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Sports

September 8, 2013

Bacone struggles early, can’t catch up

If defense is what you fancy, then Saturday’s game between Bacone and Northwestern (Iowa) would not have made you happy.

The Warriors (1-1) and Red Raiders (1-0) combined 1,080 yards of total offense and 13 touchdowns as Northwestern beat Bacone 55-37 on Creek Nation Field at Indian Bowl.

And the offensive fireworks started in the first quarter as Northwestern piled up 180 yards on offense to Bacone’s 84 on its way to a 28-6 lead. Half of the Red Raiders’ advantage could be attributed to Bacone mistakes – one fumble lost, a 16-yard punt deep in its own territory and a safety.

“It was very disappointing how we came out defensively,” said Bacone coach Trevor Rubly, his team falling to 1-1. “I haven’t see us play like that since I’ve been here. We just were not physical and we were not in the right place.”

The win was Northwestern’s season opener.

Lost in the defeat was the play of Bacone quarterback Karl Birkenfield, who shared signal-calling duties with Kyle Kuban. Birkenfield completed 22 of 33 passes for 335 yards and one touchdown while rushing for 61 yards on 15 carries and three touchdowns.

“We both feed off each other,” Birkenfield said. “We both knew the middle of the field would be open. We knew if we could create enough time for us, it would be there.”

However, NW quarterback Davis Bloemendaal was just as impressive completing 17 of 25 attempts for 316 yards and four touchdowns. Rubly places the success of the Red Raiders squarely on his shoulders.

“We kept trying to make plays that aren’t ours to make,” Rubly said. “We were just really bad defensively and that’s on me. I’m the defensive coordinator and the head coach and that’s my part. Believe me, we’re going to get it fixed, and if we don’t we’re going to have different people playing.”

David Chapman led Bacone in receiving, hauling in three passes for 127 yards and one touchdown while Ben Green led Northwestern with 177 yards on seven receptions and three TDs.

“All you can ask for is to play hard and give yourself a chance to win,” Kuban said. “Northwestern is the team we want to be. They’re disciplined, they’re well-coached and they don’t beat themselves.”

The game started with both teams having to punt on its initial possession. But it was Bacone’s short punt that set up the Red Raiders for their first score, a 23-yard run by Theo Bartman that put Northwestern up 6-0 after the point-after attempt was blocked.

On the Warriors’ next possession, Kuban fumbled the snap and it was recovered by NW’s Greg Hegstad on the Bacone 13. On the first play, Bloemendaal busted through the line and sprinted to the far corner of the end zone to give NW a 12-0 advantage just 4:07 into the first quarter.

The missed PATs by the Red Raiders were made up for when Kuban was sacked in the end zone for a safety, giving Northwestern a 14-0 lead. Northwestern would add another touchdown three minutes later before Bacone would get on the board when Birkenfield connected with Larry Stokes for a 20-yard score to cut the deficit to 21-6 with 1:25 left in the first quarter.

Northwestern wasted very little time in getting those points back as the Red Raiders raced 64 yards in four plays, culminating with a 20-yard TD strike from Bloemendaal to Bartman to make the score 28-6 at the end of the quarter.

“We started exactly the way we started last week,” Rubly said. “Northwestern’s a playoff team and you can’t do that against a team like them. No disrespect to McPherson (Bacone’s opponent last week), but Northwestern is there and Bacone and McPherson are trying to get to that level.”

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