At times against Davenport North on Friday, the Bettendorf football team must have felt like it was running in quicksand.
The Bulldogs eventually got where they were going in a 38-0 district win at TouVelle Stadium but the Wildcats made the home team earn every bit of it.
Bettendorf (5-2, 3-0 district) finished with a total of 252 yards for the game, although many times the Bulldogs were working with a short field. Nijel McIntosh led Bettendorf with 56 yards on 19 carries and Eric Hraedek added another 51 yards on 10 carries. Both running backs also had rushing TDs.
Suni Lane ran for an 8-yard score and also caught a 22-yard TD pass from JMichael Young. Young also found Ben Wilson for a 39-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter. Justin Wehr added a 30-yard field goal for the Bulldogs.
For the game, Young was 6-of-14 for 96 yards.
But the senior quarterback was under pressure from the Wildcats (1-6, 0-3) for the three quarters he did play. Young was sacked twice and also knocked down several other times by a North defense that came after the Bettendorf quarterback almost constantly the whole game.
"They really tried attacking and they got after us," Young said of the Wildcats' effort. "We had some miscues, especially in the first half, so we had to clean those things up. I tried to make good decisions, either on the run or in the pocket."
Young was victimized by his own receivers who also dropped four pass attempts. Two screen passes that could have gone for big plays were dropped by receivers who appeared to be looking downfield before catching the ball.
Bulldogs coach Aaron Wiley said his team's performance was uneven but added that a lot of different players got to play which is always a positive.
"We looked crisp at times and not so crisp other times," Wiley said. "But we came out with a win and that's what is important."
While the Bettendorf offense went through some stops-and-starts, the defense was dominant. North finished with 131 total yards including 79 on the ground. Wildcats quarterback Rudy Juarez was sacked six times including twice by Luke Soko and Cameron Maxfield. Jatten Kuhrt and Drake Nichols also recorded sacks for the home team.
Tyler Grace had an interception and Maxfield added a fumble recovery. Both turnovers led to Bettendorf scores.
While North coach Brandon Krusey is not into moral victories, he was proud of his team's effort.
"They went out and competed hard the whole game and that's what you want," Krusey said. "I'm not happy about the loss but we played with energy and made Bettendorf earn everything and that was a positive."
Next up for the Bulldogs is a trip to Iowa City High with a district championship at stake. The Little Hawks (6-1) are also 3-0 in the district.
"It's a big game, (City) is a tough team. We will get back to work and clean things up," Young said.
Bettendorf 38, Davenport North 0
B-Justin Wehr 30 FG, 9:41
B-J Michael Young 39 pass to Ben Wilson, 7:14 (Wehr kick)
B-Young 22 pass to Suni Lane (Wehr kick) 3:44
B-Nijel McIntosh 1 run (Wehr kick), :31
B-Eric Hradek 16 run (Seth Ward kick), 1:31
B-Lane 8 run (Ward kick), 4:25
RUSHING: North - Ezekiel Hayslett 15-64, Rudy Juarez 13-19, Dakota Wright 2-8, Keshun Thach 1-(minus 6), Payton Young 1-(minus 6). Bettendorf - J Michael Young 4-(minus 8), Nijel McIntosh 19-56, Suni Lane 2-6, Eric Hradek 10-51, Sam Murphy 2-16.
PASSING: North - Juarez 10-22-1-32 yards, Robert Bladel 1-1-0-20. Bettendorf - Young 6-14-0-96, Murphy 2-3-0-35.
RECEIVING: North - Chris Murphy 2-18, Thach 3-18, Hayslett 3-(minus 2), Bladel 2-14, CJ Bakoylis 1-4. Bettendorf - Lane 4-49, Wilson 2-60, McIntosh 1-8, Jaron Shook 1-14.
Sophomore score: Bettendorf 35, Dav. North 7