SPORTS

West Branch rolls Tipton for Butch Pedersen's 300th win

Prep football: Bears roll up 367 first-half yards on their way to a 56-13 rout

WEST BRANCH — Butch Pedersen tossed and turned in bed Thursday night.

Not about an impending milestone. About the pregame coinflip.

“I was going back and forth on whether we should receive or defer,” Pedersen said. “I lost some sleep about it, then I turned on the TV and watched the Young and the Restless and it was better after that.”

As it turned out, it was all moot. Tipton won the coinflip, but that was about it.

Class 1A second-ranked West Branch romped to a 56-13 non-district football triumph Friday night at Oliphant Street Stadium, marking the 300th victory of Pedersen’s career.

“It’s an honor to be a part of it,” said Tanner Lukavsky, who scored four touchdowns. “It’s a family atmosphere here, and Coach is like a grandpa to me.”

Pedersen, 67, became the 13th coach in Iowa history to reach the 300-win plateau. He owns a 300-74 record in 35-plus seasons, good enough for an .802 winning percentage.

The first win, in 1983, came against Tipton.

Of the 12 coaches that preceded Pedersen into this exclusive club, only Curt Bladt (Harlan) and Duane Twait (mostly at Emmetsburg) own a higher winning rate.


Pedersen has coached 25 teams to the playoffs (tied for seventh most in Iowa, with a current streak of 10 consecutive postseason trips), including 1A championships in 1989, 1991 and 1992.

“Three hundred is something I’ve thought about, but haven’t put much stock into,” he said. “I never talked about it, but I know the kids and the coaches have. I just want the teams to be as good as they can be.”

Friday night, they were pretty darn good.

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The Bears (4-0) scored on five of six first-half drives, piling up 367 yards before intermission on their way to a 34-6 advantage.

“Our offensive line opened the holes, making it easier for me to read,” Lukavsky said. “And they gave Beau (Cornwell) time to throw.”

Cornwell passed for 240 yards in the first-half onslaught, completing 11 of 17 passes and hitting three different receivers for touchdowns.

It started on the Bears’ first play of the game, when Cornwell connected with Thomas Gould for a 57-yard bomb along the left sideline.

After a pair of Lukavsky running TDs, Cornwell hit Trey Eagle for a 39-yard score and Lukavsky for 23.

Tipton’s first-half touchdown came on a third-and-28 halfback pass from Payten Elijah to Frank Bierman for 88 yards.

Lukavsky scored on the first play of the second half, a 40-yard run, and the continuous clock ticked the rest of the way.

Both teams begin district play next week — West Branch is at Bellevue; Tipton (3-1) hosts Camanche.

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

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