Mark Wells was just looking for a first down. He ended up with much, much more.
Wells and the Class 4A No. 8-ranked Bettendorf Bulldogs were locked in a scoreless tie with Davenport Central on Friday night at Brady Street Stadium.
Facing a third-and-13 on their own 48-yard line, quarterback Cyle Cox flipped a shovel pass to Wells, who took it 52 yards for the touchdown, and the Bulldogs (2-0) were on their way to a 33-7 win.
"I have to give the credit to my line, that was a big hole they gave me," Wells said. "Then (running back) John McLaughlin came up with a big block. Then I saw the open field, and I just ran it."
Bettendorf was able to hurt Davenport Central (1-1) again with the big play just before the half. Facing third-and-2, Cox again found Wells on a 30-yard streak down the left sideline, and Bettendorf went into halftime up 13-0.
"Mark's a fast kid," Cox said. "I know he can make plays down the field if he can get open."
Those two plays negated what had been a strong defensive showing by the Blue Devils. They gave up 195 yards of total offense in the first half, but 88 came on two plays.
"We were playing great," said Central coach Mark Roering. "We didn't know how physical we were going to be. Our kids were playing great, and they were up 6-0, and we blew a coverage. That happens. It's high school, but we're going to be better."
Bettendorf came out in the second half and looked to take control of the running game. McLaughlin had a 69-yard run on the second play of the half, and Cyle Cox punched it in 2 minutes later to give Bettendorf a 20-0 lead.
Brady Cartee's touchdown run with 9 minutes left drew Central to within two scores, and after forcing a Bulldogs turnover on downs, the Blue Devils looked poised to make a run.
The Bulldogs' Justice O'Conner intercepted a pass on the next play and returned it for a touchdown to all but close out the game.
"We were lethargic early," said Bettendorf coach Aaron Wiley. "And we came out flat a little bit and you can't do that against a team with good players like they have. We kind of found a way to get it done. It wasn't pretty, but we get a win."