CEDAR FALLS — A short field and an opportunity quickly flipped into a nightmare for Cedar Falls in the quarterfinal round of the Class 4A state football playoffs.
One play after a 17-yard punt gave Cedar Falls the ball on Bettendorf’s 44-yard line midway through the first quarter, Bulldogs defensive back Reed Shea stepped in front of a slant route to change the course of a much-anticipated showdown between two of the top teams in the eastern half of the state.
No. 7 Bettendorf controlled a 31-17 minute advantage in time of possession, running nearly twice as many plays, and ended No. 2 Cedar Falls’ perfect season, 24-14.
“We weren’t real sharp early offensively,” Cedar Falls coach Brad Remmert said. “When we get field position, we’ve got to take care of it and put points on the board.”
Bettendorf (9-2), armed with Class 4A’s leading rusher Harrison Bey-Buie, worked the edges with short passes and sweeps to sustain scoring drives of 58 and 76 yards in the first half that took a combined 10:47 off the clock.
Cedar Falls (10-1) ran just seven plays and trailed 14-0 five minutes prior to halftime before finally putting together an 80-yard scoring drive. A 17-yard, fourth-down completion from quarterback Cael Loecher to Daniel Hutchins preceded a 15-yard touchdown run by Ryan Ostrich after a series of juke moves.
Tigers defensive back Bryce Albaugh then elevated for an interception in the end zone that kept Cedar Falls’ deficit at 14-6 entering halftime.
Bettendorf took advantage of another turnover on Cedar Falls’ opening drive of the second half when Shea recovered a fumble on the Tigers’ 25. Quarterback Joe Byrne hit Allen Douglas on a 13-yard wheel route that put the Bulldogs up two scores.
Cedar Falls instantly answered with Loecher stepping up in the pocket on fourth-and-16 and lofting a ball to Trey Campbell for a 35-yard touchdown. A successful conversion pass to Jacob Remmert made it 21-14, but that was as close as the hosts would get.
Shea booted a 32-yard field goal that was left unanswered after Albaugh missed wide left from 34 yards out early in the fourth quarter.
Cedar Falls started its last two series on its own 4-yard line and was unable to advance the ball past midfield.
“It was not the start we wanted and it was tough to bounce back after that,” Loecher said, after passing for 210 yards in the final start of a quarterbacking career in which his Tigers went 22-2 the past two seasons. “They played a heck of a game, they had a great plan and getting off to a slow start put our defense on the field.”
Bey-Buie, a physical 205-pounder with elusive moves, finished with 190 yards and two scores on 31 carries. Byrne was just as important for Bettendorf, completing 14 of 20 passes for 112 yards and rushing for 91. Douglas added 44 rushing yards and 52 receiving.
“I think our quarterback played his best football game,” Bettendorf coach Aaron Wiley said. “That takes some pressure off our running game when our quarterback can do some things, too.
“That’s a really good football team we just beat. They’re well-coached, they do a great job, they do every year. Coming here on their field, that’s a great testament to our kids.”
Campbell’s 88 receiving yards on four receptions led a Cedar Falls corps that received contributions from Ben Sernett (3 catches, 62 yards) and Daniel Hutchins (3 catches, 56 yards). Senior defensive end Collin Bohnenkamp tallied three tackles for loss and Eli Mickey added nine tackles and a fumble recovery to lead the Tigers’ defense.
“That’s been us all these four years,” Loecher said, addressing his team’s instant response to its two-touchdown deficits. “We’ve always came back. We’ve always battled tough. That just shows the heart in our senior class and our juniors, as well.”
Despite the graduation of several key players from a 2018 team that reached the state championship game, this group of Tigers left a legacy of their own.
“These kids worked hard,” Brad Remmert said. “They came off a team that went 12-1 and we had a bunch of new starters this year on both sides of the ball. But the kids bought in really, really hard in the weight room.
“To string off an undefeated season and make a run into the playoffs, that’s a big accomplishment. It’s not where we wanted to end up in the end, but a lot of good things overall.”
Bettendorf 24, Cedar Falls 14
Bettendorf 0 14 10 0 — 24
Cedar Falls 0 6 8 0 — 14
Bett — Harrison Bey-Buie 2 run (Reed Shea kick)
Bett — Bey Buie 1 run (Shea kick)
CF — Ryan Ostrich 17 run (kick failed)
Bett — Allen Douglas 13 pass from Joseph Byrne (Shea kick)
CF — Trey Campbell 35 pass from Cael Loecher (Jacob Remmert from Loecher)
Bett — 32 FG Shea
First downs 24 14
Rushes-yards 54-318 25-94
Comp-att-int 14-20-1 12-21-2
Passing yards 112 210
Punts-avg 3-30.3 2-50
Fumbles-lost 1-1 1-1
Penalties-yards 10-60 4-40
BETTENDORF — Harrison Bey-Buie 31-190, Joe Byrne 17-91, Allen Douglas 4-44, Team 2-minus 3.
CEDAR FALLS — Ryan Ostrich 11-66, Cael Loecher 10-16, Bo Grosse 3-13, Team 1-minus 1.
BETTENDORF — Bryne 14-20-1, 112 yards.
CEDAR FALLS — Loecher 12-21-2, 187 yards.
BETTENDORF — Douglas 6-52, Tynan Numkena 4-33, Noah Abbott 4-20, Bey-Buie 0-7.
CEDAR FALLS — Trey Campbell 4-88, Ben Sernett 3-62, Daniel Hutchins 3-56, Ryan Ostrich 2-4.
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