Bettendorf senior wide receiver Ryan Donovan had a fan during Wednesday's Class 4A playoff game against Davenport North that wasn't wearing Bulldogs gear.
Donovan's father, Brian, was kind of cheering for his son — as an assistant coach for the Wildcats. Ryan Donovan made his father proud and helped break his heart, catching two long touchdown passes early in the Bulldogs' 42-13 win over North at TouVelle Stadium.
Bettendorf (10-0) advances to the second round and will host Iowa City West on Monday at 7 p.m. The Bulldogs beat the Trojans 48-20 in early October.
For Brian Donovan, who is in his third year of working with North as an assistant, it was the best — and worst — of both worlds.
"I was smiling on the inside and cussing on the outside," Brian Donovan said. "A couple of the other coaches came over and very quietly gave me a congratulations. I'm very proud of what Ryan has done."
Both Ryan and Brian Donovan said the good-hearted smack talk started not too long after North (1-9) was announced as Bettendorf's first-round opponent.
"I told him he wasn't going to catch a pass," Brian Donovan said with a laugh. "It didn't take long to eat that."
Bettendorf was already up 7-0 in the first quarter when on the Bulldogs' fourth offensive play of the game, Ryan Donovan caught a screen pass from Owen Ridenour and raced up the middle for a 42-yard score.
After a North fumble, Ridenour hit Donovan for a 46-yard touchdown pass down the left seam to put the home team up 21-0.
"The O-line set up some great blocks and I just followed them," Ryan Donovan said of his first TD. "The second one was just a post and they were keying on Suni Lane and they left me open and (Ridenour) delivered a great ball."
Ryan Donovan said both him and his dad did their best to give each other a hard time leading up to the game.
"It was kind of funny, we were just heckling each other, back-and-forth all week, like 'We're going to beat you'. It was fun," Ryan Donovan said.
Bulldogs coach Aaron Wiley said Ryan Donovan has been a consistent weapon for his team all season.
"He's had a great year and last season he broke his leg in the third game, so he's really come back strong," Wiley said. "He runs great routes, has good hands and is a really hard worker."
Ridenour had a 63-yard touchdown run for the Bulldogs' first score and he later found Lane for a 9-yard scoring pass. Dax Emerson had a 1-yard touchdown run before the half as Bettendorf led 35-7 at the break.
In addition to being proud of Ryan's accomplishments, Brian Donovan was just as proud of the kids he's worked with since coming on to North head coach Guy Dierikx's staff three years ago.
Brian Donovan said he mainly works with the offensive backs and helped develop some of North's better runners, including Collin Glazek and Zeke Hayslett, who both turned in solid games against Bettendorf. Hayslett had a 27-yard touchdown run and finished with 116 yards on 19 carries.
Glazek rushed for 73 yards on 17 carries. Devyn Sperry had the other touchdown for North on a 3-yard run.
"Coach Dierikx has done an incredible thing, changing the attitude and it reflects in all the kids," Brian Donovan said. "The kids are fighters and they come out every day and work hard. Every year, we keep taking a step. I'm very proud of these guys."
Dierikx said he was proud of his team for making the playoffs but added he measured success in different ways as well.
"We talked about records and it is what it is but the way we define success right now is a little bit different in the way Bettendorf defines success," he said. "Our definition of success is working hard every day and getting better. Over the past three years, we have been getting better and now we're competing in games. We just wanted something positive for our community and fan base and our kids."
Bettendorf 42, Davenport North 13
B - Owen Ridenour 63 run (Matt Perk kick), 10:24
B - Ryan Donovan 42 pass from Ridenour (Perk kick), 7:09
B - Donovan 46 pass from Ridenour (Perk kick), 5:54
B - Suni Lane 9 pass from Ridenour (Perk kick), 1:28
B - Dax Emerson 1 run (Perk kick), 8:49
DN - Zeke Hayslett 27 run (Jacob Wells kick), :09
DN - Devyn Sperry 3 run (PAT blocked), 5:10
B - Mason Morris 21 run (Ben McDaniel kick), 5:56
Rushing -- North - Collin Glazek 17-73, Zeke Hayslett 19-116, Kaleb Schultz 3-1, Mannix Miller 8-28, Devyn Sperry 9-45, Demonte Harper 1-0, Isaiah Gray 1-(minus 20). Bettendorf - Owen Ridenour 3-82, Dax Emerson 5-31, Jovan Jackson 2-11, Eric Hradek 1-8, Damon Tingle 10-23, Jacob Wehr 6-(minus 3), Mason Morris 5-28.
Passing -- North - Schultz 1-6-0-26. Bettendorf - Ridenour 6-6-0-120, Wehr 4-9-1-37.
Receiving -- North-Hayslett 1-26. Bettendorf - Emerson 2-9, Ryan Donovan 2-88, Suni Lane 2-23, J Michael Young 2-20, Raul Lopez 1-4, Jovan Jackson 1-13.