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It has four lopsided wins, scored at least 37 points in each game and possesses a tailback who averages more than 9 yards a carry. 

Still, Bettendorf's football team is not doing cartwheels in how it has performed to this point.

"We have a chance to be a very good football team, and we've showed all kinds of signs of that, but we haven't really put together a full four quarters on both sides of the ball," coach Aaron Wiley said after Friday night's 47-14 non-district victory over Davenport Central at TouVelle Stadium.

"We know down the road we'll have to put it all together."

Even so, in all likelihood, No. 2 Bettendorf will be the top-ranked team in Class 4A come Monday afternoon after top-ranked West Des Moines Dowling Catholic stumbled to West Des Moines Valley 24-21.

The Bulldogs have won their first four outings by 35, 31, 23 and 33 points, respectively.

"We're not really satisfied," junior Dalton McLaughlin said. 

"The game was sloppy feeling to me," Wiley said. "We've got to play better."

Bettendorf gave up 156 yards in the first half, 142 of those through the air, but still had a 27-0 cushion.

Justice O'Conner, who came into the game registering 9 yards per rush, had 90 yards and a touchdown on just eight carries before sitting out the second half for what Wiley called a rib injury.

"He probably could have went if we needed to," Wiley said. 

The Bulldogs found production in other areas.

McLaughlin had a 79-yard punt return for a score and sophomore receiver Suni Lane hauled in a 49-yard pass from Cyle Cox for a touchdown late in the second quarter.

"We work on punt returns every day in practice, probably 30 minutes a day," McLaughlin said. "Our blockers do a great job, I found a hole and went for it.

"I don't get to play much offense anymore, so it felt good to get the ball and get in the end zone."

With the Bulldogs short-handed at receiver because of injuries, Lane had a team-high three catches for 67 yards. 

The most significant one came on Cox's long throw. Lane caught it inside the 5 and skirted his way into the end zone.

"We've been running it in practice a little bit," Lane said. "I knew it was coming my way. I just had to make sure I caught it and it didn't slip out of my hands. Then, I had to get to the end zone."

Dax Emerson handled the running back duties for the Bulldogs in the second half. He finished with 92 yards and two touchdowns.

Bettendorf, which came in averaging 297 rushing yards per game, finished with 262 yards on the ground and 416 total.

The Bulldogs did have three turnovers.

"We got a lot of big plays, but there were a lot of bad things we did that we've got to fix," Lane said.

Central (2-2) was stymied to 47 rushing yards, but the Blue Devils completed 16 of 26 passes for 194 yards.

Coach Mark Roering's team gained at least 15 yards on five of its seven offensive possessions in the first half. It had nothing to show for it.

"They bent but didn't break," Roering said. "We missed some opportunities. It is more about execution. We've got to block better, tackle better and do both for longer periods.

"We execute three, four or five plays, and then sputter. We've got some young guys coming along, but they've got to grow up fast."

Quarterback Brady Cartee had a 10-yard touchdown pass and 2-yard scoring run for the Blue Devils. 

Bettendorf 47, Davenport Central 14

Davenport Central 0 0 7 7 -- 14
Bettendorf 6 21 13 7 -- 47


First Quarter

Bett — David Smith 1 run (kick failed), 6:10

Second Quarter

Bett — Justice O'Conner 12 run (Matt Perk kick), 10:51

Bett — Dalton McLaughlin 79 punt return (Perk kick), 8:24

Bett — Suni Lane 49 pass from Cyle Cox (Perk kick), 50.1

Third Quarter

Bett — Cox 3 run (run failed), 7:40

Cent — Caleb Buehl 10 pass from Brady Cartee (Justin Sanchez kick), 3:59

Bett — Dax Emerson 11 run (Perk kick), 1:56

Fourth Quarter

Cent — Cartee 2 run (Sanchez kick), 10:39

Bett — Emerson 14 run (Ben McDaniel kick), 53.0


First downs 13  24 
Rushes-yards 31-47 42-262
Passing yards 194 154
Total yards 241  416 
Comp-Att-Int 16-26-1 8-12-1
Punts-Avg. 5-28.6 2-37.0
Fumbles-lost 4-1 4-2
Penalties-yards 8-62 5-34


Rushing -- Central, Pachino Hill 8-72, Tony Marshall 11-13, Brady Cartee 3-4, Caulin Hurt 1-4, Calvin Clevenger 1-0, Alex Ewing 1-(-1), Alec Capshaw 1-(-3), Justin Ramsey 2-(-16), Team 3-(-26). Bettendorf, Dax Emerson 19-92, Justice O'Conner 8-90, Cyle Cox 9-72, Jacob Wehr 2-9, Mac Schoenfelder 1-7, Zak Zirbes 1-4, David Smith 1-1, Team 1-(-13).

Passing -- Central, Cartee 12-20-1, 152 yards; James Redmond 4-6-0, 42 yards. Bettendorf, Cox 5-9-1, 96 yards; Wehr 3-3-0, 58 yards. 

Receiving -- Central, Caleb Buehl 5-72, Aldon Dorsett 2-49, Hill 2-33, Capshaw 3-29, Trey Horner 1-12, Dallin Durrant 1-0, Marshall 2-(-1). Bettendorf, Suni Lane 3-67, Matt Wolfe 1-49, Schoenfelder 1-20, Carter Himmelman 1-9, Keaton Cain 1-8, Zirbes 1-1.

Sophomores: Bettendorf 59, Central 6


Sports Editor

Prep sports editor, with emphasis on covering the Mississippi Athletic Conference and Iowa area high schools. I've been in sports journalism for 17 years, the last five at the Quad-City Times.