Bettendorf’s football team has not exactly pinned down a full-time quarterback. If anything, the Bulldogs learned Friday night they have two viable options.
Owen Ridenour and Jacob Wehr split time under center and the seniors combined to throw for 183 yards as Bettendorf opened the season with a 35-28 triumph over Davenport Assumption at TouVelle Stadium.
“They both bring some really good stuff to the table,” said Bettendorf coach Aaron Wiley, whose team is replacing three-year starter Cyle Cox. “We’re going to evaluate it and look hard at the tape. Given both haven’t really had significant playing time there, I was pleased with both for the first game.”
Ridenour started the game and completed 7 of 10 throws for 123 yards and two touchdowns. Wehr relieved him in the second quarter and completed 6 of 11 passes for 60 yards. He also nearly had a 44-yard touchdown pass that was dropped near the goal line.
In all, Bettendorf had seven receivers catch passes in the first half.
“The passing game was a point of emphasis over the offseason,” Ridenour said. “Our quarterback coach Ryan Fick, Jacob and I repped with our receivers the whole summer. We’re really in tune with each other and something we’ve really improved on.”
Bettendorf built a 21-0 cushion midway through the second quarter, thanks to a pair of Assumption turnovers — a Jacob Durkin fumble recovery and a Keegan Glaus interception. Both set the Bulldogs up inside the Knights' 25-yard-line.
Senior Dalton McLaughlin finished the night with 227 yards of offense on just 12 touches — 136 on the ground and 91 receiving. He hauled in a 53-yard touchdown reception on a screen play in the second quarter.
“We’ve been working on that (screen) a lot in practice,” McLaughlin said. “Our offensive line really stepped up.”
Assumption went to its two-minute offense late in the first half and scored a touchdown in the final minute to draw within 21-7.
The Knights were marching into Bulldog territory late in the third quarter before failing to convert a fourth down play.
On Bettendorf’s ensuing play, McLaughlin scampered 74 yards for a touchdown run to make it a three-score advantage.
“We have some things we have to address as far as our discipline in a football game,” Assumption Wade King said.
That could be said for both teams.
Wiley was frustrated afterward with his team’s 11 penalties for 105 yards. It allowed Assumption to extend drives and crawl back into the game.
“It is ridiculous to have penalties like that,” he said. “I know it is the first game, but we can’t do that. We have to get that cleaned up in a hurry.
“It was kind of embarrassing at the end."
Assumption had success in the passing game. Receiver Will Ontiveros hauled in a game-high 12 catches for 142 yards and two touchdowns. Quarterback Joe Argo finished with 171 yards passing and three scores, but was responsible for three turnovers.
“We lacked cohesiveness tonight,” King said. “We had a lot of guys doing their own thing. We’ve got to become a disciplined football team where everybody is on the same page.
“We’ve got a week to get better and learn from this. We took some bumps, but we’ll be back next week.”
Other than some illegal procedure penalties, Wiley couldn’t find too much fault with his offense. With a new starting quarterback, running back and four offensive linemen, the Bulldogs racked up 427 total yards and 21 first downs.
Dax Emerson rushed for 95 yards and two touchdowns.
“We did really well,” Ridenour said. “We were very balanced. Bettendorf is usually a run heavy team, but the balance is good and can throw people off.
“For the first game, I can’t really expect better than us throwing for more than 200 (yards)."
Bettendorf 35, Assumption 28
Bett — Dax Emerson 1 run (Matt Perk kick), 1:35
Bett — Dalton McLaughlin 53 pass from Owen Ridenour (Perk kick), 8:30
Bett — Keaton Cain 16 pass from Ridenour (Perk kick), 7:03
Assum — Will Ontiveros 3 pass from Joe Argo (Nate Campbell kick), 0:34
Bett — McLaughlin 74 run (Perk kick), 2:10
Assum — Ontiveros 38 pass from Argo (Campbell kick), 6:27
Bett — Emerson 12 run (Perk kick), 4:20
Assum — Roberto Huizar 9 run (Campbell kick), 0:36
Assum — Connor Lindaman 11 pass from Argo (Campbell kick), 0:00
Rushing -- Assumption, Joe Argo 23-91, Elijah Williams 6-26, Roberto Huizar 2-24, Justus Burke 6-17, Will Ontiveros 2-4, Cole Hager 1(-3). Bettendorf, Dalton McLaughlin 9-136, Dax Emerson 15-95, Owen Ridenour 3-12, Jacob Wehr 2-(-1), Matt Perk 1-(-10), Suni Lane 1-(-14).
Passing -- Assumption, Argo 18-29-2, 171 yards. Bettendorf, Ridenour 7-10-0, 123 yards; Wehr 6-11-0, 60 yards; Ryan Donovan 1-1-0, 26 yards.
Receiving -- Assumption, Ontiveros 12-142, Connor Lindaman 3-23, Burke 1-4, Stan Oxedine 2-5. Bettendorf, McLaughlin 3-91, Keaton Cain 2-34, Wehr 1-26, Donovan 4-22, Ian Beck 2-15. Lane 1-11, Logan Lira 1-10.
Sophomores: Bettendorf 20, Assumption 14