Class 1A No. 5 Bellevue Rallies Past Top-Ranked West Branch in District Opener


Photo by Jeff Yoder

Your Prep Sports

BELLEVUE – For the second straight season a top-10 matchup between West Branch and Bellevue wasn’t decided until an interception in the final seconds.

This time it was the Comets that sealed the deal with a late pick.

Hunter Clasen ran for 182 yards and a pair of second-half touchdowns and Jacob Waller slammed the door on a late West Branch comeback with an interception in the final seconds as Class 1A fifth-ranked Bellevue (5-0) rallied for a 28-20 win over top-ranked West Branch (4-1) in the District 4 opener for both teams in Bellevue.

West Branch led 20-13 late in the third quarter but Clasen scored twice in the final 15:16 as Bellevue improved to 5-0 and put itself firmly in the District 4 driver’s seat.

“Toward the end I thought our coverage was a little shaky on defense,” West Branch coach Butch Pedersen said. “We never really got into a tempo on offense that is something that we need to work on for next week and we will continue to get better.”

Last season it was West Branch that rallied late then made a game-sealing stop with an interception with six seconds left in a 45-41 win at the Little Rose Bowl.

On Friday the Comets came up with the big plays late.

Clasen gave Bellevue its first lead of the game at 21-20 with a 5-yard touchdown run and a 2-point conversion plunge with 3:16 left in the third quarter.

The senior running back pushed the lead to 28-20 with his second scoring run of the game, a 36-yard with 1:39 left.

West Branch moved the ball to the Comet 34 with 1:14 left but the Comets didn’t allow another completion.

The loss snapped a 13-game regular season winning streak for West Branch that stretched back to last season.

Beau Cornwell passed for 215 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another score but it wasn’t enough for West Branch to overcome three turnovers and 10 penalties.

Cornwell opened the scoring with a 1-yard touchdown run on a first-quarter quarterback sneak and put the Bears up 13-0 when he scrambled and found Brady Lukavsky open across the middle.

Lukavsky hauled in the pass and broke free for a 39-yard touchdown that put West Branch up 13-0 with 1:30 left in the first half.

“He just scrambled and got open and Beau saw him and hit him,” Pedersen said. “We’ve seen that numerous times from those two guys.”

Bellevue got back in the game before the half.

Trey Daugherty took the ensuing kickoff at the 15 yard line and raced 85 yards for a touchdown to cut the lead to 13-6 at the break.

The teams traded touchdowns to start the third quarter.

Daughtery hauled in a 45-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Lucas Tennant on a third-and-30 play to tie the score at 13-13 with 9:08 left in the third quarter.

“We had a lot of chances,” Pedersen said. “I didn’t think we played particularly well in certain areas tonight, especially special teams and that hurt us.”

West Branch took its final lead at 20-13 when Brett Schiele took a swing pass from Cornwell and went 12 yards for a score.

Clasen gave Bellevue its first lead with a touchdown and two-point conversion on the Comets’ ensuing possession.

He provided the cushion with his second scoring run in the final two minutes.

Tanner Lukavsky rushed for 76 yards and had two catches for 40 yards for West Branch which finished with 323 yards.

Bellevue had 317 yards as Tennant threw for 157 yards.

                                     WB                 BEL

First downs                16                    15

Rushes-yards           29-108             36-160

Comp-Att-Int              21-31-2            9-19-2

Passing yards            215                  157

Total yards                  323                  317

Punts-Avg.                3-46.7              2-46

Fumbles-lost               3-1                   2-1

Penalties-yards          10-72               7-45

West Branch           7  6    7   0  –  20

Bellevue                    0  6  15  7  –  28

WB – Beau Cornwell 1 run (Cornwell kick)                                               

WB – Brady Lukavsky 39 pass from Cornwell (Kick failed)                      

BEL – Trey Daugherty 85 kickoff return (Kick failed)                             

BEL – Daugherty 45 pass from Lucas Tennant (Ty Kloser kick)             

WB – Brett Schiele 12 pass from Cornwell (Cornwell kick)                       

BEL – Hunter Clasen 5 run (Clasen run)                                                   

BEL – Clasen 36 run (Kloser kick)                                                             

Individual Statistics

RUSHING – WB: Tanner Lukavsky 15-76, Brett Schiele 3-17, Wyatt Hamby 3-16, Thomas Gould 1-6, Beau Cornwell 9-(-2), team 1-(-5).

PASSING – WB: Beau Cornwell 20-31-2 215.

RECEIVING – WB: Brady Lukavsky 5-66, Brett Schiele 4-22, Trey Eagle 3-27, Tanner Lukavsky 2-40, Thomas Gould 2-34, Zach Thompson 2-15, Wyatt Goodale 1-9, Evan O’Neil 1-4.

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