Photo by Jeff Yoder
Your Prep Sports
With Beau Cornwell at quarterback the West Branch offense has enjoyed plenty of impressive performances over the past two seasons.
Led by Cornwell the Bears have eclipsed 400 yards of offense seven times and scored 45 or more points seven times since the start of last season.
West Branch and its senior quarterback have never had a game quite like Friday night’s regular season finale against Dyersville Beckman.
Cornwell threw for 331 yards and four touchdowns as Class 1A sixth-ranked West Branch (8-1) rolled up 563 total yards in a 48-24 win at Dyersville Beckman.
The Bears had 232 rushing yards, 43 coming from Cornwell, as West Branch finished with the second most total yards in program history.
“We had our moments when we had some big plays but it was nice to have a game where everything was just flowing, running game, passing game everything on the offensive end was coming together,” Cornwell said. “Receivers were catching a lot of balls, Tanner (Lukavsky) was running hard, our line was blocking good so it was just all around a good overall offensive game.”
Cornwell played a key role in the offensive explosion on Friday.
The 6-foot-2, 185-pound senior completed 22-of-31 passes while posting the second highest passing output of his career and matching his career-high with four touchdown passes.
Cornwell passed for a career-high 343 yards in a win over Bellevue last season.
While Cornwell was at his statistical best on Friday it was his ability to lead the offense that helped West Branch to one of the top offensive games in program history.
“It would have to be one of my top games of my career just efficiency wise and decision making and leadership wise,” Cornwell said. “I was trying to get all the guys going and keep their heads up throughout the game when Beckman would make a big play.”
Cornwell completed passes to six different players as juniors Trey Eagle and Tanner Lukavsky each finished with more than 100 receiving yards.
Eagle had a career-high eight catches for 118 yards and three touchdowns while senior Brett Schiele had a 19-yard touchdown pass.
“The confidence for all of our receivers have just skyrocketed,” Cornwell said. “As a defense if you are going to cover Trey you are going to leave Brett open. If you cover both of those guys you are going to leave Thomas (Gould) or Zach (Thompson) open and if you cover all of them you are going to leave Tanner open. It’s really nice to have all these weapons around me so I can just look at the defense see where the open spot is and just throw it.”
The game was the latest in a string of strong senior season outings for Cornwell who ranks sixth in Class 1A with 1,710 passing yards.
Cornwell threw for 2,125 yards in 10 games last season but has upped his efficiency as a senior, completing 68 percent of his passes which ranks fifth in the state among quarterbacks with 100 attempts.
His four touchdown passes on Friday give Cornwell 20 for the season against just three interceptions.
“Coach (John) Hierseman really makes it easy for me as a quarterback,” Cornwell said. “He is always putting me in situations that he knows I will be successful in and will make the team successful.”
The win on Friday secured a spot in the 1A playoffs and sends West Branch into the its opening-round contest at Osage (7-2) riding a four-game winning streak.
West Branch is averaging 38.5 points per game during that stretch.
“Coming into this game we were saying that it was like a first-round playoff game for us,” Cornwell said. “Cascade was like another playoff game and now we just need to keep it going this week.”