New coach, new offense, better days at Alburnett

Football rewind: Nick Breuer is Pirates' fifth coach in four years

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On the surface, it seems like a puzzling succession of moves for a football coach.

From a Missouri Class 6A program in suburban Kansas City ... to Iowa 3A West Burlington-Notre Dame ... to Class A Alburnett.

Then you hear Nick Breuer’s motivation, and it becomes crystal clear.

It’s family. It’s Quinn.

“I get to see her every week now,” Breuer said of his 3-year-old daughter. “Even when I was in West Burlington, three hours was just too far away.”

Now 33, Breuer had a successful two-year stint at Clayton Ridge before being hired at a school in Lee’s Summit, Mo.

After he accepted, he found out was going to be a father. He wasn’t going to be an absentee father.

Quinn lives with her mother in Guttenberg, about an hour from Alburnett.

The fifth Alburnett head coach in four years, Breuer inherited a program that went 1-8 last year.

“What I noticed first is the school’s rich tradition in wrestling,” he said. “So I knew I was getting into kids that like to work. With the proximity to Cedar Rapids and the Linn-Mar area, I felt this is a melting pot just waiting to blow up.”

Last year, the Pirates ran a spread offense. This year, it’s the single wing.

“It fits the kids well,” Breuer said.

Tanner Sloan rushed for 282 yards and five touchdowns Friday as Alburnett dusted Starmont 55-12 at Arlington, improving to 4-1 overall (2-1 in Class A District 4).

Matt Barnett added 140 yards (on just four carries) and two rushing TDs, plus another score on a 68-yard screen pass.

“We’ve got good kids here,” Breuer said. “They’ve hit the weight room hard and made it a priority.

“The first practice, I thought, ‘My goodness, what have I gotten myself into?’ But they’ve bought in, and things have started clicking. There’s a lot of energy, and though this is the smallest school I’ve been at, this is the best staff I’ve worked with.”

The Pirates have a challenging stretch ahead. They host North Linn for homecoming next week, then it’s a road trip to East Buchanan and a home game with Lisbon.

PROLIFIC IN VICTORY ...

Austin Smith produced 494 yards of total offense and six total touchdowns as Midland rallied from a 21-point deficit to win an 8-Player District 4 contest at Iowa Valley, 56-49.

Quarterback Britan Martins left the game after suffering a leg injury on the second play of the game. Smith shifted to QB, rushed for 371 yards and passed for 123. He ran for five TDs, threw for one.

“We were getting our butts kicked,” Eagles Coach Casey Hack said. “We came back and got the job done. We knew we were going to have to win the game on the ground.”

Smith has rushed for 1,097 yards and 18 TDs in five games this season.

“He’s short and compact, and he’s lightning-quick,” Hack said.

Midland (4-1, 3-0) is averaging 58.8 points per game.

... PROLIFIC IN DEFEAT

Western Dubuque’s Drake George racked up 328 receiving yards — the second most in state history for a game — in a 55-41 loss to Pleasant Valley on Friday.

George had 14 catches and scored five touchdowns.

The state record is 340 yards, set by Logan Garrels of Des Moines Lincoln on Oct. 17, 2014.

Bobcats quarterback Quinn Baumhover threw for 445 yards.

l Comments: (319) 368-8857; jeff.linder@thegazette.com

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