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home : sports : sports Wednesday, May 25, 2016

10/23/2013 Email this articlePrint this article 
Rebels fall victim to Blazers' huge scoring spree
Through the first nine minutes, it looked like Friday night's 2A district 4 football game between Northeast and Beckman was destined to be a high scoring shootout.

The Rebel offense, though, eventually slowed down.

The Blazers did not.

Beckman scored all six times its offense took the field in the first two quarters and added touchdowns on two interception returns and a kick return as well.

The result was a 63-point first half explosion that turned what was a 14-13 Beckman lead with three minutes remaining in the first quarter into an eventual 84-20 romp.

"We started off great and played with them a lot of the first quarter," Northeast head coach Jerad Block said. "Then their dominance came in.

"There are few teams in the state that will be able to play with a healthy Beckman team. Their combination of (receiver Mitch) Steger and (quarterback Grant) Hammann alone are tough, throw in a physical front five and a strong run game and that will get them far into the playoffs."

The Rebels had no answer for the Beckman rushing attack, which accounted for nine of the team's 12 touchdowns. The Blazers ran the ball 42 times for 427 yards (more than 10 yards per carry) and received touchdowns from seven different players.

Beckman's scoring binge proved to be one for the record books as they became just the 63rd 11-man team in Iowa history to score more than 75 points in a game (it has happened twice already this season with BGM scoring 77 against East Marshall and Kuemper Catholic putting up 84 points of their own against Clarinda Academy).

"We are lacking playmakers on our defense," Block said. "We have kids that are in the right spots, but we just aren't able to make the plays when they count. Our lack of physical play was exposed for the second week in a row."

The seeds of a wild game were planted right away on the opening kickoff as the Rebels opened the game with a bang.

Northeast senior Tevin Stoecker received the Blazers' kick right at his one-yard line and exploded through a crease in the kick coverage. The back powered through one potential tackler and the Beckman kicker was picked up by a teammate, allowing Stoecker to sprint 99 yards for a touchdown.

It was the second opening kickoff this season Stoecker has returned back for a touchdown and the senior tacked on the extra point for good measure to make it 7-0.

The craziness was not over. Now it was Northeast's time to kickoff, and Stoecker's boot was fielded at the 12-yard line by Hammann.

The Blazer quarterback immediately cut across the field and then broke a tackle before streaking down the sideline for his own touchdown. Beckman tacked on the extra point and the game was tied at seven.

The Blazers were able to stop Stoecker on their next kickoff and the Northeast offense took the field.

The Rebels' plan of attack was to hurt Beckman through the air and it looked good early as Northeast converted three first downs in the air.

The drive, though, came to a sudden end when quarterback Will Hasken was sacked and stripped of the ball. Beckman fell on it and took over possession near midfield.

The Blazers' first play on offense was an option keep by Hammann that went for a first down. Beckman picked up another first down through the air and then scored a play later, as Steger took an end-around from Hammann and scampered 25 yards for a touchdown.

The extra point was good, and it was now 14-7 Blazers.

The Rebels, though, had an answer and it began with another big return from Stoecker, who brought the ball to the Northeast 45.

Hasken was sacked on first down, but then got most of the yardage back with a completion. A fantastic catch by Nick Wall (for nearly 30 yards), meanwhile, converted the third down and moved the ball to the Beckman 26.

An incompletion coupled with two short Hasken runs put the Rebels in another precarious situation, this time a fourth-and-three from the 19.

Wall, though, came up big again, sprinting right by the cornerback in coverage to catch an easy 19-yard touchdown pass. The snap for an extra point skipped by Hasken, but the Rebels were within one.

Northeast, though, could not stop the Blazers. Beckman needed just three plays to score on their next possession with Hammann keeping the ball for a 33-yard touchdown run. The point after try was good, and it was 21-13.

The Rebels went three-and-out on their next drive and Beckman went right back to work. This time two big pass plays brought the Blazers deep into Northeast territory. Beckman appeared to find the end zone after the second pass play on a run by Tyler Hirsch, but a penalty wiped out the play.

That did not matter to the Blazers who went right back to Hirsch. The sophomore did the rest, breaking Rebel tackles before stretching the ball just over the goal line for a touchdown to make it 28-13 with less than 30 seconds remaining in the first quarter.

Beckman ended up taking the game over with an even bigger second quarter.

The Blazers scored on each of their first two possessions of the period and then tacked on another score when Hirsch intercepted a Hasken passed and returned it back 37 yards to make it 49-13.

With the game slipping away, the Rebels began to get its offense back on track. Hasken found Mitch Moehr in the middle of the field for a huge gain and the Rebels earned a first-and-goal when they recovered their own fumble after a catch deep in Beckman territory.

Northeast, though, was unable to finish its drive with a touchdown and an incompletion on fourth down gave the Blazers the ball back on their own two yard line.

Beckman made things even worse as they quickly moved the ball down the field and scored again as Hammann picked up his fourth touchdown of the first half.

Northeast found success in the air on its next drive as well with Hasken hooking up with Stoecker for a pair of first downs.

"We exploited their weaknesses, but we weren't able to turn that into points on the board when it counted," Block said.

This drive, though, also ended in disaster as a deep Hasken pass was intercepted by Steger, who returned it 88 yards for the Blazers' final touchdown of the first half. The extra point was good and it was 63-13 at halftime.

With a continuous clock, the second half went quick, but the Blazers continued to churn out yards on the ground and scored again on their first possession of the third quarter.

The Rebels showed they were not done either on the ensuing kickoff.

To keep the ball out of Stoecker's hands, Beckman had been kicking the ball short, but the ploy backfired this time as senior Nick Bailey received the ball on a hop at the 25, cut into the middle of the field and then out-ran everyone to the end zone for a 75-yard touchdown return.

Unfortunately, that was the final points for the Rebels, but not the Blazers, who scored two final times on the ground to create the final margin.

Hasken went 18-of-35 through the air for 216 yards and the touchdown to Wall. Stoecker had a team-high six grabs for 62 yards with Wall and Moehr both catching five passes (the former for 69 yards, the latter for 68).

Josh Soll led the Rebel defense with 13 tackles, while sophomores Ryan Murphy and Tony Taplin both had six and Moehr five.

The Rebels will wrap up their season this Friday with a home contest against Monticello.

The Panthers are one of three teams fighting for two playoffs spots and Northeast would love nothing more than to play spoiler.

"We have another great opportunity Friday," Block said. "We can create a lasting memory for our outgoing seniors by winning that last game and really ruin Monticello's chances at a playoff berth.


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