A walk-off, or run-off since it’s football, victory is just what the doctor ordered for the Beckman football team. The Blazers ran all over Northeast on a rainy, windy night in a Class 1A, District 5 game Sept. 11 at Beckman Field, 37-7, to move to 1-1 on the season.
The Blazers took over on the 40 after Northeast was forced to punt on its first series and needed less than four minutes to cross the goal line for a 6-0 lead. Nick Offerman concluded a nine-play drive, getting plenty of running yards from Owen Huehnergarth, with a two-yard scamper for the mark.
It didn’t take long for them to score again, after Owen Gaul blocked a Rebel punt and the ball landed on the 13 as the quarter ended. Huehnergarth gained the first five yards but Offerman got stuck behind the line, forcing a field goal from Logan Burchard and a 9-0 lead.
Again, Blazer defense forced the Rebels to punt and began another nine-play drive that culminated in a 36-yard pass to Elliot Naughton and a 16-0 lead with 6:46 left in the half. On the ensuing Rebel kick-off, the Blazers’ Ben Morlot recovered the ball, sending the offense back on the field for a 12-yard Offerman score a scant minute later. It was 23-0 at the half.
The teams traded possessions to start the third, until Blazer Cayden Gassmann picked off a Cade Hughes pass, setting up the play of the game. On the next play from their own 40, Offerman slithered through the line, out-stepped several tackles and was on his way. What was termed a fumble by the announcers and a lateral by some others traveled from Offerman’s arms to a trailing Conner Grover who ran the rest of the 40 yards to the zone and a 30-0 lead when Burchard converted another PAT.
It didn’t take long for the Rebels to answer this time, four plays and a Hughes to Carter Pataska toss that ended 75 yards later in the endzone, making it 30-7.
The final tally came in the fourth for the Blazers, after an 11-play drive. On the next-to-final play, Offerman threw a looping pass to Trent Koelker who caught the ball among three defenders and fell to the one-yard line. A holding call negated the gain but Offerman ran the final yards on the next play to make it 37-7 with just under eight minutes to go. The Rebels got as close as the Blazer 13 in a final 12-play drive as time expired.
“This week was awesome to have everyone practicing together again,” glowed coach Mark Atwater. “I think we saw how much that helped in tonight’s game. We took a big step forward on both sides of the ball. Our defensive plan was great and we executed it. I’m proud of how our coaches got them prepared all week.
“On offense, it was great to get our rushing game going. Our offensive line got challenged to really step up and they did in a big way. This is such a young group with one senior, three juniors and a sophomore so they are growing. It is great to see them come together as a unit and continue to improve.”
Offerman ended up leading the rushing yards with 15 carries for 111 yards. Huehnergarth tallied 60-on-16, Max Mullis 29-on-3, Gaul 14-on-2, Ty Fangman 8-on-2, Johan Platel 6-on-2, Gassmann 2-on-2 and Grover, the final 20 yards of Offerman’s beginning run. Offerman connected on 8-of-15 passes for 151 yards, to Koelker, 5-for-104, Naughton 1-for-36, Mullis 1-for-10 and Lane Kramer 1-for-1. Mullis punted three times for 86 yards and returned one kickoff for nine.
Defensively, the Blazers saw Gassmann notch 7.5 tackles, Burchard six, Grover, Naughton and Gaul 3.5, Nick Wulfekuhle three, Fangman, Drew Soppe, Huehnergarth and Luke Hirsch 2.5, Easton Koelker two, Morlot, Mullis, Jason Koopmann, Luke Schieltz, Ryan Funke and Isaac Barrick one, Lucas Boge and Trent Arens 0.5. Gaul, Wulfekuhle, Funke, Grover, Naughton, Fangman, Huehnergarth, Hirsch, Soppe and Koopmann all contributed to quarterback sacks.
“It’s just great to get win number one. The only thing we are thinking about now is getting win number two,” concluded Atwater.