Try 1 month for 99¢

DEWITT, Iowa — The first three weeks for Central DeWitt have been the Easton Necker show.

Friday night was a coming out party for the rest of the Sabers.

Zach Hinkle ran for two touchdowns and caught another, Drew Kueter threw for a career-high 172 yards and the Sabers rolled to a 41-21 win over Camanche at Birney Field.

The Sabers are 3-1 and off to their best start since 2009 under first-year head coach Ryan Streets.

"We've been working our butts off to change the culture and we're starting to see the effects of it," Kueter said. "It's really great to see the community supporting us, it's just awesome.

"I love winning."

Necker, who entered the week as the state's leading rusher, still had a big night, finishing with 244 yards. He now has 975 yards through four weeks, but that was helped by a pair of of 73-yard runs in the fourth quarter as the Indians keyed on him during the first half, allowing those around him their opportunities.

Hinkle put the Sabers on the board with a 3-yard touchdown run with three minutes left in the first quarter, then added a 19-yard run at 10:21 in the second quarter.

"We just take what they give us," Hinkle said. "If they're clogging up the middle, we'll get around the end. The line always blocks their heart out and it's great. Somebody's always open with this offense."

Caleb Pace upped the lead to 21-0 with a 2-yard run, taking advantage of a Camanche offsides penalty on fourth and goal that negated a Pace field goal and instead led to the touchdown.

The Indians (2-2) were hurt by penalties throughout the game, including an offensive pass interference call that negated a big pass play that would have put Camanche inside the Central DeWitt 5-yard line. All told, the Indians committed 11 penalties for 75 yards.

"We put some drives together and some plays together but then we'd have a hold or a block in the back, three good plays then two bad plays," Camanche head coach Dustin Coit said. "Against quality teams you can't afford to do that, and DeWitt took advantage tonight."

Just two weeks ago against Maquoketa, the Sabers couldn't complete a pass, and entering Friday night they had just 70 total passing yards on the season.

Against Camanche, Kueter completed 60 percent of his passes in the first half, and each first-half scoring drive was set up by a big pass play, highlighted by a 68-yard catch and run by Devin Hurdle that set up Hinkle's 5-yard touchdown catch that put the Sabers up 27-0 just before halftime.

"Our team chemistry is getting better, our O-line is getting way better, getting a push," Kueter said. "We're all starting to find our confidence levels, starting to put it together. The confidence, you can tell on the team, we're gelling together. We've been working hard for it, I can't wait to see what this season brings us."

After a quiet third quarter, both teams broke out the offense. Camanche quarterback Baylor Crigger threw a 54-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Lawrence to put the Indians on the board, only for Necker to break off a 73-yard touchdown run on the Sabers' first play of the ensuing drive.

Raul Esparza countered with an 80-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, but Necker broke off another 73-yard run to set up John McConohy's 3-yard touchdown run, capping a stretch of four touchdowns in 74 seconds.

Crigger finished with 89 passing yards and two touchdowns, both to Lawrence, who caught the final score of the game with 1:09 left.

"We're getting better and better but it's just the fundamental stuff for us," Streets said. "There are times where we're not as fundamentally sound as we should be. Time and time again, I guess it happens, a lackadaisical effort will drive you crazy and we saw a little bit of that tonight but other than that, the kids played well."


Sports reporter for the Quad-City Times