Oct. 16—DES MOINES — Tanner Schark was faced with the prospect of leading the Ottumwa football team from two scores behind before he even took his first snap from center on Friday.
By the end of the night, Schark had found the end zone four times, including a one-yard sneak and two-point conversion run midway through the fourth quarter that held up as the deciding score for the Bulldogs. Carson Kenney officially clinched Ottumwa's second win of the season, defending a fourth-down pass with under two minutes left as OHS held on for a 36-28 win over Des Moines North at Grubb Stadium.
Nick Crispin scored a pair of touchdowns for Des Moines North, finishing off the opening drive of the game with a 30-yard touchdown run to give the Polar Bears a 6-0 lead. North (1-7) then surprised Ottumwa with an onside kick, recovering the ball just short of midfield before scoring on a 58-yard touchdown run giving the Polar Bears a 14-0 lead less than six minutes into the game.
Schark would lead Ottumwa down the field on the first Bulldog possession of the game, but could not produce points in the first quarter after failing to complete a fourth-down pass inside the North 15. Ottumwa's defense would rise to the challenge in the second quarter, forcing the first of North's three fumbles setting up the Bulldogs on the Polar Bear 35.
Mikey Cain would score his first touchdown of the season on a three-yard run set up by Abaya Selema's 40-yard dash down the field two plays after the OHS fumble recovery. Ottumwa would take advantage of another short field following a short punt by North as Schark set up his first touchdown run, coming from a yard out, by finding Selema on a key 15-yard fourth-down pass late in the first half tying that game at 14-14.
Schark would put Ottumwa on top for the first time, rushing for 23 yards early in the third quarter to help set up a tiebreaking two-yard quarterback keeper that put the Bulldogs up 21-14. North would fumble two plays later at their own 20, setting up a five-yard touchdown run by Schark that put Ottumwa ahead 28-14.
North overcame their third turnover of the game, stalling a drive inside the OHS 20, by finding the end zone on a 72-yard touchdown pass by Crispin to end the third quarter. Ottumwa would take advantage of a long kickoff return, driving for Schark's fourth score of the game giving the Bulldogs a 36-22 lead with 8:37 left.
The Polar Bears made one last run at Ottumwa, using a halfback pass hauled in by Alonzo Sanachit from 27 yards out on fourth down for a touchdown that brought North back within one possession with 2:40 left. North caught a break when Schark fumbled the quarterback exchange on Ottumwa's second play following a failed onside kick attempt by the Polar Bears, giving North a chance to force overtime before three straight incompletions following a one-yard loss on a first-down run ended North's comeback hopes.
Ottumwa (2-6) hosts Waterloo West on Friday to wrap up the 2021 football season.