Your Prep Sports
Injuries are an unfortunate part of the game of football. No one knows that better right now than West Branch.
Playing without four injured starters on Friday the Bears fell into a 14-point first half deficit and never fully recovered in a 26-13 loss at Bellevue.
The loss dropped Class 1A No. 10 West Branch to 3-2 on the season and 2-1 in District 3 play.
Peter Kilburg rushed for 254 yards and a touchdown and also caught a pair of touchdown passes as Bellevue moved to 5-0 on the season and put itself in the drivers’ seat in District 3 at 3-0.
It was the third straight game of more than 200 yards rushing for Kilburg who eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark with his 254-yard performance on Friday.
The senior now has 1,042 yards on the season.
“They came out and hit us right in the face in the first half,” West Branch coach Butch Pedersen said. “We were down 20-6 and we decided at halftime that we were going to start hitting somebody on defense and we did. They only scored six points in the second half. I believe they were averaging 48 or 49 points a game. We felt good about the improvement of our defense in the second half.”
“It might be sour grapes but we also had four starters on the sidelines with injuries. You take that out of a 1A school and that’s a pretty big blow.”
Bellevue, which lost to West Branch 42-0 a year ago, set the tone early on Friday.
The Comets took the opening kickoff and went 65 yards in eight plays, taking an 8-0 lead on a 21-yard touchdown run by Kilburg.
West Branch answered right back as Luke Lenoch raced 65 yards to the end zone on the Bears’ first play from scrimmage to cut the lead to 8-6.
That would be as close as the Bears would get.
Bellevue added scoring drives of 71 and 56 yards in the first half while taking a 20-6 halftime lead.
Kilburg caught a 15-yard touchdown pass from Cade Daugherty to make it 14-6 Bellevue and Daugherty added a 2-yard scoring run to give the Comets a 20-6 halftime lead.
Lenoch pulled West Branch to 20-13 with a 1-yard touchdown plunge that capped a 10-play, 75-yard drive in the third quarter but Kilburg and the Comets answered.
Bellevue scored its only points of the second half on a 12-yard touchdown pass from Daugherty to Kilburg that helped seal the win.
Pedersen was pleased with his team’s efforts in the second half of the game but would like to see that same effort throughout the game instead of isolated at certain points.
“We need to make sure that we’re consistent from the first play of the game to the last play of the game,” Pedersen said. “Sometimes we play in spurts and you can’t be a good football team if you play in spurts. You’ve got to play each and every play and we don’t always do that and I thought that hurt us.”
Lenoch finished with 156 yards on 21 carries for West Branch to eclipse the 5,000-yard mark for his career.
The senior running back now has 5,107 career rushing yards and 71 career touchdowns.
Senior Brandon Rummelhart threw for 125 yards in the loss as West Branch finished with 286 total yards.
“I think the fact that we worked hard in the second half is a positive,” Pedersen said. “I think they saw what they’re capable of doing if they just play hard all the time. They have to play hard all the time and with the youth we have on this team, it’s hard to teach when they’re young.
“They have to learn and experience, they have to get after things.”
West Branch Bellevue
First Downs 17 22
Rushes-Yards 26-161 55-298
Passing Yards 125 132
Comp-Att-Int 12-23-2 11-19-0
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 1-0
Penalties-Yards 2-15 10-90
West Branch 6 0 7 0 – 13
Bellevue 14 6 0 6 – 26
BEL – Peter Kilburg 21 run (Kilburg run)
WB – Luke Lenoch 65 run (Run failed)
BEL – Kilburg 15 pass from Cade Daugherty (Pass failed)
BEL – Daugherty 2 run (Pass failed)
WB – Luke Lenoch 1 run (Javier Zamudio kick)
BEL – Kilburg 12 pass from Daugherty (Kick failed)
Rushing – WB: Luke Lenoch 21-156, Cale Donovan 2-5, Brett Schiele 3-0. BEL: Peter Kilburg 39-254, Cade Daugherty 12-37.
Passing – WB: Brandon Rummelhart 12-23-2 125. BEL: Cade Daugherty 11-19-0 132.
Receiving – WB: Jacob Graves 2-38, Cooper Kabela 4-33, Cale Donovan 3-24. Tanner Lukavsky 2-19, Luke Lenoch 1-11. BEL: Peter Kilburg 3-35, Trey Daugherty 3-31, Zach Bullock 1-27.