recovered a fumble.
The Bulldogs were to face fourth-seed Treynor on Wednesday at home.
“With the short turn-around in the playoffs, you don’t have time to focus on anything other than the next opponent,” Trudo said. “You try to focus on what you do well and try to stop what the other team does well.”
The winner will face either Panorama (7-2) Mount Ayr (7-2) in the second round on Nov. 4. If that’s the Bulldogs, they’ll have the luxury of playing another game in front of their home crowd.
“Some of the playoff travel can get pretty long, so I certainly think that’s an advantage,” Trudo said. “That’s one of the reasons why we focused on winning the district championship and getting that top seed, is giving us that home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.”
The Bulldogs beat Mount Ayr 14-0 on Oct. 4 in Van Meter. Brittain threw two touchdown passes and the defense forced five turnovers.
Van Meter beat Panorama 28-0 in the first round of the playoffs in 2012 before a season-ending loss to Council Bluffs St. Albert in the second round.