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It was a festive atmosphere on a beautiful late summer evening at Mason City High School. The crowd was excited, and the band played cheerful music.

The excitement of the home opener soon gave way to the realities of a young, rebuilding football team, as the Mohawks fell to Waterloo West by a score of 54-13. But in the end, there were things to be hopeful for. 

The Wahawks struck early, scoring their first touchdown on a 28-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Carter Maske early in the first quarter, to take a 7-0 lead. 

Later in the first, the crowd erupted as Mason City wide receiver Carter Thomas dove for the end zone, and scored the Mohawks' first touchdown of the season. The team then attempted an unsuccessful two-point conversion, and the first quarter ended with Mason City trailing by a 7-6 score. 

With 7:18 left in the second quarter, the Wahawks pulled off a quarterback sneak to go up by a touchdown, and two minutes later, running back Isaac Tolbert ran for a 46 yard touchdown, and West led, 20-6. 

Nine minutes later, Tolbert ran the ball 46 yards for yet another score, and the Wahawks went into halftime with a 27-6 lead. 

The Wahawks got the ball to start the second quarter, and scored quickly. The kick returner ran the ball back to the Mohawks' 46, and the Wahawks scored on yet another touchdown run, to take a 33-6 lead. 

But the Mohawks showed a bit of life in the third quarter. After a Mason City punt, Waterloo West drove the ball downfield, and had a first and goal at the six yard line. Mason City held their ground, and denied the Wahawks on fourth-and 1 to take over on downs at the one. 

Mason City sophomore quarterback James Jennings then threw an 89-yard pass to Thomas to set up first-and-10 at the 11. On fourth down, Jennings threw a touchdown pass to sophomore Taylor Worple, and the score was 33-13 in favor or Waterloo West. 

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After that play, the game was all Wahawks. Tolbert ran wild, rushing for two more touchdowns, and finishing with more than 340 yards on the ground. 

After the 65-0 drubbing last week at the hand of Fort Dodge, the game was at least a step forward. Jennings, who threw for one total yard against the Dodgers, threw two touchdown passes against the Wahawks, but also threw two interceptions. 

"Definitely not the end result we wanted," head coach Brandon Krusey said. "We hoped to play a lot tighter ballgame than that. Overall though, I thought we improved."

For the Mohawks, it was a night full of both disappointment and hope. In the post-game team huddle, Krusey seemed upbeat. His players were quiet, ready to retreat to the locker room after another tough game. But the coach was encouraged by what he saw. 

"We still have a whole long ways to go, but I told the guys too, we were at least respectable," Krusey said. "We took a step. Lots of things to clean up, lots of things to work on, but we took a lot more positives out of it than we did last week."

The Mohawks will play at home next Friday, against Marshalltown. 

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