Prep Football

1A No. 3 West Branch goes over the top to hold off Williamsburg

Junior quarterback Gavin Hierseman throws for 241 yards and 3 TDs for undefeated Bears in 39-33 win

West Branch’s Trey Eagle (2) celebrates as he scores a touchdown during a game last season. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
West Branch’s Trey Eagle (2) celebrates as he scores a touchdown during a game last season. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)

WILLIAMSBURG — The schedule-makers did West Branch football no favors this year.

The Class 1A No. 3 Bears had two 2A teams on their non-district schedule that are ranked in some state polls, plus a 1A playoff-caliber Wapello squad.

All have been vanquished.

“The thing I like about this team is they are resilient,” longtime West Branch Coach Butch Pedersen said after the Bears held off Williamsburg, 39-33, in a non-district prep football game Friday night at Bob Murphy Stadium. “They don’t panic when they have some things go against them.”

West Branch (3-0) received a breakout game from junior quarterback Gavin Hierseman. After throwing for 200 combined yards in wins over West Liberty and Wapello, the first-year signal caller completed 12 of 21 passes for 241 yards and three touchdowns with one interception against the Raiders.

“It felt good,” Hierseman said. “Last week, our offense didn’t come out very well. This week, we came off right from the get-go.”

The Bears dominated their way to a 32-13 halftime lead, but Williamsburg (2-1) managed to stay in the game with its special teams. Williamsburg senior Austin Burns posted kickoff return touchdowns of 85 and 77 yards in the first half, while a third Raiders touchdown was set up by a 73-yard punt return by senior Kaden Wetjen.

“We do have to make some changes,” Pedersen said. “Our special teams were very poor, and they are going to have to get better.”

The first decent Williamsburg offensive drive of the game ended with an 8-yard TD run by tailback Riley Holt that pulled the Raiders within 32-27 with 10:03 to go.

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But Hierseman had the answer. His 54-yard TD strike to senior receiver Trey Eagle gave the Bears some breathing room less than two minutes later.

“My dad, Coach (John Hierseman) called the play because they kept biting up on it,” Hierseman said. “So we knew that Trey could outrun that guy, so I just chucked it up to him, made a great catch and just ran it for a touchdown. That is all I had to do.”

It was the Bears' only score of the second half.

Eagle finished with two TD receptions and also recorded a short interception return for a TD in the first half, while all-state tailback Tanner Lukavsky had a rushing TD and a receiving TD.

Prep football

Class 1A No. 3 West Branch 39, 2A RV Williamsburg 33

AT WILLIAMSBURG

Williamsburg 0 13 7 13—33

West Branch 10 22 0 7—39

WB — FG Cael Fiderlein 25

WB — Tanner Lukavsky 22 pass from Gavin Hierseman (Cael Fiderlein kick)

WB — Trey Eagle 6 interception return (Cael Fiderlein kick)

WIL — Austin Burns 85 kickoff return (kick missed)

WB — Tanner Lukavsky 3 run (Trey Eagle pass from Gavin Hierseman)

WIL — Austin Burns 77 kickoff return (Kadince Kuesel kick)

WB — Trey Eagle 19 pass from Gavin Hierseman (Cael Fiderlein kick)

WIL — Brody Wardenburg 2 run (Kadince Kuesel kick)

WB — Riley Holt 8 run (Cael Fiderlein kick)

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WB — Trey Eagle 54 pass from Gavin Hierseman (Cael Fiderlein kick)

WIL — Kaden Wetjen 14 pass from Brody Wardenburg (kick missed)

 

RUSHING — West Branch: Tanner Lukavsky 20-88, Gavin Hierseman 15-17, Dakota Kaalberg 2-(-2), Wyatt Goodale 4-33; Williamsburg: Austin Burns 5-1, Kaden Wetjen 1-(-5), Riley Holt 7-29, Brody Wardenburg 10-(-14).

PASSING — West Branch: Gavin Hierseman 12-21-1-241; Williamsburg: Brody Wardenburg 8-27-1-105.

RECEIVING — West Branch: Trey Eagle 3-89, Tanner Lukavsky 3-49, Wyatt Goodale 5-86, Kaleb Sexton 1-17; Williamsburg: Kaden Wetjen 4-45, Austin Burns 2-22, Alex Redden 1-13, Draven Williams 1-25.

Comments: douglas.miles@thegazette.com

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