GOOSE LAKE — A week ago, the Northeast football team saw a fourth-quarter lead slip away.
Friday, nothing — not long receptions, not opposing ballcarriers, not the momentum — was going to escape the Rebels’ grasp.
Hosting Alburnett for homecoming, Northeast dominated from the start, limiting the Pirates to just one first down in the first half.
The result was a 310-128 advantage in yardage and, most importantly, a 27-0 victory.
The Rebels set the tone for their first shutout since 2016 on the game’s opening drive, surrendering just five yards and forcing an Alburnett punt.
Northeast’s offense, in turn, gave its defense an early lead to protect.
In a drive that took the bulk of the first quarter, the Rebels moved 77 yards in 16 plays — the same number of plays the Pirates ran in the first half — converting two fourth downs and two third downs along the way.
The final third-down conversion was also the final offensive play as quarterback Riley Wolfe fired a 20-yard touchdown pass to Ethan Snyder.
The extra point was no good, but the Rebels had the early advantage.
It was a lead that would only grow.
Alburnett’s next drive went backward, thanks to a third-down sack by Atzin Dondiego, and the Pirates’ third possession also ended in a punt.
This time, the Rebels added to their lead.
Senior running back Dakota Stevenson was busy during the drive, carrying the ball six times and converting a big third-and-10 with a 23-yard reception.
Stevenson’s final carry — from two yards out — produced a touchdown and, with Rodrigo Chotgues’ extra point tacked on, the lead had grown to 13-0.
That was the same margin at the half with Alburnett’s lone first down of the first two quarters coming on a Rebels defensive penalty.
The Rebels defense was challenged more in the second half and the first test came right away as a sack and fumble on Northeast’s first drive gave the Pirates the ball on the Northeast 28.
Two runs got the visitors even closer, setting up first-and-goal at the nine-yard line.
Alburnett, though, hurt its own cause, committing two pre-snap penalties inside the Northeast three.
The latter penalty came on fourth down at the Rebels two and instead set up a fourth-and-goal at the seven, which Northeast snuffed out to get the ball back.
The Rebels remained stuck on their own side of the field, but Stevenson erased a big chunk of Alburnett’s field-position advantage with a 58-yard punt that moved the ball back to the Pirates’ side of midfield.
The two teams traded punts for the rest of the third quarter and it looked like the fourth quarter would start with another punt as Northeast faced a third-and-15 at their own 42.
Instead, Wolfe found Snyder again streaking down the field and hit him with a pass for a 58-yard touchdown. Chotgues added the extra point and it was 20-0.
Alburnett responded with its longest drive of the day, moving 62 yards in 12 plays.
The drive, though, never reached the end zone, instead stalling at the Rebels nine-yard line as three straight passes fell incomplete.
Stuck deep in their own territory, Northeast turned to Stevenson again to flip the field position.
But this time there would be no punt as the senior running back broke through the line and galloped 91 yards for the exclamation point.
Alburnett got the ball back one final time, but, fittingly, the Northeast defense held firm and did not allow a single first down, allowing the Rebels to run out the clock on first-year head coach Mark Lee’s first victory.
One year after tying a school record with five rushing touchdowns against the Pirates, Stevenson continued to torment Alburnett, running the ball 27 times for 168 yards and two scores.
Wolfe went 9-of-15 for 141 and two touchdowns, both to Snyder, who finished with three receptions for 89 yards. Cade Hughes, meanwhile, had four receptions.
Stevenson racked up 11 tackles for good measure, including three solo stops.
Hughes added 10 tackles, while Ty Schmidt had eight and Dondiego seven, including a sack.
Senior Liam Maze, meanwhile, joined Kenny King and Cody Ploog, respectively, for a pair of assisted sacks.
The Rebels will look for their second straight victory when they host Beckman Catholic for a unique district opener.
Instead of playing at Goose Lake, the Rebels and Blazers instead will play at NelsonCorp Field in Clinton — the home of the Clinton LumberKings.
The two teams will be the second game in an even-more rare varsity football doubleheader.
Camanche will host Tipton in the first game at 4:45 p.m. with the Rebels and Blazers set to follow — kickoff time is tentatively set for 7:30 p.m.
Coming off a 16-13 victory over Anamosa, the Blazers are 3-1 and have been very efficient on offense, leading the district in both yards-per-carry (5.8) and completion percentage (64.6).
Northeast 27, Alburnett 0
Alburnett 0 0 0 0 0
Northeast 6 7 0 14 27
Team Stats Northeast Alburnett
First Downs 14 8
Rushing Att. 36 29
Rushing Yards 169 76
Passing 9-15 6-20
Completion % 60% 30%
Passing Yards 141 52
Total Offense 310 128
Turnovers 1 0
Penalties 3-31 5-30
Passing – Riley Wolfe, 9-15, 141 yards, two touchdowns.
Rushing – Ty Schmidt, 5-19; Dakota Stevenson, 27-168, two touchdowns; Wolfe, 4-(-18).
Receiving – Cade Hughes, 4-14; Liam Maze, 1-15; Ethan Snyder, 3-89, two touchdowns; Stevenson, 1-23.
Tackles – Atzin Dondiego, eight (two solo), one sack; Caleb Gruhn, three; Hughes, 10 (three solo); Kenny King, two, one sack; Liam Maze, four (two solo), two sacks; Trey McAleer, two; Ethan Messerich, four (two solo); Samuel Moraetes, two; Maclane Murrell, one; Carter Pataska, one; Cody Ploog, six, one sack; Dawson Rickords, two; Schmidt, eight; Snyder, two (one solo); Stevenson, 11 (three solo); Wolfe, one solo.