STATE CENTER - The calculators were out and jaws were dropped. Dalton Ferch was on the loose like never before.
Ferch rushed for a Class 2A single-game record 443 yards - the fifth-best all-time performance - with five touchdowns to lead the second-ranked West Marshall football team to a 52-20 romp over Bondurant-Farrar in Wednesday's playoff opener.
The Trojans (10-0), who will host North Polk on Halloween night, had to do little more than block and tackle. Ferch did the rest, scampering to touchdown runs of 60, 3, 55, 51 and 53 yards.
T-R PHOTO BY ROSS THEDE
West Marshall tailback Dalton Ferch (23) tries to break the tackle of Bondurant-Farrar’s Austin Meyer on his way to some of his 443 rushing yards during Wednesday’s playoff opener in State Center.
"I got told at halftime I had three-hundred-and-some yards by Coach (Paul) Dunn and I thought he was kidding," said Ferch.
Whether it was downfield option pitches from quarterback Braydn Beals, tailback passes gone awry or just sweeps cut back against the grain, Ferch's touchdown runs became almost comical.
"He kind of does his own thing a little bit sometimes," said Trojan head coach Ken Winkler, "but he's a kid you don't mess with his mind too much because he's got great instincts."
West Marshall 52, Bondurant-Farrar 20
At State Center
B-F 7 3 0 10 - 20
WM 10 21 14 7 - 52
WM - Dalton Ferch 60 run (Ron Wilkey kick), 9:40.
WM - FG Wilkey 22, 4:17.
B-F - Paul Newby 67 pass from Cale Geirhan (Dillon Stafford kick), 3:15.
WM - Ferch 3 run (Wilkey kick), 11:37.
B-F - FG Stafford 37, 5:57.
WM - Braydn Beals 1 run (Wilkey kick), 2:21.
WM - Ferch 55 run (Wilkey kick), :30.
WM - Ferch 51 run (Wilkey kick), 10:37.
WM - Ferch 53 run (Wilkey kick), 7:56.
B-F - FG Stafford 37, 11:19.
WM - Elijah Streeter 17 run (Wilkey kick), 9:12.
B-F - Joe DiTomaso 8 run (Stafford kick), 2:56.
"Sometimes he makes the wrong cut but he turns around and makes a run like he made at the end of the half or the start of the second half. You just have to let him do his own thing."
Ferch's last four touchdown runs came in a series of five carries spanning the last 2 minutes of the first half and the first 4 minutes of the third quarter. He carried the ball 28 yards on West Marshall's first play of the fourth quarter and went to the bench for the remainder.
"I think the biggest improvement's our line, offensively and defensively," Ferch said comparing the Trojans' win to last year's 35-28 overtime, second-round victory over the Bluejays. "The line opened up some huge holes, our fullback blocked a linebacker and they just gave me a chance to run."
This year's postseason reunion started out as hotly contested as last year, with West Marshall leading 10-7 after the first quarter. Bondurant-Farrar (4-6) made a goal-line stand on the Trojans' second drive, forcing a 22-yard Ron Wilkey field goal.
The Bluejays got on the board behind some trickery, as quarterback Cale Geirhan lined up at receiver and took a reverse toss before throwing a 67-yard touchdown pass to Paul Newby.
It only seemed to ignite West Marshall's fire.
"That trick play made us a little mad but I think it helped us a little bit too, it helped us realize this wasn't going to be a cake walk," said Ferch. "We've got to come out and play."
Bondurant-Farrar relied on tailback Colton Halder to keep them in the contest, but West Marshall held him out of the end zone despite his 31 carries and 144 yards.
Devin Chesler led the WM defense with 11 tackles and Dustin Aikin had 10.
Jared Riemenschneider intercepted a tipped ball midway through the second quarter but the Trojans could not advance it, and West Marshall's next possession ended after Tysen Streeter fumbled after a 45-yard screen pass and run.
"We made a few mistakes in the first half that kept them pumped up," Winkler said.
West Marshall finally put the Bluejays away with a 21-point second quarter, getting two touchdowns in the last 2:21 of the period. Ferch ran 44 yards to the 1, where Beals took it in for a 24-10 lead. Two plays into their next drive, Ferch pulled the ball down on a halfback pass, skirted his way up the sideline and broke free for a 55-yard TD run.
The Trojans finished with 642 yards of total offense, with Beals passing 4-for-4 for 95 yards and adding 48 yards rushing. He got credit for 5 yards on West Marshall's second play, a grinding option run in which Beals pitched to Ferch with a B-F defender dragging him down from behind.
"It just shows that offensively we can get the big play or like earlier this year we can be consistent with it," Ferch said, bettering his previous single-game best 226-yard effort against Fort Dodge St. Edmond. "Either way we just have to keep getting better and working hard."
Now the Trojans get another shot at North Polk (8-2) after the Comets stomped Pella Christian 42-7 in their opening-round contest. North Polk eliminated West Marshall in last year's state quarterfinals, 21-0 in Alleman.