Owen Ridenour likened it to playing college football.
After a two-day delay due to weather, the Class 4A second-ranked Bettendorf Bulldogs played efficient football, scoring on its first five possessions in a 43-7 win over Davenport Central in a game that started at 9 a.m. Saturday morning after it was originally scheduled for Thursday night.
“It was a weird situation, but it was a great day to play,” Ridenour said. “It’s kind of nice playing early on Saturday. It feels like you’re in college and that was the atmosphere we were hoping to have.”
Ridenour led the Bulldogs aerial attack, completing 14 of 17 passes for 297 yards and four touchdowns, the first to Dalton McLaughlin that gave Bettendorf the early lead at Brady Street Stadium.
Davenport Central, who was missing four starters due to injury, quickly responded with a four-play, 80-yard drive capped by a 23-yard touchdown run from Sam Guyton to tie the game after the first quarter. Guyton finished with 54 yards on 18 carries as the Blue Devils were held to just 142 total yards.
“We’re working towards being able to play all the time like we did in the first quarter,” Central coach Ben Sacco said. “The best quarter of football we played all year was that quarter we played against them. We blocked, we tackled, we fought adversity. We played football.”
Central (1-3) found itself with promising drives as the game progressed, but costly penalties and an opportunistic Bulldogs defense stopped the Blue Devils from getting back into the end zone.
“Their first drive, we were playing a little slowly,” said Jack Wells, who had an interception to prevent a Central touchdown in the second half. “I think we just picked up the tempo and played a lot harder and woke up after that first drive.”
Complementing the passing game of Ridenour — who was intercepted by Dante Gronewold in the second half — the Bulldogs (4-0) showcased a balanced running attack with 161 yards on the ground. Ridenour led the team with nine carries for 53 yards but McLaughlin also added 37 yards and two touchdowns while Dax Emerson had an additional 35 yards on nine carries as the Bulldogs rolled up 458 total yards of offense.
“I thought we were efficient, especially on offense,” Bulldogs coach Aaron Wiley said. “We wanted to spread the ball around and both our running backs ran hard … it was a good day offensively.”
Both teams now enter district play, with Bettendorf facing Clinton and Central facing Iowa City West.
“Preseason is over,” Sacco said. “We’re 1-3 in preseason but we’re a much better football team than we were in Week 1.”
Bettendorf 43, Davenport Central 7
BETT -- Dalton McLaughlin 25 pass from Owen Ridenour (Matt Perk kick), 5:07
DC – Sam Guyton 23 run (Mitchell Lantzky kick), 3:30
BETT – Dax Emerson 9 pass from Ridenour (kick blocked), 10:39
BETT – McLaughlin 4 run (kick blocked), 6:33
BETT – Ian Beck 13 pass from Ridenour (kick good), 0:44
BETT – Jovan Jackson 54 pass from Ridenour (kick good), 11:39
BETT – McLaughlin 2 run (kick good), 0:44
BETT – Ben McDaniel 23 field goal, 7:37
Total yards; 458;142
Rushing – BETT, Dalton McLaughlin 10-37 2 TD, Owen Ridenour 9-53, Dax Emerson 9-35, Eric Hradek 7-22, Jacob Wehr 1-14; DC, Sam Guyton 18-54 1 TD, Zach Taylor 5-(-12), Xavier Marshall 2-2, James Curtis 2-(-4), Dante Gronewold 1-(-5).
Passing – BETT, Owen Ridenour 14-17-1-297-4, Jacob Wehr 0-5-0-0-0; DC, Zach Taylor 10-15-1-107-0
Receiving – BETT, Keaton Cain 3-68, Logan Lira 3-49, Jovan Jackson 2-67 1 TD, Dalton McLaughlin 2-55 1 TD, Ryan Donovan 2-36, Ian Beck 1-13 1 TD, Dax Emerson 1-9 1 TD; DC, Alec Capshaw 5-31, Caleb Buehl 2-18, Justin Ramsay 1-53, Jordan Andrews 1-6, Marcos Liendo 1-(-1).