Prep Football

New players for Waukon football, but same old winning results

Prep football rewind: Class 2A defending champion Indians beat Waterloo Columbus for sixth straight victory

Waukon's Brady Sullivan (background) and Waukon's Alex Brink (62) pull down Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley's Elliot Van Kekerix (30) in a Class 2A state semifinal game last year at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls.  (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
Waukon's Brady Sullivan (background) and Waukon's Alex Brink (62) pull down Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley's Elliot Van Kekerix (30) in a Class 2A state semifinal game last year at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — So few seniors. Even fewer returning starters.

And the penalties. Oh, the penalties.

“There’s inexperience, and there’s immaturity, and a lot of it has been immaturity,” Waukon football coach Chad Beerman said. “Just doing things you can’t do. A lot of personal fouls, facemasks, late hits, holding, an occasional unsportsmanlike conduct ... We’re just afraid someone is going to catch us with that.”

They haven’t, yet. Waukon brushed past Waterloo Columbus, 38-13, Friday night to improve to 6-1 overall 3-0 in district play.

Last year’s Class 2A state champion is the only unbeaten team in District 4. The Indians lost to 3A Decorah in the season opener, 24-20, but have responded with six consecutive wins.

Speaking of six, that’s how many seniors Waukon had coming into a season that was a rebuild/reload. One of those six has gotten hurt, dropping the upperclassmen total to literally a handful.

Guards Brady Sullivan and Pryce Hesse and receiver Michael Sweeney are the returning starters on offense, Sullivan the lone ranger on defense. He leads Waukon in tackles this season by a wide margin.

“I knew we had a lot of really young talent,” Beerman said. “We’re happy with the way the young kids have come along ... The way the young kids have come in and blended with that small group of seniors has been kind of a surprise. We’re glad to see it.”

Waukon is averaging 36 points per game and hasn’t scored fewer than 20 in any game. That’s with a sophomore at quarterback in Creed Welch.

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He replaced junior Brock Hatlan after Hatlan was injured in Game 2 against Crestwood. Going into Friday night’s game, Welch had completed 63 of 100 passes for 972 yards and 11 touchdowns (to two interceptions).

“Creed has really made the position his own,” Beerman said. “He has done a good job for us. As a sophomore, he’s 6-foot-3 and 150 pounds, maybe. Just like a gangly colt out there right now. As he matures, running will become more a part of his game. Right now, he’s mostly scrambling around looking for someone to throw to. That’ll be fine if he just continues to do that. But I think in a year or two here, he’ll be a pretty serious running threat, too.”

Junior Dawson Baures is Waukon’s leading rusher, sophomore Ethan O’Neill its second-leading rusher. Baures has 19 touchdowns rushing and receiving, including four total against Columbus.

The remainder of the schedule sees a road game next week at Anamosa, followed by the regular-season finale at home against North Fayette Valley.

With all this youth, the future for Waukon looks good. The present ain’t ain’t bad, either.

Now if only these kids would stop committing so many penalties.

“Fortunately, we’ve just been able to overcome it,” Beerman said.

Solon survives

Class 3A fourth-ranked Solon made a pair of late defensive stands to beat Mount Pleasant, 34-28, Saturday in a game postponed from Friday night by inclement weather.

The Spartans (7-0, 3-0 in District 6) got three touchdown passes from quarterback Cam Miller to receiver A.J. Coons.

Mount Pleasant quarterback Zach Beason had three touchdowns (two rushing) and threw for 370 yards. His pass to the end zone on the final play of the game from inside the 20-yard line was incomplete.

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Linn-Mar wins, Kennedy loses

Alex Hess rushed for 269 yards and two touchdowns on 34 carries as Linn-Mar won at Muscatine, 28-10, Friday night. The Lions (2-5) picked up their first win in three attempts in Class 4A, District 4.

Linn-Mar’s defense limited Muscatine to 147 yards of total offense.

Meanwhile, Cedar Rapids Kennedy made too many mistakes to hang with 4A fifth-ranked Bettendorf, falling, 41-14,, in a game delayed by two hours and 48 minutes after the opening kickoff because of weather.

Kennedy (4-3, 2-1) lost two fumbles, threw an interception, had a punt blocked and incurred another foible on special teams when the punter’s knee touched down trying to field a low snap.

The Cougars’ big play of the night was an 85-yard touchdown pass from Charlie Haefner to Shamiryon Graham.

Flinging it

Sophomore Jacob Herold threw for 443 yards Friday night for South Winneshiek, though his Warriors came up just shy of upsetting eighth-ranked Saint Ansgar, 40-39, in a Class A thriller.

Herold completed 33 of 42 passes, including three touchdowns.

Cole Klimesh and Collin Wiltgen combined for 21 receptions for 308 yards.

Saint Ansgar scored its winning points with 2:40 left in the game.

Weather woes

Eight weather-postponed games were played/completed Saturday afternoon and evening. Seven of the eight were on the eastern side of the state, the exception an 8-Player game between East Union and Lamoni.

Multiple games Friday night were not completely played because of weather but were called finals. The only way that can happen is if coaches from both team agree upon that.

l Comments: (319) 398-8259; jeff.johnson@thegazette.com 

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