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Redhawks race to perfect regular season

Third-ranked North Tama drubs BCLUW

T-R PHOTO BY ANDREW ABADIE - North Tama’s Skyler Staker, right, breaks into the open on his way to a touchdown run in front of BCLUW’s Carson Hoffman during Friday’s Class A District 7 football game at Dennis Field in Traer. North Tama notched the fifth unbeaten regular season in school history by beating the Comets 57-12.

TRAER — For the fifth time in school history, the North Tama football team put together an undefeated regular season after defeating BCLUW 57-12 in the Class A District 7 matchup on Friday at Dennis Field.

“To me that’s a huge accomplishment, especially if you look at our district,” North Tama head coach Tom McDermott said. “To be able to go through our schedule and come away with a 9-0, that’s pretty special.

“We’re confident our defense can play with anybody. I know we can’t stop everybody but we can play with anybody. With our offense we have got to just keep on improving.”

The No. 3 Redhawks (9-0, 6-0) made quick work of BCLUW as North Tama put up 23 points in the first quarter. Key in that was North Tama’s ability to quickly establish the run game as the Redhawks totaled over 405 rushing yards while averaging 10.4 yards per carry.

The Redhawks scored on their first two plays from scrimmage to start the game as a Gabe Kopriva 36-yard run set up Skyler Staker’s first touchdown of the night.

T-R PHOTO BY ANDREW ABADIE

After the Comets were forced into a safety on a punt, North Tama again scored off a 36-yard touchdown run from Noah Weber to extend the lead to 16-0.

Kopriva scored the final touchdown for the Redhawks in the first quarter on an 11-yard run. Staker again found the end zone to start the second quarter on a 15-yard touchdown run.

BCLUW managed to get on the board in the second quarter after a 58-yard completion set up a 7-yard touchdown run for Sev Gonzales to put the game at 30-6.

However, Zach Greiner scored twice to extend the Redhawks’ lead to 44-6 heading into halftime.

“Our line came out blocking real well,” Greiner, who finished the night with 83 yards and two touchdowns, said. “They opened up some big holes and [BCLUW] started stacking the box and we still kept running it down their throats. Coach wanted me to go back to halfback and threw another guard in there. I ran the ball real well tonight and for not carrying it in a while. It took me a couple of carries to get back into it but the line blocked real well for me and I got in the end zone a couple of times.”

T-R PHOTO BY ANDREW ABADIE

Midway through the third quarter Kopriva found Tayte Payne for a 42-yard touchdown. Kopriva lead the team with 110 rushing yards and a touchdown while throwing for 57 yards and a touchdown.

The Comets found the scoreboard again in the fourth quarter after running back Joe Mason scored on a four-yard run.

North Tama backup quarterback Devin McKinley closed out the night with a 20-yard touchdown run.

Despite the win, McDermott was displeased with his team’s 12 penalties that cost his team 115 yards.

“We lost our composure,” McDermott said. “A lack of discipline. We addressed that in no short terms at halftime. Our guys have to be able to control themselves and control their mouths. That’s ridiculous. A good football team does not do that stuff. We got away with it tonight but against a good football team in the playoffs that’ll kill us.”

T-R PHOTO BY ANDREW ABADIE

By the end of the night, BCLUW was held to 206 yards with Mason rushing for 130 yards on 26 carries.

“We didn’t come out like I wanted,” BCLUW head coach Anthony Jahr said. “I thought we could at least be more physical. I thought we could match their athleticism. I knew it would be a tall task to match their physicality. That’s what they do best. They get off the ball, they block, they tackle, [and are] so aggressive.

“I was a little disappointed with how we started but once we got that first score in our guys loosened and relaxed. They are still a very good team but give all the credit to [North Tama]. The second half went fast as it does.”

For the Comets, who dealt with an injury-plagued season, the loss closes out their season with a 1-8 overall record and a 1-5 record in district play.

“I think from the beginning of our year until now we had 12 guys have season-ending injuries and eight of those were starters,” Jahr said. “It’s really tough to win a game when you have lost eight starters at any point throughout the year. Three offensive linemen, two quarterbacks — not that I’m laying that out as an excuse but certainly guys had to play who we didn’t think were ready to start the year. But their effort has been unbelievable all year.

T-R PHOTO BY ANDREW ABADIE

“This is a really young team. We only graduate three seniors and so if this group commits we are going to have a lot of experience coming back next year because a lot of these guys had to play. [A] tough, interesting year, it’s crazy how hard our district is.”

As for North Tama the undefeated mark is the fifth time in the school’s history with the last time happening in 2010 in which the Redhawks won the state championship.

“Just with all the adversity we have gone through with some injuries and some ejections and everything we have done making big plays at big times we beat really good teams this season [in] one of the toughest districts in the state,” Greiner said. “We’re undefeated. That was the hope going into the season and we did it.”

For Staker, who finished the night with 71 rushing yards and a touchdown, the focus for his team moving forward will be stressing the team’s message of not being satisfied.

“Coach showed us earlier this week that there is only four undefeateds in North Tama history,” Staker said. “They were elite teams and joining them feels amazing.

“Take the next step [is what we need to do for the playoffs]. We want to build off this week. We have been preaching take the next step and don’t be satisfied.”

North Tama awaits its first-round playoff pairing for next Friday night.

North Tama 57, BCLUW 12

At North Tama

NORTH TAMA 23 21 7 6 — 57

BCLUW 0 6 0 6 — 12

First Quarter

NT–Skyler Staker 14 run (Gabe Kopriva run), 8:58.

NT–Safety, 7:40.

NT–Noah Weber 36 run (kick failed), 7:07.

NT–Kopriva 11 run (Kopriva kick), 3:57.

Second Quarter

NT–Staker 15 run (Kopriva kick), 11:13.

BCLUW–Sev Gonzales 7 run (kick failed), 9:18.

NT–Zach Greiner 17 run (Kopriva kick), 7:17.

NT–Greiner 9 run (Kopriva kick), 3:22.

Third Quarter

NT–Tayte Payne 42 pass from Kopriva (Kopriva kick), 4:34.

Fourth Quarter

BCLUW–Joe Mason 4 run (kick failed), 10:01.

NT–Devin McKinley 20 run (Kopriva kick), 5:44.

TEAM STATISTICS

NT BCLUW

First Downs 17 6

Rushes-yards 39-405 38-119

Passing yards 68 78

Comp-Att-Int 3-6-0 2-9-0

Total offense 42-473 40-197

Fumbles-lost 0-0 1-1

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING — NT: Kopriva 7-110, Greiner 10-83, Weber 5-72, Staker 5-71, McKinley 4-34; BCLUW: Mason 26-130, Gonzales 3-3, Kade Pekarek 5 – -9.

PASSING — NT: Kopriva 2-3-57-0, Staker 1-2-11-0, McKinley 0-1; BCLUW: Pekarek 2-9-78-0

RECEIVING — NT: Payne 2-57, Greiner 1-11; BCLUW: Colton Keller 1-58, Gonzales 1-20.