HARTINGTON — Endurance and persistence paid off for Coach Chad Cattau’s Cedar Catholic football team Friday.
Throw in turnovers, multiple offensive weapons and some dominating line play, and it all added up to a big 24-21 overtime win over C1 powerhouse Battle Creek Friday afternoon at Russ Hochstein Field.
Cedar Catholic got off to a slow start against a very speedy team Friday as the Braves’ Reece Bode gathered in the opening kick off and raced up the field on a 41-yard return to give the Braves great field position. He then took the first handoff of the game and rambled through the Cedar defense on a 14-yard gainer. The Braves stud running back took a breather the next play, but got the ball on the third play from scrimmage and raced past the defense on a 25-yard touchdown jaunt.
The Trojans didn’t fare so well on their first drive as it ended after nine plays when the Braves forced a fumble at the 39 yard line. The two teams traded punts and turnovers for the rest of the opening frame and halfway into the second frame.
Cedar forced a fumble on the Braves 23 yard-line and the Trojans scored six plays later when Tate Thoene found a hole and cruised into the endzone from 10 yards out with 5:14 left in the half. Noah Arens’ kick then knotted the score at 7-7.
Cedar Catholic Coach Chad Cattau said he knew his team could play better, and they proved it after the first quarter.
“We absolutely put ourselves in a hole early in this game because of things we were doing. We played so much better after the first half,” he told the team after the game.
Cedar got off to a good start in the second half when Grant Arens returned the opening kick 17 yards to the Cedar 41.
It was the Easton Becker show from then on out. Becker took the first handoff and headed to the left. He bulled through the right side of the line on the next play, and went up the middle on his next carry. When the drive was over 69 yards later, Becker had carried nine times for 51 yards and a touchdown to put the Trojans on top 14-7.
Coach Cattau said he wasn’t afraid to lean on Becker and the run game because the offensive line was clicking.
”I thought our offensive line really stepped up. I mean we played hard,” he said. “We didn’t panic and we stepped up.”
The Cedar defense had another breakdown a few minutes later when Bode escaped on a 50-yard TD scamper. Cedar blocked the extra point kick, though and the Trojans led 14-13 with 2:10 left in the third quarter.
Becker continued to run through the Battle Creek defense the rest of the night, ending the contest with a team-high 181 yards on 34 carries. Bode paced the BC ground attack with 205 yards on 34 carries.
The Trojans got some breathing room when Becker found paydirt from two-yards out to end a nine-play drive with 9:18 left in the game to make it 21-13 after Noah Arens’ kick.
BC knotted it up at 21-21 when Bode capped a 12-play, 81-yard drive with a two-yard TD dive and the Braves found the endzone on the two-point conversion.
Noah Arens booted the field goal in overtime to put Cedar up 24-21 and the Cedar defense stiffened to keep the Braves from scoring to give the Trojans the win.
“They worked hard and good things happened for them.”
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