It was a defensive battle with an unlikely ending. The Dodge City Community College Conquistadors defense got tough against the Ellsworth Community College and held the Panthers to just 58 total yards and one score. The Conqs defense even scored with a safety. The defensive line had 14 tackles for a loss.
"The defense played good," said DCCC head football coach Ricky Coon. "They played hard and they were physical."
But the Panthers had some tough defense of their own going, and the Conqs left Iowa Falls on the short end of a 15-8 loss.
Losing a game with a defense that dominates the game, especially like this defense dominated, is a rare thing.
"I've never had that happen. We gave up just 58 yards and lost a game. But that's where we're at. We have a bunch of freshmen and have a lot of lessons to learn," Coon said. "You learn the most through failure. Never waste a failure. We have to use it and get better. We're playing the No. 2 team in the nation (Butler Community College)."
The Conqs offensive line played poorly and the Panthers defense did a fantastic job. Dodge outplayed them defensively, but at the end of they day, the team needed to be perfect.
"They had a good plan and we didn't handle it well," Coon said.
The game started on an optimistic note when Da'Quan Bailey-Brown got loose on the first Conqs possession and scored a touchdown. The team had not been consistent with PATs with just 50% accuracy so Coon selected to go for two because the Conqs have been successful on short point plays.
The Panthers stopped the play and that set the tone for the rest of the game.
"Our kicking game was not good," Coon said.
On Offense, the Conqs just didn't have a bright spot for the rest of the game. The team could only manage 150 total yards.
"At the end of the day, we just didn't get it done," said Coon whose team scored almost 30 points against Independence.
Its not that the Conqs can't score. They have scored first in every game this year and in two of three games, they have held the lead at half time.
The Conq defense was so dominate, Ellsworth didn't score until the fourth quarter and that was on a freak play. After a Conq punt, a Panther returner ran up, picked up the ball and scored a touchdown.
Coon said they were worried about the Ellsworth triple offense before the game. The Conqs worked hard, were physical and executed their plan. They controlled the line of scrimmage.
But the Panther defensive line also had a strong game and the Conqs just couldn't get anything going.
"There just wasn't any (offensive) bright spot in the this game," Coon said.
While they were successful on defense, Coon said they needed more energy from the sideline.
"At the end of the day, we didn't win the game. We were beat on two of our three phases," Coon said.
Things don't get any easier for the Conqs as they take on No. 2 in the nation Butler Community College Grizzlies at 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21, in El Dorado.
Against Butler, the Conqs will have to have better energy as a team, the offensive line will have to play better and the defense will have to continue to play well to have a chance, Coon said.