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Camanche overcomes early deficit, tops Wahlert
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Camanche overcomes early deficit, tops Wahlert

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CAMANCHE, Iowa — Dubuque Wahlert may have started fast, but the Camanche football team finished strong.

The Storm spotted the Golden Eagles a 13-point lead just past the midpoint of the opening quarter Friday, but cool, calm, collected Camanche scored on its next four possessions and rallied for a 35-20 victory in an Iowa Class 2A playoff opener.

"We have confidence in each other and we never lost that," receiver Tucker Dickherber said. “It wasn’t the start we wanted, but we believed in each other and got the job done.’’

The Storm blended the run and the pass in piling up 436 yards of offense, an effort that included 126 yards on the ground from Eric Kinkaid and another 264 through the air on a 21-of-28 passing performance by Mike Delzell.

Dickherber was on the receiving end of 12 of those passes, covering 149 yards.

Delzell ran for a pair of touchdowns and threw for two more, but it was a 14-yard run into the end zone by Kinkaid with 5 minutes, 29 seconds remaining in the game that provided Camanche with the final 35-20 margin Wahlert was unable to dent.

Dickherber made certain of that, intercepting a pass at the Storm 5-yard line with 3:17 remaining to secure the win.

"We have a lot of guys back from our (playoff) run last year and that experience, it helped," Kinkaid said. "We kept fighting right up until the end. We had to."

The Golden Eagles forced that, quickly answering an 11-play, 70-yard drive that opened the third quarter for Camanche.

The Storm took nearly seven minutes off the clock before Delzell ran for his second touchdown on a 1-yard run with 5:44 to play in the third quarter.

Wahlert cut Camanche’s first two-score lead of game to 28-20 when Bryce Rudinger hit Carson Cummer with a 43-yard touchdown strike with 4:06 to go in the quarter.

"We had to earn this," Dickherber said.

Delzell positioned the Storm (6-3) to get that done, completing 11-of-14 first-half passes to help the Storm overcome an early 13-0 deficit, opening a 21-13 lead at the break.

The Golden Eagles scored on drives of six and three plays on their first two possessions to open a two-touchdown advantage midway through the opening quarter.

Kennen Patraitis finished off the opening series of the game with a nine-yard carry into the end zone.

Wahlert (3-6) missed its first extra-point try of the game, but quickly extended its lead when Ryan Brosius busted free for a 68-yard touchdown run just past the midpoint of the first quarter.

Camanche answered with points on its next three possessions, pulling within 13-7 after one quarter when Delzell scored on a 4-yard run.

“That first touchdown drive, that was big for us,’’ Delzell said. “The coaches kept saying, ‘Keep playing, keep playing,’ and I think that touchdown calmed us all down, let us know that things were going to be OK.’’

The Storm’s 6-foot-2 senior quarterback orchestrated a pair of touchdown drives in the second quarter, the start of a string of 15 consecutive completions that stretched into the third quarter.

Delzell hit Adam Dunlap in the back left corner of the end zone with a 23-yard touchdown pass with 6:01 left in the half, allowing Joe Snodgrass’ PAT kick to give Camanche a 14-13 lead it would not relinquish.

Dickherber recorded two of his seven first-half receptions on the Storm’s next drive, the first for a 48-yard gain to the Golden Eagles’ 18-yard line and the second on an 8-yard pass play with :56 to go in the half.

“We kept making plays, kept moving the ball and got stops,’’ Delzell said. “We did what it takes to move on, and right now, that’s what matters.’’


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