Sept. 10 it was the third quarter. Sept. 17 it was the first, as the Beckman football team pounded Cascade with three touchdowns in that quarter and eventually won a District 4 contest, 38-7, at Beckman Field.
Two of those three scores came within two minutes, as Lane Kramer intercepted a Justin Roling pass and reached the endzone for a 14-0 lead, just after Cayden Gassmann had capped a seven-play drive to score at the 7:27 mark of the frame for their first touchdown. Logan Burchard was perfect as usual in extra-point attempts, the first two of four he made.
The Blazers made it 21-0 five minutes later, when Owen Huehnergarth ran the final four yards of a 10-play drive with 1:13 left on the clock.
According to coach Mark Atwater, “It was good to come out and put distance between them and us early. We always want to start fast and being able to put 21 points up in that first quarter is a good deal. That really set the tone for the game.”
This was a game originally touted as a showdown between two premier running backs: Cascade’s Jack Menster (200-plus yards and seven touchdowns last week) and Owen Huehnergarth (266 and four).
But the Blazer D-line delivered, setting up those scoring drives by stuffing the Cougars when they had the ball. On the first series of the game, it was a three-and-out and Menster was limited to a negative three yards. On the second Cougar possession, Menster got zero yards on the first play before Kramer ended it with the pick-six. Their third possession saw Roling run for six before Tanner Simon lost two, forcing another Cougar punt. The team gained 11 yards on their next possession, just as the quarter ended, making it a total of 12 for the first quarter.
Menster broke open on the first play of the second quarter, for 20, then four and the Cougars got their inaugural first downs of the game, but saw that drive end on an incomplete pass, putting the Blazers at their own 35 to begin another drive. A Mason Otting pick of Gassmann’s throw ended things but the Cougars were again forced to punt, beginning the Blazer drive on a short field. They ended a yard short of converting but got the ball back quickly when Conner Grover picked off Roling. That short drive ended with a Burchard field goal of 27 yards and made it 24-0 by halftime.
“Our defense was stout all night long. We knew the headlines coming would be a comparison between the two featured running backs but we felt our defense could make the biggest impact,” added Atwater.
The second half was a study in penalty flags. The Blazers were whistled for 10 flags, and 105 yards, pretty much stuffing much of their forward movement each time. But with 2:26 left in the third, they got the ball back after stopping the Cougars and drove it from their own 14 on just six plays, the final coming with a 48-yard weaving and threading TD run from Gassmann, to make it 31-0 at the break.
The Cougars opened the fourth with the ball and took advantage of a Blazer holding penalty and back-to-back pass interference calls to move to the Blazer 23, where Simon ran it in for their only score.
Following their onside kick, the Blazers answered with a four-play drive that took just under a minute for their final TD, a 25-yard Gassmann run, 38-7. And Menster? Held by the Blazer defense to just 43 total yards on 14 carries.
“We are excited to get district win No. 1 over a good football team and need to keep our mindset straight and keep moving forward,” said Atwater, “Offensively, there are a few things to clean up. There were situations where we felt we could have put the ball in the end zone again, but those are things you just look back on and work to improve. Overall when you score 38 points, and rush for over 300 yards, you have to be pretty happy.”
Beckman’s leaders were: rushing — Gassmann 14-for-139, three TDs, Huehnergarth 19-for-129, one, Nick Wulfekuhle 3-for-32, Johan Platel 2-for-6, Luke Schieltz 2-for-4, Max Mullis 1-for-2; passing — Gassmann 8-for-15 for 91 yards, one INT; receiving — Schieltz 5-for-50, Kramer 2-for-33, Mullis 1-for-8; punts — Mullis 2-for-81; kicking — Burchard 5-of-5 PATs, 1-of-1 FG; kick returns — Eli Kluesner 1-for-17, Mullis 1-for-2; punt returns —Schieltz 2-for-11; tackles — Isaac Barrick 6.5 (five solo), Elliot Naughton five (three), Wulfekuhle 3.5 (three), Ben Lueck and Huehnergarth three (two), Schieltz and Grover three (three), Oakley Harbaugh three (one), Burchard and Mullis 2.5 (two), Ty Fangman 2.5 (one), Jason Koopmann two (one), Kramer and Wyatt Schulte 1.5 (one), Gassmann, Kluesner and Platel one, Michael Dinan, Alex Hageman and Joe Engler 0.5.