CEDAR FALLS — A big second quarter from Western Dubuque sparked the Bobcats to a 48-14 victory over Lewis Central in the Class 3-A semifinals at the UNI-Dome.
W.D. scored 28 points in the second quarter, 14 coming off two Lewis Central turnovers. Western Dubuque will take on the winner of Solon (11-0) and Sergeant Bluff-Luton (10-1) for the 3-A state championship.
In total, Lewis Central turned the ball over five times, and nine times in the last two games. Western Dubuque scored 34 points off turnovers.
“When you turn the ball over that many times in a football game against a good football team, they’re going to capitalize on it,” Lewis Central coach Justin Kammrad said. “We gave them some short fields and didn’t play clean, especially on the offensive side of the ball.
“We forced our defense to be out there a heck of lot longer than it needed to be. That defense has done an unbelievable job all year for us. You just can’t do that to them, you can’t put them out there over and over again.”
Western Dubuque followed up its 28-point second-quarter scoring explosion with 20 more points in the third quarter. Lewis Central started the second half on offense, and was moving the ball until a fumble turned the ball over again.
Carter Kluesner scooped up the fumble for Western Dubuque and returned it to the Lewis Central 12-yard line. Four plays later, W.D. running back Jake Hosch scored from the one-yard line to make the score 35-7.
“They were opportunistic and they made plays, and we just didn’t,” Kammrad said. “It’s unfortunate, but sometimes that’s the way it goes.”
Ben Bryant of Western Dubuque picked off two passes in the third quarter, shutting the door on any chance of a L.C. comeback. Following the interceptions, Calvin Harris connected with Tommy DeSollar for a 19-yard score, and Jackson Burger ran it in from the 37-yard line to put W.D. up 48-7.
Lewis Central scored once in the second quarter, then again in the fourth. Bryson Bowman scored from the two-yard line in the first half, and then again on a 37-yard run in the fourth quarter. Bowman finished the game with 155 yards on 22 carries.
“Kudos to my offensive line, they’re really what got us here,” Bowman said. “My five down lineman, my H-back, they block their butts off so I can get up field and I can make plays. Without them, I don’t think we could be here.”
It’s always disappointing when your season ends early. Still, Lewis Central won 10 football games and made it to the UNI-Dome for the second straight year.
“We had a lot of doubters coming into the season, saying we lost a lot of offense,” L.C. senior Logan Jones said. “We got back here, which was our goal. Obviously, it’s disappointing to lose, but overall it’s a successful season I’d say.”
Lewis Central was one of only four teams in 3-A which earned the right to play in the dome. Not many teams can say that, let alone two years in a row.
“Solidifies where our program is at and what our kids do day in and day out to get to this point,” Kammrad said. “It’s tough to see this senior group go. They’ve done everything we’ve ever asked them to do. You can’t thank those guys enough for everything they’ve done for our program.”
Lewis Central rushed for 255 yards, and finished with 340 total yards on the night. Western Dubuque had 343 total yards, 217 rushing and 126 passing.
“We could not sustain a drive,” Kammrad said. “You break off a 40-yard run and then you fumble it. Then you throw a screen out there, and they get a hand on it and pull it out of there. It’s just one of those things, for whatever reason, it wasn’t in the cards.”
With his performance in the semifinals, Bowman rushed for over 1,500 yards in his senior season.
Western Dubuque (12-0) 0 28 20 0 — 48
Lewis Central (10-2) 0 7 0 7 — 14
WD: Ben Bryant 32 run (Gabe Ulrich kick)
WD: Will Burds 36 pass from Calvin Harris (Ulrich kick)
WD: Burds 8 pass from Harris (Ulrich kick)
LC: Bryson Bowman 2 run (Zach Shudak kick)
WD: Bryant 4 pass from Harris (Ulrich kick)
WD: Jake Hosch 1 run (Ulrich kick)
WD: Tommy DeSollar 19 pass from Harris (conversion failed)
WD: Jackson Burger 37 run (Ulrich kick)
LC: Bowman 37 run (Shudak kick)
Stat leaders: L.C.; rushing, Bryson Bowman 22-155, Ethen Fishell 1-51, Logan Katzer 3-32, Brady Miller 4-30; W.D., Jackson Burger 15-107, Ben Bryant 7-57; passing, L.C., Bret Kobes 10-15-2 74; W.D., Calvin Harris 11-17-0 126; receiving, L.C., Thomas Fidone 6-42, Easton Dermody 1-8, Colbey Roth 1-7; W.D., Will Burds 4-72