It has been 32 years since the Bettendorf football team began a season with two consecutive losses and you just had a feeling the Bulldogs weren’t going to let it happen this year either.
Even the opposing coach had that feeling Friday night and he was proven correct.
A week after being virtually run off the field by No. 2-ranked West Des Moines Valley, Bettendorf bounced back in a big way with a resounding 55-0 rout of arch-rival Davenport Assumption in their home opener at TouVelle Stadium.
It’s by far the most lopsided game of the 66 played between the two rivals. The Bulldogs never had beaten the Knights by more than 35 points prior to this.
Wide receiver Suni Lane, who played a starring role along with Keegan Glaus, quarterback J Michael Young, defensive lineman Cameron Maxfield and a lot of other people in black jerseys, said that suffering two consecutive losses to open the season “wasn’t an option.
“Valley was clearly the better team last week and we had to put that behind us and get ready for this week,’’ Lane said.
Bettendorf coach Aaron Wiley said he knew his team would play well after fixing some of the mistakes made in the 49-13 loss to Valley.
“You know, (legendary Bettendorf coach) Merv Habenicht always said that if you can learn from a loss, it’s not all bad,’’ Wiley said. “We learned a lot.’’
Even Assumption coach Wade King didn’t appear shocked by the outcome.
“I expected this. I fully expected this,’’ he said. “I knew they’d have a point to prove and I knew we didn’t prepare well. I knew this was going to happen.’’
The rout began from the very beginning as Bettendorf’s Mason Morris returned the opening kickoff 86 yards for a touchdown.
By the end of the first quarter it was 17-0. By halftime, it was 34-0.
The Bettendorf defense did its part, holding Assumption without a first down in the first quarter and stuffing star running back Justus Burke all night. Burke rushed for 220 yards in a season-opening win over North Scott but he had only 35 yards in 16 carries Friday despite staying in the game until the very end.
However, Young was the most noticeable player in a nearly flawless first half by the Bulldogs.
The senior quarterback continually created things with his legs, reeling off scrambles of 20, 23, 20 and 18 yards in the first half. He also completed 8 of 9 pass attempts for 139 yards with the last of those being a 70-yard touchdown strike to Lane.
“He has a great arm so he’s able to throw but when it’s not there he’s just as capable of running it,,’’ Lane said.
The 6-foot-4 Young missed all of last season with a broken leg suffered in a pickup basketball game so his best football should be ahead.
“He’s just a very talented kid,’’ Wiley said. “He didn’t play any football at all last year so I think you’ll see him just continue to improve.’’
The Bulldogs, who face another tough test next week against Cedar Rapids Washington, didn’t exactly let up after halftime.
Glaus bolted 57 yards for a touchdown on their fifth offensive snap of the third quarter. A few plays later, on defense, he picked off a short pass in the flat and returned it 38 yards for his third score of the game, making it 48-0.
“I just read the keys, saw the ball and took it to the house,’’ Glaus said.
Assumption (1-1) had just one serious scoring chance in the game. It got its offense rolling late in the first half and drove to the Bettendorf 2-yard line. But on third down, quarterback Chris Bridges had the ball jarred from his grasp and Bettendorf’s Jatten Kuhrt recovered the fumble with 49 seconds left in the half.
The Knights may have lost more than just a game. Bridges later appeared to suffer a serious leg injury while playing defense with 5:32 remaining in the contest. He was taken off on a cart. King said he did not know the severity of the injury.