If you enjoy offense, in particular touchdowns, the Davenport Assumption and Bettendorf football rivalry isn't for you.
"These are bone-crushing games," Assumption coach Wade King described.
For the third consecutive season, Assumption needed just one touchdown to fend off Bettendorf on Friday night.
Chase Hager plowed in from 2 yards in the third quarter, and the Class 4A eighth-ranked Knights' defense did the rest in a 9-3 triumph over No. 9 Bettendorf at TouVelle Stadium.
Assumption has won three straight over Bettendorf for the first time since 1975-77. In the three meetings, the teams have combined for only 44 points and five touchdowns - four for the Knights and one for the Bulldogs.
"Our defense won us that game," Assumption quarterback and safety Jake Gervase said. "We loaded the box, competed and got big turnovers, big stops."
The Knights' only score was set up by a Bulldog fumble on a punt return, one of four turnovers for Bettendorf (6-2).
Faced with 3rd and 1 from the Bulldog 2, Hager, who had just two carries, plunged his way into the end zone
"I don't get many (carries), so I was ecstatic," Hager said.
Assumption's defense, tops in the Mississippi Athletic Conference statistically, made it hold up.
Bettendorf was inside Assumption's 40-yard line twice in the fourth quarter, but quarterback Cyle Cox was pressured by Jake Poster and fumbled. On the ensuing drive, Cox was intercepted by Hager.
"We don't sit back and wait for something to happen defensively," King said. "They play fearless on defense and sometimes it scares me when our defensive coaches dial up all that pressure.
"But it is what we've been doing all year, and it is what we'll live and die with."
The win puts Assumption (7-1) into sole possession of second place in the MAC and guarantees the Knights a first-round home playoff game Oct. 30.
Assumption had a plethora of opportunities to break through in the opening half, but it turned it over four times and missed a 25-yard field goal. Bettendorf managed just a 27-yard field goal from Charlie Cox.
"We went in at halftime knowing we didn't play our best half," Gervase said. "We came out, executed our game plan and the defense stepped up."
Bettendorf finished with 144 total yards — just six through the air. The Bulldogs fought field position for most of the night.
That was magnified on the final drive when the Bulldogs started at their own 15. Three plays later, Cyle Cox was sacked in the end zone for a safety.
"If you told me going in, we'd give up one score, I'd tell you we were going to win," Bettendorf coach Aaron Wiley said. "I credit their defense. I felt like we were fighting with our backs against the wall the whole game.
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"We couldn't establish anything offensively."
Wiley, though, was pleased how his defense held Assumption to 203 yards.
"We have a good defense, good kids," Wiley said. "We just ran into a great defense."
Gervase rushed for 106 yards on 31 carries for the Knights, who walked off the field jubilant and emotional.
"They are our rivals, and this is what you sign up for," Hager said. "To beat them a third time in a row, it is unbelievable."
Davenport Assumption 9, Bettendorf 3
Bett - Charlie Cox 27 FG, 8:52
Assum - Chase Hager 2 run (Nate Campbell kick), 4:06
Assum - Safety (Cyle Cox sacked in end zone), 1:30
Rushing -- Assumption, Jake Gervase 31-106, James Hua 11-35, Kolton O'Day 3-20, Chase Hager 2-6, Michael Neubauer 1-0, Team 3-(-14). Bettendorf, John McLaughlin 12-61, Cyle Cox 13-50, Gabe Rees 12-36, Team 1-(-9).
Passing -- Assumption, Gervase 5-16-1, 50 yards; Joe Argo 0-1-1, 0 yards. Bettendorf, Cox 1-8-2, 6 yards.
Receiving -- Assumption, Ryan Coughlin 3-28, Matt Wiedenhoeft 1-15, Jordan Allen 1-7. Bettendorf, Owen Ridenour 1-6.