CEDAR FALLS – You knew they were going to give up something. You don’t face a quarterback headed to Kansas State without expecting to allow a few points.
But what had to be so doggone frustrating for the Dyersville Beckman Blazers on Saturday night was how long it took for that to happen and how little something they actually gave up.
And how little they got themselves.
Jesse Ertz threw a pair of touchdown passes in a span of a minute and 37 seconds late in the second quarter and added another in the fourth as top-ranked Mediapolis moved to the Class 2A championship game with a 19-6 victory at the UNI-Dome.
It was the second year in a row Beckman (11-2) has lost in the semifinals, though this was basically an entirely new cast of players.
“No one gave us a chance this year,” said Beckman running back-defensive back Ian Ross. “They said we were supposed to get fourth in our district and not even make it out of the first round of the playoffs, or even make it to the playoffs. But look where we were? We were in the UNI-Dome, we were in the big show again for a second straight year. It was just a crazy year. Unfortunately it had to end for us tonight.”
Ertz is a 6-foot-5 multi-dimensional quarterback who has set the Iowa record for career TD passes (now 98). He had thrown for 2,400 yards and rushed for another 1,000 this season coming in, accounting for 56 combined touchdowns.
You don’t get recruited by Bill Snyder without being good, and he’s good. But Beckman held the big guy down most of the way — with the exception of roughly five minutes.
“I think we just kind of needed to get our feet wet and kind of settle things down,” Ertz said. “We were real hyped up, a little nervous and jittery. But it’s all about pushing through and figuring out an answer.”
Ertz lofted a perfect fourth-down 3-yard corner fade to John Wagenbach to put Mepo (13-0) on the scoreboard with 2:09 left in the half. That was after a pump-and-go pass to Wagenbach produced 52 yards and a trip to the red zone.
Mediapolis got the ball back at its own 38 with 1:09 remaining, with three Ertz completions accounting for the 72 yards and another touchdown. He hit Wagenbach for the 11-yard score on a corner route.
“They’re a good throwing team,” Ross said. “We just had to try and get some pressure on him, keep with our men on our coverage. Unfortunately there were a few big plays here and there, and that was the difference in the game.”
The true death knell for Beckman came midway through the fourth, after a Drew Foster interception of a Grant Hammann pass. Ertz and Wagenbach hooked up on a 36-yard perfectly executed bubble screen for TD that made it a 19-0 game.
Wagenbach caught nine balls for 176 yards. Ertz completed 13 of 29 for 217, throwing just his second pick of the season in the dying seconds of the opening half. Mepo came in averaging 48 points a game, with a previous game low of 33.
Beckman had 18 first downs but never really got into any sort of consistent offensive rhythm and never produced a big play that would turn momentum. The Blazers reached Mediapolis territory just once in the first half behind just 84 yards.
Their lone score came with 3:21 left on a 5-yard TD pass from Hammann to Mitch Steger.
“I feel like we’ve always been underrated as a defense,” said Wagenbach, also a defensive back. “And tonight it showed.”
Here is the game boxscore:
Mediapolis 19, Dyers. Beck 6
AT AT UNI-DOME
|TEAM STATISTICS||Dyers. Beck||Mediapolis|
|Rushes-yards||46 - 187||24 - 55|
|Comp-Att-Int||12 - 24 - 2||13 - 29 - 1|
|Fumbles-lost||1 - 1||2 - 1|
|Punts-average||5 - 43.2||7 - 38.1|
|Penalties-yards||3 - 20||3 - 25|
Rushing: Dyers-Beck – Ian Ross 19-71 , Kirby Kendrick 10-56 , Grant Hammann 13-54 , Mitch Steger 3-8 Mediapolis – Dalton Scott 14-36 , Jesse Ertz 6-5 , Drew Buster 2-5 , Cole Erickson 1-2
Passing: Dyers-Beck – Grant Hammann 12-24-2-73 Mediapolis – Jesse Ertz 13-29-1-217
Receiving: Dyers-Beck – Mitch Steger 7-29 , Kyle Grover 3-24 , Ian Ross 2-20 Mediapolis – John Wagenbach 9-176 , Seth Bietz 1-21 , Dalton Scott 1-12 , Chase Miller 2-8
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Med-John Wagenbach 3 pass from Jesse Ertz (kick blocked)
Med-Wagenbach 11 pass from Ertz (kick failed)
Med-Wagenbach 36 pass from Ertz (Elijah Wolfe kick)
DB-Mitch Steger 5 pass from Grant Hammann (pass failed)