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Alex Wade (copy)

CPU running back Alex Wade looks for running room during the Stormin' Pointers' 28-16 win over Mount Vernon.

Center Point-Urbana 28, Mount Vernon 16

There were two teams that showed up to play in the Stormin’ Pointers’ uniforms Friday. There was the team that turned the ball over four times, including its first three possessions of the second half. That was the team that trailed 7-6 heading into the locker room and looking helpless on offense.

Then there was the team that rattled off 22 unanswered points in its next three possessions en route to a 28-16 win.

That’s the team that head coach Dan Burke hopes to have the rest of the way as the Pointers wound up evening their record at 1-1.

“It just seemed like we had so many opportunities, and we were blowing it,” Burke said. “I felt confident, I knew we could do it. It was just a matter of, we’ve gotta settle down, don’t get all hyper.”

Outside of the trio of interceptions, junior quarterback Keegan Koppendryer improved by leaps and bounds over his debut last week. He finished 14-of-24 for 238 yards and a touchdown.

Senior receiver Kole Tupa, who moved from behind center in the offseason to make better use of his 6-foot-4, 180-pound frame, had a field day against the Mustang defense. He posted 104 yards on six catches and nabbed the Pointers’ first touchdown of the evening on a hard slant on third-and-goal.

“All I saw was I was right on the goal line, I didn’t know if I was in or not,” Tupa said. “I was just trying to get across that goal line, just trying to make a play.”

After a scoreless third quarter in which the two sides combined for five consecutive turnovers, the Pointers settled into a balanced rushing attack featuring senior Alex Wade. He ended the day with 58 yards on the ground while fellow senior Austin Hotchkiss added 23 on five carries.

As the fourth quarter rolled around, CPU pushed a field goal wide left, ending the best drive of either team in the second half without points. A little over a minute later, the Pointers found paydirt with a 41-yard touchdown toss from Tupa to senior Jared Keller on a play that looked to be an end-around by wound up with Tupa heaving the ball across the field to his wide-open receiver. CPU never looked back, tacking on a pair of other touchdowns from senior Mitch Bawek and Wade.

None of that happens, however, without the staunch performance of the Pointers’ defense. CPU gave Mount Vernon fits, baiting quarterback Brady Ketchum into three interceptions while forcing and recovering a fumble in the first quarter. The defense stepped up from the opening kickoff and performed well, especially considering the Mustangs started every first-half possession except for their final drive inside Pointers territory.

A large part of CPU’s success on defense came from senior defensive end Cole Webster, who contributed three tackles for losses along with a sack. Webster appeared impassioned and implored his team to dig deeper as the game went on, even going so far as trying to fire up the coaching staff.

“He’s fun to watch,” Burke said. “He’s like that in practice to. He doesn’t slow up.”

Senior Josh Garnett also had himself a ballgame to remember. The senior cornerback grabbed a pair of interceptions and added three tackles on the night. The first pick came from a fade route to the corner of the end zone to a Mustangs receiver. Garnett stepped in front of his man to get a leveraged position and outmuscled the receiver to come down with the ball at a time where Mount Vernon was looking to take a two-score lead early.

The Pointers will play once more at home this Friday against Benton in a conference matchup.

Benton 30, Cascade 0

The Bobcats appear what they’re advertised to be: a state title contender.

The No. 9 team in 2A cruised to victory over the Cougars on the road Friday night in dazzling fashion. Senior quarterback Clay Krousie finished 22-for-35 on the night with three touchdowns and no turnovers. His 402 yards also set a new school record for passing yards in a game.

Of course, for first-year head coach and former Benton defensive coordinator Jeff Zittergruen, a lot of the credit goes to the other side of the ball.

“Our defense played really well on Friday night,” he said in an email. “Our defensive rally to the ball has been really good to start the season and will be something we continue to focus on.”

Sophomore running back Lawrence Wallace posted 70 yards on 14 carries when Krousie wasn’t breaking school records. However, Zittergruen said his guys need to start quicker on offense to reach the team’s full potential.

“Towards the end of the second quarter, Clay Krousie found some rhythm in the passing game which spread the defense out,” he said. “This allowed us to find some traction in the run game in the second half.  Our offensive line was solid all night in pass protection, giving Clay time to find [his receivers].”

Senior Turner Schroeder turned out to be Krousie’s favorite target on the night, ending up with 11 catches for 181 yards and a trio of scores.

However, Zittergruen said that his team shouldn’t be ready to rest on its laurels quite yet.

“Moving forward this week, we fully understand that we have a very good CPU team we are playing on the road on Friday,” he said. “They are the most physical team we have seen to this point and also really rally to the ball on defense.  On offense, they have some weapons and do a good job moving them in different spots to get them the ball.  We need to focus on having a great week of prep and taking steps forward each day.  Our sole focus for this week is CPU”

Belle Plaine 62, North Mahaska 0

A tough Week 1 loss after an exhilarating Week 0 win could’ve taken the wind from the Plainsmen’s sails.

Instead, it resulted in one of the greatest margins of victory in Belle Plaine history in getting back to their tried-and-true formula: run the ball.

Belle Plaine rushed 41 times for 405 yards Friday night against the Warhawks in a return to its Week 1 strategy where the Plainsmen ran 58 times for 402 yards. That game ended in a 44-6 win over Lynnville-Sully.

The game started a little slow for Belle Plaine, but after the first drive, it was all Plainsmen.

“I thought after our 1st drive where we went three and out and had to punt the ball, our offense settled in and put together some really nice drives,” head coach Todd Bohlen said in an email. “Defensively we are able to create two interceptions and two fumbles, giving us a short field to work with as well.”

Week 0’s leading rusher, senior Trevin Straight, notched a dozen carries for 239 yards and three touchdowns, including a 62-yarder to open the scoring on Belle Plaine’s second possession.

On defense, the Plainsmen forced four turnovers, including picks from juniors Luke DeMeulenaere and Jaxon Kressley. Senior Ethan Allie and freshman Connor Timm each recovered a fumble to stall North Mahaska drives as well.

As the game got out of hand, Bohlen saw an opportunity to get his younger athletes some reps.

“I was happy that the JV was able to play out the entire fourth quarter, and all the players recorded valuable varsity experience,” he said. “Going forward we need to keep improving every week and stay healthy all the while building depth with such a limited number of players out. Next week playing Lisbon on the turf at Cornell College will be quite the experience for our guys and we are really looking forward to that opportunity.”

Vinton-Shellsburg 36, Tipton 22

It hasn’t been pretty the past two weeks for the Vikings.

But beauty pageants don’t win football games. At least that should be the motto for head coach Jim Womochil’s team after it starts 2-0 for the first time since 2011.

Quarterback Brooks Erickson was efficient against the Tigers. The junior completed 9-of-14 passes for 130 yards and three touchdowns. His running backs helped carry the load on offense as well, with junior Elijah Kalous and senior Jose Wilson combining for 98 yards and a touchdown on the night. Erickson also contributed 67 yards on the ground and scored.

The defense also came up big for the Vikings, forcing four turnovers, including two (one interception, one fumble recovery) from Erickson.

The Vikings get yet another shot at a “revenge game” this Friday when they travel to Oelwein, who they lost to 12-7 in 2018.