By Will Johnson, Sports Editor
Posted 11/17/21

Defense wins championships.

That old adage proved true Friday night for Nathan Cabot’s Owensville Dutchmen football team in the Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) …

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Defense wins championships.

That old adage proved true Friday night for Nathan Cabot’s Owensville Dutchmen football team in the Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) Class 3, District 4 championship game.

Welcoming Priory’s Ravens to Dutchmen Field, OHS greeted them with defensive pressure early and often.

Owensville used eight sacks, a fumble recovery and an interception to help them to their first district title on the gridiron since 2016 following a 40-26 victory over the visiting Ravens.

“We worked our tails off to get to this point and I could not be any more prouder of our boys,” Cabot said. “Our defense stepped up big time tonight to slow down a good Priory offense.”

Priory started the game with the football after OHS won the opening coin toss and deferred to the second half.

Five plays into the opening drive by the Ravens, the aforementioned Dutchmen defense struck first.

Raven quarterback Gerard Grewe completed a pass to James Wong off a deflection from Jahaad Fort.

OHS senior defensive back Derek Brandt then stripped the football from Wong only to have sophomore defensive back Tanner Meyer recover the fumble to set up the Dutchmen offense at the Raven 43-yard line with 10:19 for the opening quarter.

“When I saw the ball on the turf, I knew I had to do whatever it took to fall on it,” Meyer said.

Needing just four plays to turn the turnover into point, OHS’ offense went to the air faced with a third-and-seven.

Dutchmen senior quarterback Brendan Decker escaped trouble before finding Brandt on a 26-yard touchdown pass at the 8:24 mark of the first quarter.

Charlie Whelan’s extra point gave Owensville an early 7-0 lead.

Grewe provided an answer for Priory in the form of a 9-yard TD run nearly two minutes later.

Drew Steinhubl’s extra point hit the upright leaving the Dutchmen still in front 7-6 with 6:26 for the opening quarter.

Big plays were the story of Owensville’s next drive that started from their 35-yard line after Priory’s ensuing kickoff went out of bounds.

Decker started the drive with a 21-yard pass completion to Whelan moving OHS into Raven territory.

Two plays later, senior running back Austin Lowder scored the first of his four touchdowns from 30 yards away with 5:04 for the first period. Whelan’s kick gave the Dutchmen a 14-6 lead over Priory.

Lowder ended his night with a team-high 180 yards rushing on 20 carries and four touchdowns.

Suffering a knee injury in the second half of the regular-season finale against St. Clair, Dutchmen senior lineman Brent Helmig made his presence felt on the next Raven offensive possession.

Stopping Grewe for a four-yard loss, Helmig’s tackle-for-loss put the Ravens into a third-and-15 situation before having to punt it away after an incomplete pass on third down.

“Having Brent out there on the field tonight was amazing,” Cabot said. “He helps makes our defense go and gets the guys going.”

Helmig led the Dutchmen sack attack with two of them to go along with one each from Hunter Boyer, Eli Wilson, Alan Kopp, Crosby, Elliott and Lowder.

Starting their next drive near the midfield stripe, the Dutchmen offense had to overcome a pair of penalties before adding to their lead.

Flagged for an illegal shift and holding, Owensville quickly made up for it.

Facing second-and-nine at their 49, Decker connected with Brandt on a 30-yard pass play giving the Dutchmen a first down at the Raven 21-yard line.

Decker finished his night rushing for 104 yards on 11 carries to go along with 134 yards through the air on 9-11 passing.

On the very next play, Lowder took it to the house on a 21-yard TD run with 38.1 for the quarter. In spite of Whelan’s missed extra point, OHS led the Ravens 20-6 late in the first quarter.

Priory nearly ended the quarter with another score.

Grewe took off down the field for a 69-yard run before Brandt saved a touchdown on the last play of the opening quarter.

Brandt finished with 11 total tackles just behind Alan Kopp’s game-high 12 total tackles.

Two plays into the second quarter, Riad scored on a 2-yard TD run with 11:51 until halftime. Steinhubl’s kick cut the Dutchmen lead to 20-13 early in the second quarter.

Trading punts with Priory, Owensville appeared poised to put more points on the board near the midway point of the second quarter.

Decker took off on a long run before a fumble recovered by Raven defender TJ Soriano ended the latest Dutchmen drive at the Priory 17-yard line with 7:11 for the half.

Even though Priory chewed up over four minutes of clock, sacks by Garrett Crosby and Lowder led to a turnover-on-downs at the 2:50 mark of the second quarter.

Overcoming one turnover, the Dutchmen defense had to return to the field after a rare Decker interception nearly a minute later gave the Ravens the ball at the Owensville 15-yard line.

Holding Priory to three yards in four plays, the OHS defense forced another turnover-on-downs with 1:05 until halftime.

Two plays later, another Dutchmen fumble gave the Ravens a short field at the Owensville 14-yard line.

Three plays later, Grewe cashed in the turnover on a 1-yard TD run at the 26.6 mark of the quarter.

Steinhubl’s kick tied the game at 20-20 going into halftime.

Receiving the football to start the second half, Cabot’s Dutchmen took full advantage.

Staring at a second-and-17 at the Priory 23-yard line after a false start penalty, Decker found Whelan on a 21-yard completion setting up a first-and-goal at the 2-yard line.

Whelan caught three passes for 50 yards in addition to Brandt’s four catches for 72 yards.

Using his legs on the next play, Decker scored on a 2-yard TD run. Whelan’s kick with 7:41 for the third quarter put the Dutchmen back on top 27-20 over the Ravens.

After forcing a Priory punt three minutes later, the Dutchmen offense needed just two plays to add to their lead.

Lowder busted out a 60-yard run before scoring his third TD of the game on a 1-yard run with 4:27 for the third quarter. Whelan’s kick pushed the OHS lead to 34-20.

Leading 34-20 midway through the fourth quarter, Owensville forced another Priory turnover-on-downs setting up OHS’ final touchdown.

A Decker 57-yard run led to Lowder’s fourth rushing score of the game on a 6-yard TD run with 3:33 remaining giving the Dutchmen a 40-20 advantage.

Priory scored with 2:35 to go on a Grewe to Quentin Wilmes 32-yard TD pass. Steinhubl’s kick cut the OHS lead to 40-26.

Grewe led all running backs with 182 yards rushing on 25 carries for the visiting Ravens. He also recorded 172 yards through the air on 12-30 passing with a touchdown and an interception.

Jahaad Fort was Priory’s leading receiver catching eight passes for 84 yards.

Attempting an onside kick, a Raven football player touched the ball before it traveled 10 yards giving the football back to Owensville.

In spite of OHS turning the ball over on downs, the defense came through again on the next play.

A Brandt interception with 38.6 remaining enabled the Dutchmen offense to go into their victory formation.


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