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home : sports : sports Tuesday, May 24, 2016

10/10/2012 Email this articlePrint this article 
Central senior Chris Keitel reaches the ball over the goal line during the first quarter of the Sabers’ 31-9 win over Western Dubuque, Friday night. Keitel scored twice more during the night (including a 75-yard sprint late in the first half) and finished the game with 178 yards in Central’s win. Photos by Ross Eberhart
Central defensive lineman Riley McDowell wraps up Bobcat quarterback Dylan Kramer during the fourth quarter of the Sabers’ win over Western Dubuque. With McDowell draped all over him, Kramer threw a wobbly pass that was intercepted by Jake Thumann, one of five turnovers forced by Central.
Sabers build 28-0 lead in rout of Western Dubuque

By Ross Eberhart
Sports editor

Unsatisfied with just one competition, the Central football team decided to take part in another game during the first half of Friday night's non-district clash with Western Dubuque.

Keep away.

The Sabers had just four possessions with the ball during the first two quarters against the Bobcats, but they certainly made the most of them.

The four drives took up nearly 14 minutes, contained 33 plays and more importantly resulted in three touchdowns to give Central a 21-0 lead heading into the break.

The Sabers added a fifth drive of 12 plays that lasted over five minutes to start the second half too and that drive also ended in a score as the Sabers cruised to a 31-9 win.

"We did an excellent job of keeping the ball out of their hands," Central head coach Mike Miller said. "It's a ball-control offense, when its working well we're holding the ball for long stretches of time."

It was the Bobcats who got the ball first, but Western Dubuque did not have it for long as Central did not allow a single yard, while forcing a three-and-out. The Sabers caught another break on the punt as the boot traveled just five yards in the air to give the home team great field position.

Central's first drive did not last much longer, but it was much more efficient. Austin Lechtenberg gained 14 yards on the Sabers' first play and the next three hand-offs went to Chris Keitel.

All three produced positive yards and the last ended with Keitel lunging into the end zone from seven yards out for a touchdown. Patrick Haller added the extra point and it was 7-0 Sabers less than three minutes into the game.

The Bobcats threatened on their next drive with a 54-yard gain by Daniel Beard moving the ball inside the Saber 20.

Western Dubuque stayed on the ground for two more plays and faced a third-and-five from the 11.

On third down, Dawson Nemmers took a handoff and headed outside. The running back looked poised for a first down when the ball was knocked free and Jake Thumann jumped on it for Central at the four-yard line.

"We gave up a big play, but the guys responded and kept them out of the end zone," Miller said. "We went on and scored on three of those next four possessions, so it could have been a big turning point if we were tied at 7-7."

Instead of being tied, the Sabers proceeded to reel off their best drive of the season - a 23-play behemoth that took longer than all of Western Dubuque's first half drives combined.

"It was what we've been looking for all year," Miller said of the drive. "To have that many plays without committing a mistake was impressive."

The drive started with five-straight runs with the final one being a 10-yard gain by Jake Feldpausch on a third-and-four from the Central 22.

Mitch Green connected with Lechtenberg for a nine-yard gain to end the string of runs, but Central turned back to the ground and on play 10 of the drive Feldpausch moved the Sabers past midfield with a 12-yard run on third-and-eight.

Green converted his own third down moments later and so did Keitel (on play 16) who made it first-and-10 at the Western Dubuque 13.

The drive was in danger of ending without any points as Central elected to go for it with a fourth-and-two at the Bobcat five. Keitel, though, converted on the play with a four-yard gain and then bulled his way into the end zone on a third-and-goal from the one for the touchdown.

Haller added the extra point and Central was up 14-0 with 8:29 remaining in the second quarter (the drive started with more than seven minutes remaining in the first half).

Now down two scores, Western Dubuque pushed the ball into Central territory again, but this drive also ended with a turnover as a fumbled snap was recovered by Keitel.

A penalty stopped the Central offense from picking up from where it left off and the Sabers were forced to punt.

Western Dubuque picked up one first down through the air on its next drive. That was it though and the Bobcats punted the ball back to the Sabers.

The next Central drive lasted all of two plays. On the first, Green kept the ball and picked up five yards. On the second, Keitel took a hand-off, broke a tackle and then made a cut into the open field. Seventy-five yards later and the fullback was in the end zone. Haller added an extra point and Central was up three touchdowns.

The end of the first half cut Western Dubuque's next drive short and it was Central who had a chance to add to its lead as the second half opened.

The Sabers did just that, turning back to its ground game for another long, time-consuming drive.

Green started the drive with a bang as he kept the ball for a 38-yard run down the sideline and Keitel came up with a big play of his own when he gained exactly six yards on a fourth-and-six from the Bobcat 34.

Central converted two more third downs (Keitel picked up one and Tyler Stillmunkes the other) before Stillmunkes ended the lengthy drive with a five-yard touchdown run. Haller added one more extra point and it was 28-0.

Western Dubuque responded with its best drive of the night as the Bobcats converted a pair of third downs to earn first-and-goal at the Saber six.

The drive, though, stalled and ended up going backwards as A.J. Smith sacked quarterback Dylan Kramer on second down and Western Dubuque was forced to kick a field goal. The attempt was good and it was 28-3.

Steven Adams recovered an onside kick attempt but the ensuing Central drive ended in a fumble.

Before the Bobcats could take advantage, though, they gave it right back to the Sabers when Smith jumped on a Western Dubuque loose ball.

Not to be outdone, the Sabers fumbled the ball again during their first drive of the fourth quarter.

This time, Western Dubuque made it hurt as Kramer kept the ball on a keeper from the Saber one and marched into the end zone for a touchdown. A two-point attempt was no good and it was 28-9.

The Sabers had trouble again on their next drive and were forced to punt the ball away. The Central defense, though, came up with another turnover when Thumann intercepted a Kramer pass.

Central gained just four yards on the resulting possession, but Haller came in and booted a 30-yard field goal.

One final Bobcat drive ended in turnover number five as Lucas Sheppard picked off a pass from Samuel Nieman and Central ran out the clock on the victory.

The Sabers rushed for 323 yards during the game with Keitel accounting for more than half with 173 yards and three touchdowns. Green added 68, while Feldpausch had 30 and Stillmunkes 26 with the Sabers' other touchdown.

Mitch Kirby led the Sabers with seven tackles - all solo stops - while Jake Kagemann, Smith, Thumann and Drew Volrath all had five tackles (Keitel and Stillmunkes both had four).

Thumann recovered a fumble and had an interception as well.

With two district games remaining, there is a still a lot to be decided and Central still has an opportunity to bring home a share of a district title.

No matter the situation, a road victory this Friday over Anamosa is a must. The Blue Raiders are still looking for their first victory this season, while Central will look for an eighth-straight victory against its WaMaC East rival.

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