Ankeny rides the ‘gun’ to a 6-0 start

Joel Lanning in action against Indianola. (DM Register photo)

Ask Jerry Pezzetti to pick ten of the best 352 coaching wins in his career is like asking someone to pick a favorite among their of their children.

“They are were special and memorable,” said Pezzetti earlier this week. The Ankeny football head coach says there’s a strand of hard work and determination in all of those wins spread over 50 years of coaching.

But the game does evolve. Just like offenses.

Gone is the constant, where-is-the-ball running style and here is a shot-gun approach to offense. As Coach Pezzetti says, you want the ball in your best players hands as often as possible.

Who could blame him? Joel Lanning has done everything coaches ask. He’s a threat to throw the ball and run it. More accurately, run you over. Through six games, Lanning is 43-74-700 yards passing with 0 interceptions and 6 touchdowns. His rushing line is 64 carries for 353 yards and 2 TDs which if 1/4 of the team’s 1436 rushing yards and second best on the team.

The Hawks are 6-0 while the Maroons are 4-2.

The Hawks’ leading rusher is Trever Egli. The senior has 51 carries for 462 yards. Ryan Wendt has 20 rushes for 170 yards.

Ankeny's Marshall Clark tries to catch a pass as SE Polk's Brandon VanHeeswyk and Jordan Coates defend in the second quarter during their game in Ankeny Friday night. Clark was unable to make the catch. (Justin Hayworth/The Des Moines Register)

The passing target is Marshall Clark, a sophomore with 16 catches worth 264 yards, 4 TDs and a season-long of 47 yards. The biggest passing play of the season was to Cole Meyers who has a 75 TD in his scrapbook to pump his season total to 112 yards and 5 catches. RB Trevor Egli and TE Drew Lindamen also catch passes in the offense.

The defense has carried the team this season allowing only 6 points per game versus the 35.5 points per game the offense is scoring. They also had the majority of the returning players including key positions in the linebacking corps and secondary. Jorden Studer and Ty Ash are back. The duo lead the team in tackles with 47 each. The Hawks will play 5 up front. Coach Pezzetti says this defense has played well. They may be small, he says, but they do what is asked of them by the coaching staff. Drew Carlson and Jordan Bauer also have significant amounts of tackles for the Hawks.

The secondary features twins Cole and Cory Meyers. The duo also are basketball players who have already committed to play that sport at Truman State.

Turnovers forced against Urbandale lead to 3 touchdowns in the first half for the Hawks, but after that, the offense was hard-pressed to move forward. They J-Hawks took control of the second half, forcing Ankeny to punt on nearly every second-half possession. Urbandale outgained Ankeny by a 333-187 margin.

Ankeny lost both meetings with Dowling Catholic last season. One was a lopsided affair, but the other was a great, football game in the semi-finals of last year’s playoffs.

These teams are different. So are the Maroons. Standout receiver Amara Darboh was injured in the game’s 3rd play of the game in a 27-9 loss to Southeast Polk. What will the game-plan look like in trying to stop the Maroons?

Coach Pezzetti says it doesn’t matter who plays, the Maroons are always good and always ready to play the game. He’s reminded his players that the Maroon sophomore program was undefeated without Darboh, so the remaining players know how to win.

This is homecoming for the Maroons. The game will be at the great venue for HS sports, Drake Stadium. Our pregame show begins at 6 on 1150 KWKY, KWKY.com and back for a home game DowlingWebCasting.com

We’ve got some fun things cooked up for this game, including right off the bat for the newest member of the Hall of Fame, Mr. Mark Amadeo.

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