DYERSVILLE, Iowa — Time of possession can often be a telling statistic.
In this case, it was not.
Dyersville Beckman only controlled the ball for just over 15 of the total 48 minutes, but capitalized on big plays and a “bend but don’t break” defense to defeat Northeast Goose Lake, 28-6, in the first round of the Iowa Class 1A playoffs Friday night in Dyersville.
The Trailblazer offense wasn’t on the field for long in the first half but they certainly made the most of it, scoring on two of their four first half possessions. Northeast, who received the opening possession, controlled the ball for the majority of the half, but couldn’t crack the Beckman defense.
“Good and great teams are what we talk about,” Beckman coach Mark Atwater said. “Tonight we were a good team; next week, it’s going to take a little bit more than that.”
The Rebels used a little trickery on their opening drive, converting a fourth down fake punt pass at their own 36-yard line. The Blazers defense wasn’t fazed, however, as they forced Northeast into another fourth down on the same drive.
This time Beckman (5-2) held strong as Northeast quarterback Cade Hughes’ pass attempt fell incomplete, putting the Blazers on offense.
Atwater loved the defensive effort his team showed.
“It starts with a good plan from our defensive coordinator (Ryan Meisner) and our guys made the plays,” he said. “We were getting to the ball and making tackles. I’m proud of our guys for that. We are in a good spot defensively and they are keeping us in games pretty good.”
In one of their longest possessions of the game, the Blazers used a consistent running attack to rack up two first downs, before senior quarterback Nick Offerman scrambled his way for a 37-yard touchdown run.
Northeast converted another fake punt on their next possession on a fourth down run, but again the Blazer defense wouldn’t fold, forcing a turnover on downs.
They needed just four plays on their next possession to find the promised land as sophomore Cayden Gassman put Beckman ahead 14-0 with a 44-yard touchdown run.
The Blazers were set to start on offense to begin the second half, but Trent Koelker had other ideas. The junior received the opening kick and took it all the way to the house for an 85-yard kickoff return, stretching the lead to 21-0.
“Trent Koelker is just a stud,” Atwater said. “He has just got that gear where he can take it at any point.”
Northeast was charging on its next drive, chewing up 9 minutes of the third quarter. They amassed three first downs on the possession, but the drive was stalled inside the Beckman 10-yard line. After Hughes was stopped for a five-yard loss, the Rebels could not convert on a fourth-and 14, turning the ball back over to the Blazers and pretty much sealing the game’s fate.
Just to leave no doubt, Offerman found junior tight end Eric Heinrichs on the first and only play of the possession for a 48-yard touchdown pass with 5:24 left in the game to make the score 28-0. It was a fitting way to close the scoring for the Blazers, who made the most short, but efficient offensive drives all night.
With 37 seconds remaining in the game, Northeast got on the board with a 35-yard scoring pass from Hughes to Carter Pataska to make the final score.
Beckman moves on to play Durant next Friday night at 7 in Dyersville. The Blazers defeated Durant earlier this season, 24-17, and Atwater expects them to be even tougher this time.
“They’ve got a great running back; they are a good team,” he said. “It’s going to take a better effort for us next week. I’m excited; its going to be a battle.”