EPWORTH, Iowa — True to his nature, Calvin Harris deflected the credit.
The senior quarterback threw for four touchdowns and ran for another, breaking the Western Dubuque career program records for passing completions, yards and touchdowns as the Class 3A No. 2-ranked Bobcats beat 2A No. 7 Williamsburg, 48-20, on Friday night at Buchman Field.
“It’s a cool experience, but it’s kind of a tribute to my teammates,” said Harris, who finished the game 16 of 21 for 270 yards. “They do a great job all throughout the week preparing. And our coaches do a great job. It starts with Coach (Justin) Penner. He does a fantastic job all week. Our front five did a great job tonight; they always do a great job. They worked their tails off, so credit to them.”
Harris’ 59-yard touchdown pass to Will Burds near the end of the first quarter was the 29th of his two-year career, moving him past the previous record of 28, set by Dylan Gotto in 2015-16.
“That felt really special,” said Burds, who caught eight passes for 135 yards and three touchdowns. “When he came to the end zone, we were celebrating, and then (public address announcer) J.J. (Butcher) announced it. It felt awesome.”
Harris’ 18-yard pass to Payton Quagliano midway through the third quarter pushed him past Jay Lehman’s previous record of 2,580, and an 8-yard pass to Burds early in the fourth allowed him to surpass Gotto’s record of 193 completions.
“I did text Dylan Gotto before the game, to let him know he has to reach out to Calvin and humbly hand that baton off,” Penner joked. “Dylan was an amazing player for us and really changed things. We’ve had some special players the last several years, and it’s fun for us to reflect on that.”
Friday’s game certainly started in the best possible fashion for the Bobcats (2-0).
Williamsburg’s Kaden Wetjen slipped near the 20-yard line on the kickoff return, then Jake Hosch recovered Wetjen’s fumble on the first offensive snap of the game.
Hosch cashed it in four plays later, driving up the middle for 5 yards and giving the Bobcats a 7-0 lead less than 2 minutes into the game.
The Bobcats reached the Williamsburg 20 on its next possession, but Harris’ passes into the end zone fell incomplete on third and fourth downs, and the Raiders tied it up on the ensuing snap as Brody Wardenburg found Wetjen open down the sideline for an 80-yard touchdown.
The deadlock was short lived, though.
The record came on the Bobcats’ next snap as Harris hit Burds in stride down the seam for a 59-yard touchdown.
Harris added a 2-yard touchdown run on the final offensive snap of the first quarter, and Ben Bryant scored from 9 yards out midway through the second as Western Dubuque surged in front, 28-7.
Williamsburg trimmed into the lead just before halftime, piecing together an 18-play, 68-yard drive that culminated with Wetjen’s 12-yard touchdown pass from Wardenburg. The Raiders converted a pair of fourth downs on the drive, and overcame an intentional grounding penalty after Wardenburg spiked the ball to stop the clock from the shotgun formation.
Harris hit Burds in the end zone for a 4-yard touchdown pass with 8:47 left in the third quarter, pushing the lead to 35-13.
Bryant took Harris’ screen pass 14 yards for a touchdown with just more than 3 minutes left in the third. Burds broke loose on a screen pass for a 30-yard touchdown early in the fourth, his third score of the night.
Bryant finished with 84 yards on 12 carries and two receptions for 46 yards. Hosch ran for 75 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries.
“When you say team guys, Ben Bryant, he went over 100 yards in every game last year. He doesn’t care,” Penner said. “If he has four yards or 400 yards, he doesn’t care. And Jake doesn’t either. They’re guys who love to win, and if they get two carries, or 20, it just doesn’t matter to them.
“But collectively, they’re a handful. And they’ll come after you. The neat thing for Ben is how dynamic he’s become as a receiver. But, man, the two of those guys, they’re a monster.”