Photo by Rob Howe
Your Prep Sports
West Branch has proven this season it has an offense capable of piling up points.
The West Branch defense showed again on Friday it can get into the scoring act as well.
West Branch used a pair of defensive touchdowns to pull away from upstart North Cedar for a 42-21 win in a Class 1A, District 4 matchup at Doug Jackson Field in Stanwood.
Wyatt Goodale returned a fumble for a touchdown and Tanner Lukavsky returned an interception for a score for the second week in a row as fifth-ranked West Branch improved to 6-0 and 2-0 in district play.
North Cedar (4-2) had a four-game winning streak snapped with the loss and dropped to 1-1 in district play.
Lukavsky rushed for 103 yards and two touchdowns and Trey Eagle caught a touchdown pass for the fifth consecutive game as West Branch outscored the Knights 14-0 in the second half.
Goodale started the scoring with a 19-yard touchdown grab from Gavin Hierseman and put the Bears up 14-0 when he scooped up a fumble and raced 22 yards for a touchdown.
North Cedar pulled even at 14-14 in the second quarter but Lukavsky gave the Bears a lead they would never give up.
The senior scored the first of his three touchdowns on 1-yard run and then put West Branch up 28-14 when he returned an interception 54 yards for a touchdown for his third defensive score of the season and fifth of his career.
West Branch has scored a defensive touchdown in four of six games this season and has five defensive scores on the year.
North Cedar trailed just 28-21 at halftime but West Branch put the game out of reach in the final 24 minutes.
Lukavsky scored on a 30-yard run and Eagle caught a 7-yard touchdown pass from Gavin Hierseman to cap the scoring.
Hierseman finished 7-fo-14 for 89 yards and two scores and also rushed for 51 yards.
Jeff Bowie led the West Branch defensive effort with 3.5 tackles for loss and a sack while Goodale and Dalyn Pedersen each added sacks.
Dakota Kaalberg and Cael Fiderlein each had 6.5 tackles with Morgan Hartz, Brad Hunger and Pedersen each finishing with two tackles for loss.
WB – Wyatt Goodale 19 pass from Gavin Hierseman (Cael Fiderlein kick)
WB – Goodale 22 fumble return (Fiderlein kick)
WB – Tanner Lukavsky 1 run (Fiderlein kick)
WB – Tanner Lukavsky 54 interception return (Fiderlein kick)
WB – Tanner Lukavsky 30 run (Fiderlein kick)
WB – Trey Eagle 7 pass from Hierseman (Fiderlein kick)
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