Drew Schwartz led the receivers with three catches for 49 yards. (Photos by Jennifer Bissell)
For the first time in four years, the Class 3A No. 1 Decorah football team (9-0, 6-0) finished the regular season undefeated after walloping Epworth (Western Dubuque) 37-14 Friday night at home.
The Vikes claimed the District 5 title outright and earned the No. 1 seed in the district. It's the 27th district title in school history and eighth of the Bill Post head coaching era. The Vikes have advanced to the state tournament 20 times in school history.
Last year the Vikes finished second in Class 3A for the fourth time in school history. They've won the title four times, most recently in 1989.
Decorah faces Maquoketa (5-4) in the first round of the playoffs Wednesday, Oct. 24, at home at 7 p.m. The winner faces the winner of No. 14 Solon (7-2) and Crestwood (4-5) Monday, Oct. 29.
This is the first time since the 2008 state runner-up season the Vikes have gone undefeated.
"I felt we had the chance to do it (go undefeated). I felt pretty comfortable if we could execute things well we could," said Head Coach Bill Post. "There are always those intangibles like injuries, fumbles, weather conditions, sickness, all things that can pop up through the course of the year that can change the complexion of the season. Based on those, I always felt we had a good opportunity to go undefeated."
Friday took a while for the Vikings to get going. Both teams had a three and out to start the game. On Decorah's second possession, the Vikes drove 76 yards in 12 plays and capped the drive with a Josh Lee 30-yard field goal. That was the way the quarter finished. In that quarter, the Vikes possessed the ball 9:03 while Epworth had it just 2:57.
The Vikings broke the game open in the second. Starting with a Josey Jewell 42-yard punt return, the Vikes needed just three plays to go 29 yards. Following a Holt Johansen 16-yard rush, quarterback Jacob Kvale went 2 yards for the score to make it 10-0 after the Lee kick.