116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Dyersville Beckman needed a win and its defense helped deliver it.
The Blazers knocked off defending state champion and fifth-ranked North Fayette Valley, 14-6, Friday night at home. Beckman improved to 2-1 in Class 2A District 3, bringing an end to a brief rough spell that resulted in two straight losses and three in their previous four games.
'I'm really proud of the kids,' Beckman Coach Jim Derr said. 'To come back, regroup and get refocused was huge.'
Defense was the key to holding North Fayette Valley to just one score, even though the Tigerhawks outgained Beckman in total yardage, 236-193. Derr knew they would have to rely on the defense, which was led by Ben Hageman's 11 ½ tackles. All-state linebacker Tyler Hirsch had 11 and Nicholas Fallon added 10.
It was a total team effort.
'Everybody who played defense contributed,' said Derr, who praised his lineman for overcoming the size disadvantage to a talented North Fayette Valley offensive front. 'We play a gap defense. Everybody has to do their job and they did.'
The biggest stop came after the lone touchdown it allowed in the fourth quarter. Beckman owned a lead from when Sam Stelken hit Cody Goedken for an 11-yard TD pass with 1:18 to go in the first half.
A failed punt gave the Tigerhawks the ball in Beckman territory and they capitalized with a Dillon Baumler 3-yard TD run in the first minute of the fourth.
The Blazers stiffened and stopped a two-point conversion to maintain a one-point lead before securing the win on Jacob Grover's 16-yard TD rush with 4:43 to play.
'They tried to run up the middle,' Derr said. 'We stuffed it. That was really a huge play in the game.'
The victory moves Beckman (3-3 overall) into postseason contention in a district loaded with top-10 caliber teams like North Fayette Valley, Waukon, Center Point-Urbana and New Hampton.
'Coming back and getting this win catapults is back into the district picture,' Derr said. 'There are five quality teams vying for four top spots.'
COMETS SNAP SKID
First-year West Liberty head coach Jason Iske didn't address the Comets long losing streak, but he said it lingered in the back of his players' minds.
Well, not anymore.
The Comets topped Louisa-Muscatine, 14-7, Friday night at home, snapping a 17-game skid and earning their first victory in almost two years.
'It was a great win for those guys,' Iske said. 'They put in a lot of hard work.'
West Liberty's last win was 48-14 victory against West Burlington-Notre Dame on Oct. 11, 2013. The Comets (1-5, 1-2 2A District 5) were ecstatic, especially since it was in front of the Homecoming crowd.
'They were going nuts,' said Iske, who postponed his postgame speech. 'I let them soak up the moment.'
The Comets took a 14-0 lead with a long run in the opening quarter and another TD in the second. Louisa-Muscatine answered with a score before halftime. The Comets defense managed a shutout in the second half and benefited from four turnovers in the game.
'Our Achilles heel all year has been giving up the big play,' Iske said. 'We didn't give up any all night.'
STINGY SOUTH TAMA AMONG PLAYOFF QUALIFIERS
South Tama continued its dominating defensive performance. The third-ranked Trojans posted its fifth straight shutout, blanking Roland-Story, 49-0, at Tama on Friday night.
South Tama has beaten its opponents by a combined total of 229-8, improving to 6-0 overall and 5-0 in Class 2A District 6. The Trojans have not allowed a point since a 38-8 opening-game win against Grinnell.
South Tama will travel to face No. 6 Williamsburg on Friday. Both are among 15 Eastern Iowa teams to already clinch a playoff berth. They are joined by Anamosa in the 2A playoff field.
Cedar Rapids Xavier can make plans for the postseason, improving to 4-0 in 3A District 4. Clear Creek Amana, Independence, West Delaware and Davenport Assumption are already in the 3A postseason.
In Class 4A, Pleasant Valley locked up a berth from District 7.
Defending state champion Iowa City Regina will go for a sixth straight title. Alburnett, West Branch and Wilton have also qualified in 1A.
Pekin and Winfield-Mount Union have earned spots in Class A.
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