Prep Football

Decorah strikes late again to top No. 6 West Delaware

Vikings earn third-straight thrilling win, 31-27

Decorah Vikings
Decorah Vikings

DECORAH — Briggs Duwe stepped to the huddle calm and confident.

Decorah’s senior quarterback reassured his teammates that they had a little more late-game magic to conjure up after opening the season with a pair of one-point victories.

“All of our games have come down to the last drive,” Duwe said. “The first thing I said when we got in the huddle was, ‘Hey, guys, relax. We’ve been here before.’ The last two games have been just like that and we did our thing. We got it done.”

Duwe orchestrated a 74-yard drive and hit Cael Luzum for an 11-yard touchdown pass with 1:19 left, lifting the Vikings to a 31-27 victory over sixth-ranked West Delaware in a Class 3A District 3 prep football opener Friday night at Viking Stadium.

Decorah captured its third straight thrilling win, eclipsing an 11-point second-half deficit.

“The kids just keep believing,” Decorah Coach Pat Trewin said. “They keep fighting. They work together. We put a lot of guys out there and a lot of guys go make plays.”

The Vikings (3-0, 1-0) started the decisive drive on their own 26 and melted almost three minutes off the clock. They mixed the run and pass effectively, starting with three 9-yard gains in the first four plays — a Duwe pass to Joseph Bockman and rushes from Luzum and Duwe to reach Hawks territory.

Decorah moved the chains twice on pass interference penalties, including one that made it first-and-10 at the 11. After an incompletion, Duwe hit Luzum on a little swing pass to the left and he slipped his way into the end zone.

“It was a good play call,” Duwe said. “He was wide open. I saw him and just got it to him.”

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Luzum led Decorah with 59 rushing yards, including a 2-yard TD run with 8:49 remaining to set up the late heroics.

Duwe finished with three touchdown passes. His 42-yard strike to a wide open Kody Bodensteiner pulled the Vikings within 21-18 with 4:30 left in the third.

He also connected with Bockman for a 9-yard score as Decorah built a 10-0 lead early in the second quarter. Duwe finished with 196 passing yards and was efficient with short passes, hitting Bockman nine times for 121 yards.

Trewin said Duwe has matured and improved each of the first three games this season.

“He’s just gritty. He’s not a real big guy. He does make some people miss but he’s an incredible competitor. We’ve got a lot of them.”

“He has confidence in his receivers,” Trewin said. “He knows what the scheme is and what we’re asking him to do. He goes out and made a lot of the right reads, getting it into people’s hands.

“That was a fun high school football game.”

West Delaware (3-1) overcame a slow start and seemed to be in control in the third. Jared Voss provided a huge spark that included touchdown runs on three straight possession that bracketed halftime.

Voss bolted for a 35-yard score to put the Hawks on the board in the second quarter, adding a 4-yard TD run and two-point conversion to give West Delaware a 14-10 lead at the break.

His 67-yard scamper in the third made it 21-10.

The Hawks couldn’t muster anything on their final drive, which ended with a Duwe interception. It spoiled the 248-yard rushing effort from Voss.

The victory was key for the Vikings’ district title hopes.

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“Our guys knew what was at stake,” Trewin said. “They knew this was going to be the first game toward a district title. We want a district title. Everybody wants some hardware.

“It was a great ball game. I’m very proud of our kids.”

Comments: (319) 368-8679; kj.pilcher@thegazette.com

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