A look at the score would make you think that Bethel sent their basketball team to Iowa this weekend, but an unbelievable offensive showing by both teams resulted in 1468-yards of total offense in the 70-53 Dubuque victory. It was 27-points scored by the Spartans in the fourth quarter that led the comeback and gave the home team the victory, despite 415-yards passing by Royals quarterback Andrew Dzurik.
The first quarter was a “defensive” struggle, as much as any part of this game was, as only three-touchdowns were scored in the quarter. Dubuque scored first when they took the opening kickoff and moved 75-yards in 16-plays for the touchdown. Connor Feckley’s 18-yard pass to Najee Toomer capped off the drive and made it 7-0.
On the Royals second drive they would tie the score. Gunner Bloom added a big 19-yard run on the second play of the drive and Bridgeport Tusler’s 24-yard run for a touchdown would make it 7-7.
Bethel would score on their next drive as well. Dzurik completed four of his five passes on the drive, including a 46-yarder to Bryce Marquardt that would go for a touchdown. The extra-point was good and the Royals had the 14-7 lead. Then the game got crazy in terms of offense.
In the second quarter, the two teams would combine for 35-points as they would head into the locker room tied at 28. The Spartans began their next possession from their own 35, and methodically moved 65-yards in 12-plays to tie the score.
On their next possession, Dubuque would take the lead. It took just one play to do so, when Feckley hit a streaking Jonathan Duarte for 60-yards for the score. That made it 21-14.
The Royals tied it up on their next possession. To the ground the team went, as they rushed 10 times in the 13-play drive. Tusler’s second touchdown of the game was from 2-yards out to tie it at 21.
Back the other way Dubuque went to retake the lead, and it was the big play that did it for them again. Feckley took possession at his own 35 and, this time, he found Toomer for 65-yards and the touchdown.
The video game scoring did not end there, however. Bethel came right back to tie the score. Dzurik found Neville for 17-yards on second and 10, and Bloom had a big 13-yard carry on the drive. Tusler’s 12-yard run for a touchdown, his third of the day, made it 28 apiece.
In the first half, 14 possessions had resulted in eight touchdowns, and it was only about to get crazier. Bethel took the opening kickoff of the second half and moved 75-yards in 7-plays to make it 34-28. Tusler scored his fourth TD of the game on a 15-yard scamper, but the extra point attempt was blocked.
On the Royals next possession, they would turn to the big play. Dzurik took the ball at his own 37 and, on the first play, he went up top to Marquardt for 63-yards and a touchdown. The two-point conversion failed and it was 40-28.
Dubuque then responded with a methodical 12-play, 81-yard drive that they would score on. Feckley completed seven-passes on the drive, including an 11-yarder to Toomer for the score. That made it 40-35.
Bethel would then put up another touchdown the next time they had the ball. Tusher’s fifth touchdown of the game, a six-yard run, capped off the drive. Bloom also had a 13-yard carry on the drive and Neuville had a 13-yard reception.
Dubuque would use the big play again on their next possession. On the second play of the drive, the Spartans QB went up for Toomer, hitting him for a 63-yard score and it was 46-43. That is how the third quarter would end.
In the fourth quarter, Dubuque just took control of the game. An 81-yard pass from Feckley to Toomer on the first play of their next possession put them back on top 49-46. That was Toomer’s fourth touchdown reception of the game, and all four had been at least 60-yards in length.
On their next possession they would extend their lead to 10. Maurece Herrion scored from 6-yards out to make it 56-46.
Two possessions later they would score again. After the Royals were stopped on fourth and 9 from their own 38, Feckley hit Duarte for a 43-yard score to make it 63-46.
Bethel responded with a 68-yard pass play from Dzurik to Marquardt, but the Spartans got it right back when Herrion rushed 40-yards for a touchdown. That gave the final score of 70-53.
Feckley was 31-47 for 634-yards and 8-touchdown passes. Herrion added 87-yards and 2-TDs on the ground. Toomer had 10-catches for 297-yard and 5-TDs. Duarte added 117-yards receiving and 2-scores.
For Bethel, Dzurik was just brilliant. He threw for 415-yards and 3-TDs on 32-48 passing. Bloom rushed for 116-yards and Tusler had 111-yards rushing and 5-TDs. Marquardt made 9-catches for 219-yards and 3-scores.
The Bethel Royals will host Carthage next Saturday afternoon. Game time is 1:00 PM
By Robert Pannier