Lisbon shuts out No. 10 Belle Plaine in Thursday night football opener

MOUNT VERNON — It wasn’t always pretty. There were too many penalties and some missed opportunities on offense.

But if the Lisbon Lions can keep playing defense like they did Thursday night, oh, man, look out. This team’s got a chance, as they say.

Lisbon held Class A No. 10-ranked Belle Plaine to 20 total yards and three first downs, two in the fourth quarter of a 20-0 win in a prep football opener played at Cornell College’s Ash Park.

“I was so impressed with how our kids played on the defensive end,” said Lisbon Coach Phil Whitman. “We knew coming in that we had all but one or two kids back on defense, but we (also) knew what we had to fill in.”

Lisbon simply smothered every single thing Belle Plaine tried to do in this one, winning the line of scrimmage and then some. Credit to the boys up front, for sure, as well as the linebacking trio of Cole Clark, Jamien Moore and Max Kohl.

Whitman called those guys the best linebacking corps he has seen in 19 years of coaching prep football. As a running back, Kohl’s two late touchdown runs put the game out of reach.

“Coming into Week 1, we knew it was all going to be different because of this whole COVID-19 thing,” said lineman Braxton Kurtenbach, who recovered a fumble, one of three turnovers Lisbon forced. “We knew we were going to have to come in and really work as a team, even though we’ve had to do all the social distancing. It was just going to be different, and we knew we had to play different than any other year. Being physical, being all up front and (getting) off the ball.”

Lisbon’s ‘D’ held Belle Plaine to minus-7 yards in the first half. Devyn Decious’ blocked punt in the end zone was recovered by teammate Braden Gladwin for the half’s lone touchdown, a Kaden Caspers 2-point run making it an 8-0 game at the break.

That’s the way things stayed. Belle Plaine still had negative total yardage until its defense came up with a fumble recovery in the fourth quarter that seemed to finally give its offense a spark.

A couple of first-down runs by Luke DeMeulenaere took the Plainsmen to the Lisbon 20, but a botched handoff ensued, with Lisbon’s Brant Baltes recovering.

“The ball was right there,” Baltes said. “I kind of saw it and dove on it. The cards fell in my favor there.”

Kohl had 97 yards rushing on 21 carries. Lisbon finished with 190 rushing yards, putting the game completely out of reach with a drive after Baltes’ fumble recovery that capped by a 13-yard Kohl TD run.

Will Bennett’s interception and return deep into Belle Plaine territory on the ensuing possession led to a 15-yard Kohl touchdown.

AT MOUNT VERNON (ASH PARK)

Belle Plaine 0 0 0 0 — 0

Lisbon 8 0 0 12 — 20

L—Braden Gladwin blocked punt recovery in end zone (Kaden Caspers run)

L—Max Kohl 13 run (pass failed)

L—Kohl 15 run (run failed)

TEAM STATISTICS

First Downs — Lisbon 12, Belle Plaine 3. Rushes-Yards — Belle Plaine 29-23, Lisbon 43-190. Passing Yards — Belle Plaine -3 (1-3-1), Lisbon 59 (6-12-0). Punts — Belle Plaine 6-26.7, Lisbon 4-36.5. Penalties — Belle Plaine 3-35, Lisbon 12-80. Fumbles-Lost — Belle Plaine 3-2, Lisbon 2-1.

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING — Belle Plaine: Luke DeMeulenaere 13-34, Jaxon Kressley 8-4, Connor Timm 2-1, Ben DeMeulenaere 6-(minus) 16. Lisbon: Max Kohl 21-97, Jamien Moore 8-27, Will Bennett 2-26, Gavin Woolum 8-24, Kaden Caspers 3-11, Devyn Decious 1-7, Team 2-(minus 4).

PASSING — Belle Plaine: Ben DeMeulenaere 1-3-1-(minus) 3. Lisbon: Gavin Woolum 6-12-0-59.

RECEIVING — Belle Plaine: Luke DeMeulenaere 1-(minus) 3. Lisbon: Cole Clark 3-21, Jamien Moore 1-20, Kole Becker 2-18.

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