Friday Night Lights 2014, Week 5

Tonight my dad and I headed to the Little Rose Bowl to see a matchup of undefeated teams: the Bellevue Comets and the West Branch Bears. (The city of Bellevue, by the way, is a Mississippi River town located between Dubuque and Clinton. I did not know that until I looked it up.)

Both teams were ranked in the top 10 of Class 1A. Bellevue had a stout defense and West Branch had a powerful running game. Strength versus strength. Needless to say, I expected to see a good game. So did much of eastern Iowa’s media. Among those in attendance (at least listed by the announcer) were KCRG, KGAN, KWQC, KGYM, the CRG, the P-C, and the hometown West Branch Times. (The Quiet Man was there, too, obviously.) However, the great game we were all expecting did not materialize.

West Branch capped an 82-yard opening drive with a 1-yard TD run to take the lead, 7–0. The Bears stymied the Comets’ first possession and Bellevue punted. During the punt, one of the referees pulled his right hamstring. The game was stopped for a minute while he limped off the field and received treatment on the West Branch sideline. He would return to the game, though hobbled, a few drives later as the side judge along the West Branch sideline. Instead of running forward, he needed to sidestep to mark the ball. Mad respect for him, officiating through the pain.

After stopping the Bears, Bellevue drove the ball 70 yards and scored on their next drive to tie the game, 7–7. The Comets let the Bears start on their own 35-yard line after kicking the ball out of bounds, and West Branch took it to the house to retake the lead, 14–7.

The Bears worked the ground with their running back, who is just a sophomore. West Branch drove the ball within six inches of the goal line on their final drive of the half, but on fourth down with :21.3 left, the Bears were penalized for a delay of game, pushing the ball back to the 5. I expected them to kick a field goal, but five wide receivers lined up in the shotgun formation. An incomplete pass into the back of the end zone ended the drive, and the Comets took a knee to end the half.

Tonight was a beautiful night for football. It was relatively warm today, but the temperature dropped enough by halftime for me to put on my sweatshirt. Sweatshirt weather!

After halftime, the Bears went back to work, pounding the ground after stopping the Comets on the first drive of the second half. The QB took the ball into the end zone himself from eight yards out and the PAT pushed the lead to 21–7. After another Bellevue punt, West Branch scored again on a 10-yard pass to make the score 28–7. Obviously, the vaunted Bellevue defense was no match for the Bears. Making matters worse for the Coments was the fact they fumbled on their next drive, turning the ball over to the Bears on the Bellevue 22. Despite starting the drive just outside the red zone, West Branch was unable to punch the ball into the end zone. On third down, the quarter back even centered the ball in the middle of the field for a field goal, which was booted through the uprights, increasing the Bears’ lead to 31–7.

That’s when my dad and I left. According to KCRG, the Bears went on to win, 38–7.

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