116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — When you’re a coach whose teams are so accustomed to winning, you’re caught off guard sometimes when they don’t.
“I was stunned the way it started,” Waukon’s Chad Beermann said of this 2022 season.
The Indians lost their first three games: to Waverly-Shell Rock, Decorah and Crestwood. They haven’t lost three games in a season since finishing 6-3 in 2016.
Waukon has had one losing season since 2012. It has made it to the state playoff semifinals every year since 2017, including winning two championships.
To start off 0-3? Beermann wasn’t the only one who was stunned.
“It was frustrating because we knew it really wasn’t a talent issue,” Beermann said. “We had most of our offensive line back, had our quarterback back. For whatever reason, we just weren’t syncing up, and that was one of the big focuses. To work as a team and stay together as a team when things were bad because we could get things turned around.”
Things have gotten turned around. Waukon smacked Class 2A seventh-ranked Dubuque Wahlert, 28-6, Friday night at Dubuque’s Rock Bowl, and the Indians are suddenly back even at 3-3.
Most importantly, they’re 3-0 in District 4 and heavy favorites to win their final two regular-season games and get back to the postseason, where they always seem to do a lot of damage.
“They kept working, and I have an outstanding staff who kept coaching them up,” Beermann said. “When district rolled around, we pointed out that we’re 0-3, but that doesn’t impact the district. We’re still looking for our fifth consecutive district title. Just get into the playoffs, and see what happens.”
Waukon’s turnaround began with a 45-23 win over North Fayette Valley and continued with a 49-0 shellacking of Oelwein last week. Quarterback Noah Hatlan passed and rushed for 266 yards and three touchdowns against Wahlert (4-2, 2-1).
“When I was at Valley (Elgin), we always talked about holistic football, where it was everything,” Beermann said of the Wahlert win. “Keeping the ball away from them (was big). Our first drive was 7 1/2 minutes, and we scored. Wahlert’s got some really good athletes, and we didn’t want to give them any more opportunities than we did.”
Hatlan led Waukon to the 2A semifinals last season, where it lost to Southeast Valley. Beermann said the continued improvement of his line has allowed Hatlan more time and space to make plays for the offense.
Corbyn Palmer has 538 yards rushing and seven touchdowns for the Indians. Nash Pearson has 38 catches, including a pair of TDs.
“We have a big group of seniors who have had a lot of success, so we kind of rallied around that point, too,” Beermann said. “They’ve been there, and if we could just get everything synced up, we’d be fine.”
Looks like they’re just fine now.
This and that
— East Buchanan did what East Buchanan does Friday night in a 44-13 win over Bellevue. The Class A eighth-ranked Bucs rushed for 459 yards, getting 217 on just 11 carries by Hunter Bowers and Tanner Thurn 158 on 20 carries. Each had two touchdowns.
— Class 4A third-ranked Cedar Rapids Xavier posted its third consecutive shutout in a 47-0 win over Pella at Saints Field. Xavier (6-0) has allowed 28 points this season: 14 in the opener against Western Dubuque and seven points each to West Delaware and Dubuque Wahlert.
— Drake Gelhaus rushed a whopping 38 times for 184 yards and two touchdowns as Cedar Falls upset Class 5A fifth-ranked Cedar Rapids Kennedy, 23-16, at the UNI-Dome. CF surprised Kennedy with a lot of unbalanced offensive line. The Tigers also forced four Kennedy turnovers, including three interceptions.
— Quarterback Mason Neighbor threw for 245 yards and four touchdowns in Alburnett’s 44-0 win over North Cedar. Neighbor completed 10 of 12 passes. Grayson Carolan had TD catches of 71 and 34 yards for the Class A 10th-ranked Pirates (5-1).
– Aiden Klostermann rushed 11 times for 194 yards and three touchdowns as Central City beat Springville, 65-13, in the Tractor Bowl game at Springville. Klostermann also had a touchdown pass for the Wildcats (5-1), who have clinched an 8-Player playoff spot.
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