Bettendorf senior wide receiver Suni Lane had an interesting night.
Lane began Friday evening by forgetting his jersey before the Bulldogs’ game against Davenport Central and then he finished the day in street clothes helping send in signals from the sidelines.
In between those events, however, Lane made some big contributions as Bettendorf defeated the Blue Devils 45-7 at TouVelle Stadium. Bettendorf, the Class 4A District 7 champs, now waits to see who it will host Friday in the first round of the playoffs. The Bulldogs finished the regular season at 7-2 overall and 5-0 in the district and are on a six-game winning streak.
The Iowa playoff selection show starts at 10 a.m. Saturday.
Lane, who usually wears No. 3, had to go with No. 86 after leaving his jersey at his home. The jersey change, however, did not stop Lane from leaving an impression on the Blue Devils (3-6, 1-4).
Lane picked off Central quarterback Zach Taylor in the first quarter and returned the interception 55 yards for an apparent touchdown. However, a Bulldogs’ penalty on the return negated the big defensive play.
“I turned around after getting in the end zone and none of my teammates were celebrating so I thought something was wrong,” Lane said. “I saw the flag and thought ‘awww’. But it’s OK, I was able to get it back.”
He did two plays later when quarterback JMichael Young hit Lane on a fade pattern in the corner of the end zone for a 23-yard scoring play to put the Bulldogs up 14-0. After Central went three and out, Bettendorf was in business again after a nice punt return from Josh Licata.
Young hit Lane over the middle with a strike near the 5-yard line and Lane broke through three defenders to reach the end zone for a 22-yard touchdown that made it 21-0.
But from there, Lane’s night kind of swung back the other way. On a reverse play in the second quarter, Lane said he tried to leap over a defender and wound up tweaking his back. He attempted to stretch out his back but Lane did return to the game although both the receiver and Bulldogs coach Aaron Wiley said he was fine.
Lane finished the night with 52 yards on three catches which puts him at 102 career receptions for Bettendorf. After leaving the game, he returned to the sideline in street clothes and helped send in signals for the last two quarters.
“I was just helping out, having some fun,” Lane said of his second-half activities.
Bettendorf got a pair of rushing touchdowns from Nijel McIntosh while Demari Nicholson and Keegan Glaus also found the end zone on the ground for the home team. Seth Ward kicked a 33-yard field and the Bulldogs defense held Central to a total of 128 yards of offense.
“We wanted to show up and be crisp and function and just wanted to be sharp going into the playoffs and I thought we did that,” Wiley said. “It was pretty solid all the way around and you never want to back into the playoffs and be sloppy and we came in and got down what we needed to get done.”
Isaiah Litt had a 1-yard touchdown run for the Blue Devils while Kobe Williams finished with 44 yards on 15 carries. Central coach Ben Sacco liked his team’s effort but a brutal schedule was too much for the Blue Devils to overcome this season.
Central’s six losses came to three district champions in North Scott, Cedar Rapids Prairie and the Bulldogs in addition to playoff contenders Clinton, Muscatine and Iowa City High.
“You have to be a good football team to beat teams like that,” Sacco said. “We are still working towards that. Every one of those games, we competed in and outside of that, we got better. Our sophomore team has got good numbers and went 5-4 so next year our team strength, our team fundamentals and our team toughness are all three things that we can improve on that are effort-based. You don’t have to be a great player to improve those three things and improve our program.”