Lone Tree falls to Moravia in first-round of the playoffs

By TJ Rhodes
Posted 10/20/23

The Lone Tree Lions season came to a close after a first-round playoff loss to the Moravia Mohawks, 45-33. This dropped the Lions season record to 6-3 where Moravia rises to 8-2.

The Lions were …

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Lone Tree falls to Moravia in first-round of the playoffs



The Lone Tree Lions season came to a close after a first-round playoff loss to the Moravia Mohawks, 45-33. This dropped the Lions season record to 6-3 where Moravia rose to 8-2.

The Lions were in the game from the start, setting the tempo by taking the first offensive snap to the house, a 65-yard Maddox Jondle touchdown run.

After a successful Jader Sanchez PAT, the Lions had the early 7-0 lead and all of the momentum.

“[I] thought we got off to a good start, like we wanted to,” head coach Joe Donovan said. “I was really proud of the kids. I thought offensively, we executed some things well, and [did] some things that we thought we could take advantage of.”

The Mohawks would overtake the lead on their next drive, but Lone Tree was not done. They followed suit with a nice touchdown drive capped off by senior Ethan Bockelman stepping up in the pocket to find Jondle streaking down the sideline.

A perfect pass saw Jondle reach over his head to secure a one-handed grab and waltz into the endzone untouched for a 16-yard touchdown.

This gave the Lions a 13-8 lead exiting the first quarter.

The Lions have been a predominantly rushing force throughout the season. But in this one, the Lions lit it up through the air. Bockelman, the senior, was poised in the pocket, not afraid to make the big throw and run if the pocket collapsed.

Bockelman finished with 175 yards through the air, a season high, and three touchdown passes which was his most since the team beat Midland on Sept. 8. 

Jondle had a touchdown pass of his own to junior Brody Magruder, the result of a trick play. Magruder finished with three catches for 54 yards, the leading receiver of the game.

“We threw the ball well last year, so it wasn’t something that we didn’t think we couldn’t do. But we thought after the Central City game, we really emphasized that we just got to execute it better and we got to work on route running to get open,” Donovan said. 

“After we saw [Moravia’s] last game, we saw some things we thought we could take advantage of. I was kind of wondering if this was a night we kind of break out of it and we kind of did. I tell the kids all the time, this game is about making plays and tonight, we made some nice plays, we just didn’t make enough.”

Entering halftime, the score was 22-19, well within Lone Tree’s reach. Moravia switched their approach on offense in the second half to grind out yardage on long drives to end the game and secure a second-round visit.

And Moravia did just that, grinding out a 23-14 half to win the game 45-33. Moravia quarterback Shane Helmick made things difficult for the Lions.

“[Shane’s] a big kid, runs hard and in his length, he’s 6-foot-2. When you got to get three yards and he can lean forward and get two or three just by falling forward, he’s a good player,” Donovan said. “We just couldn’t get off the field at times and that, to me, was a difference.”

Senior leadership

The Lions had their most successful season since 2017 when they went 8-3. With the season ending comes the realization of senior talent exiting the program. Seven seniors will leave, and they take with them their leadership.

“It’s going to be a big loss, they work hard. They’re the leaders this year and they bought in so when your upperclassmen are buying in, the underclassmen got to buy in to,” Donovan said. “When you know them personally like we do, and you just get to see them grow from year to year [and] from the beginning of season to the end of the season. I’ve talked to them several times this year about growing up to be men, and I think that process is starting and it’s kind of neat to watch them grow.”

The senior class includes Bockelman, the team’s leading passer (712), rusher (1,050) and scorer (12 through the air and 19 on the ground). 

Senior Jader Sanchez gave the Lions a reliable leg for PATs and kickoffs while providing a steady presence on defense with 34.5 tackles.

Senior Harry Brenneman who had 29 tackles on the season and switched positions to play on the defensive line when the need arose.

Senior Cole Abbott provided a steady stream of pitches from the center position and a stern block.

Other seniors leaving the program are Dominic Graap, Trent Hoback and Lucas Forbes.

Donovan hopes that this year’s success helps the program grow in the future.



MORAVIA        8   14   8   15   45

LONE TREE   13    6    6    8    33


LT: Maddox Jondle 65 rush, 11:47 1st (Jader Sanchez PAT)

M: Declan DeJong 23 rush, 7:28 1st (Shane Helmick 2pt rush)

LT: Jondle 16 pass from Ethan Bockelman, 3:09 1st (2pt no good)

M: Helmick 12 rush, 10:51 2nd (Wyatt Throckmorton from Helmich)

M: DeJong 43 pass from Helmick, 7:34 2nd (PAT no good)

LT: Brody Magruder 9 pass from Jondle, :42 2nd (2pt no good)

M: Isaac Messamaker 2 rush, 6:13 3rd (Jackson McDanel 2pt rush)

LT Jondle 22 pass from Bockelman, 1:56 3rd (2pt no good)

M: Helmick 45 rush, 11:47 4th (Throckmorton from Helmick)   

M: Throckmorton 8 pass from Helmick, 4:55 4th (PAT good)

LT: Emmett Burke 23 pass from Bockelman, 3:07 4th (Jondle from Bockelman)

PASSING: Moravia: Shane Helmick 8-12-147, 2 TD. Lone Tree: Ethan Bockelman 10-16-175, 3 TD.

RUSHING: Moravia: Helmick 19-131, 2 TD; Jackson McDanel 12-83. Lone Tree: Maddox Jondle 7-72, 1 TD; Bockelman 13-62.

RECEIVING: Moravia: Wyatt Throckmorton 4-79, 1 TD; Declan DeJong 3-66, 1 TD. Lone Tree: Jondle 4-50, 2 TD; Brody Magruder 3-54, 1 TD; Emmett Burke 2-48, 1 TD.

LEADING TACKLERS: Lone Tree: Jack Patterson 9.5; Jondle 9.5; Magruder 9.5; Burke 8.

Lone Tree, Lions, Iowa, high school, Moravia, Mohawks, football