Pedersen 18th high school football coach to hit milestone
by Gregory R. Norfleet · News · October 05, 2012

West Branch delivered a punishing 55-20 loss to Sigourney-Keota while giving Head Coach Butch Pedersen his 250th career win Friday in Sigourney.

The Bears led 55-6 at the half and sent in second team for the second half under a continuous clock.

Pedersen said the win is “not my award. It’s our award.”

“I think it is a culmination of a lot of good players I’ve been blessed with over the years, as well as assistant coaches, parents and all of the excellent football fans in the town of West Branch,” he said. “They are all so valuable.”

All of Pedersen’s landmark wins have been on the road.

“To me, the most important thing is that we won a big football game,” he said. “The team was focused at a high level against a solid program.”

Players dumped a cooler of ice water on the 30-year coach in the closing seconds of the game and later presented him with the game ball to celebrate the milestone victory.

Clear Lake’s Fred Wieck became the 17th football coach in Iowa high school history to reach the 250 mark in the first week of the 2012 season; Pedersen became the 18th in the sixth week.

Pedersen reached the 200th win in 2007 against Van Buren in his 25th year of coaching.

The team improves to 4-2 overall, 2-2 in Class 1A District 6.

He told the team in the post-game huddle that he was most pleased that “everybody got to play” in the game.

Co-captain Garett Lynch said it is “definitely a great honor” to play in what became the 250th win.

“We’ve got lots of tradition,” he said. “It’s pretty cool. It’s a big milestone for Butch, and we got to dump water on him!”

Co-captain Michael Madsen said the Bears “came out fired up unlike any other game.”

“We were pushing on their side of the ball, and we did that both offensively and defensively,” he said.

Most of the game was played on the Cobra half of the field, and Madsen said Sigourney players did not put up the fight he expected.

“After we scored that second touchdown, I could feel them giving up,” he said. “I’d hit them once (on a play) and they would just give up.”

He said the scoreboard reflected that.

“To score 55 in the first half is amazing,” he said.

Madsen said he wants the Bears to “play their heart out” in every remaining game this season.

“This season is going to end soon,” he said, “and this game should be a springboard to help us make the playoffs.”

Sigourney-Keota Head Coach Jared Jensen said West Branch “just outplayed us and outmanned us.”

“They looked big on film and bigger in person,” he said.

The Cobras focused on slowing down Cade Jones, who had 141 yards that night, though that turned out to be harder than they expected.

“We wanted to get bodies on him and to get him down,” Jensen said, “but we couldn’t get him down. ... We couldn’t hold on for dear life.”

Sigourney-Keota’s Kolton Greiner was the highlight of the home team, scoring two touchdowns and rushing for 188 yards.

“He’s a great back,” Jensen said. “He’s got great vision and speed.”

Greiner began the season at tailback, but moved to the wing.

“He played hard, no matter what,” the Sigourney-Keota coach said. “We’re proud of him.”

Pedersen said West Branch’s backs “will go as far as the offensive line takes them.”

“The credit goes to those front people,” he said. “They are critical to the success of the team.”

Second are the “great backs” behind the line, he said.

“We can diversify on offense,” Pedersen said, showing Friday that the Bears could advance downfield and score both by running and throwing.

West Branch used a 35-point lead to work on passing plays, and scored after connecting on three of four passes on a single drive.

“When you get a lead like that, you work on various phases of your game,” he said, referring to offensive coach Jarod Tylee. “There are some things we haven’t shown yet.”

Jones and Bower racked up more than 100 yards each Friday — Jones finished with 141 yards and Bower had 117. And six people — Bower, Jones, Brandon Wasion, Michael Gould, Nevin Tucker and Drew Walter — shared scoring duties that night.

Scoring drives

In the first-ever matchup between these two teams, West Branch kicked to Sigourney to open the game, and the Cobras opened on their own 31.

The home team moved the ball 15 yards in four plays then threw a lofty pass which Bear senior Bo Bower intercepted.

Starting on the Cobra 41, senior running back Cade Jones ran the ball twice and scored from five yards out two minutes into the game. The extra-point was blocked.

West Branch kicked off and Sigourney started on their own 30. After losing three yards, the Cobras handed the ball to junior wingback Kolton Greiner, who zipped through the line and broke away for a 73-yard touchdown run. The extra-point was blocked, and the score was tied 6-6 just 44 seconds after the Bears scored.

West Branch started its next drive at their own 42, and Jones and Bower took turns moving it to the 23. Jones broke away for what appeared to be a touchdown, but was called back on a penalty. Four plays later, Bower ran it in from six yards out. This time, kicker Brandon Wasion sent it through the uprights for a 13-6 Bears lead.

Sigourney went three-and-out and, facing fourth-and-13 at their own 25, punted it out of bounds to the Cobra 31.

The Bears used Jones and junior Michael Gould to run the ball, and Gould broke away for a 24-yard run into the far left corner. Wasion’s kick put West Branch ahead 20-6.

“We’d like to get it so we don’t show tendencies,” Pedersen said. “Gould is very good, and that’s a real plus for us on offense.”

The Cobras again went three-and-out and West Branch found themselves on the Sigourney 45. Overlapping into the second quarter, on the second play, Bower rushed 14 yards for another Bear touchdown. Again, the kick was good and West Branch improved to 27-6 after 26 seconds into the second quarter.

The Cobras went three-and-out again, pushed back to a fourth-and-29 at their own 3. The punt went high and lofty and rolled to the Cobra 26. Jones needed only one play and eight seconds to zip into the end zone. Wasion’s kick made it 34-6.

An offsides call against Sigourney gave the Bears five more yards on the kickoff, and the Cobras started at their own 15. They managed nine yards before punting, and the ball rolled out at the Bears 38. On a wildcat play, Bower, taking the quarterback position, kept the ball, found a hole and ran straight up the middle for another one-play touchdown, covering 62 yards in 11 seconds. Again Wasion’s kick flew through the goalposts and the Bears led by 35 points less than halfway through the second quarter.

The Cobras would end up punting again, only managing four net yards, and the Bears had the ball again less than two minutes later on the Sigourney 45. West Branch switched to passing plays. Quarterback Cole Cook threw three-for-four on the drive. A pass to senior tight end Drew Walter picked up 15 yards, then another to junior wingback Tyler Donovan pulled in 18 more. A Cobra penalty gave West Branch five yards, then Cook turned to Walter for a seven-yard touchdown reception. Wasion’s leg, thoroughly warmed up by now, sent the football again through the uprights. Bears up 48-6.

“Cole threw the ball extremely well,” Pedersen said. “It was really gratifying to see that.”

Again Sigourney would punt before earning a first down and Donovan brought it back to the West Branch 30. The Bears managed 22 yards on the ground before calling a time-out with 1:07 left to the half and 48 yards away. Cook picked up four yards himself then took to the air, finding Walter for gains of 10 and 9 yards. Enter junior wideout Nevin Tucker, who cut into the middle of the field to pull down a 25-yard touchdown reception while banging into a couple of Cobra defenders. Wasion’s kick made it 55-6 with 39.2 seconds left to the half.

“Nevin’s got great hands,” Pedersen said. “It took a while for him to understand our passing routes to the degree of accuracy necessary, but he made a great catch over the middle and was extremely excited (to score). He earned that.”

In the third quarter, the Bears sent in second team. With a 49-point lead, the continuous clock rule kicked in, only stopping at touchdowns and timeouts in the next 24 minutes.

The Bears received to open the half and ended up punting. Sigourney managed a first down, but a fumble on the handoff was recovered by junior lineman Justin Roth, one of the few starters still in the game.

The Bears would end up punting again from midfield to the Cobra 15. Sigourney got the ball back to their own 36, entered the fourth quarter, gathered nine more yards and handed the ball off to sophomore back Cole Streigle, who ran 55 yards for the second touchdown for the home team. Quarterback Luke Lyle connected with senior Jackson Davis for a two-point conversion, and it was 55-14.

The Bears drove the ball back 29 yards by spreading the rush to senior Mathis Kane, senior Nick Westcott and junior Jon Gingerich. Facing a fourth-and-four at the Cobra 36, Donovan punted and it rolled out of bounds at the Sigourney 3.

“We’re getting steady play out of Tyler Donovan in every game,” Pedersen said. “He punted the ball extremely well and is a very consistent football player.”

Despite poor field position, the Cobras soon put the ball in Greiner’s hands, and he broke away for a 91-yard touchdown run, quickly capping off a 97-yard drive. The two-point conversion was fumbled, but Sigourney managed to reduce its deficit to 35 points with a 55-20 score.

The remaining 2 1/2 minutes ran out with the Bears in possession.

Pedersen said Walter is emerging as a strong receiver this season and that the Bear defense is “improving.”

He noted that Greiner’s 73-yard touchdown made up all but four yards of the Cobra’s first half rushing.

“That was a pretty good effort (by the defense),” the coach said.

Pedersen said he was glad that a lot of Bears saw playing time Friday and he praised special teams.

“Our kick off team is really good and I was very impressed — they got down and were looking for somebody (to tackle) every time,” he said. “We wanted to turn this game into a street fight. In order to be successful, you have to play physical, to intimidate by being hard-hitting and passionate. I think we showed that.”

North Cedar next

West Branch will face North Cedar in the homecoming football game, and Pedersen reminds fans that for three years, “this game has been extremely big on our schedule.”

The Knights are winless this season, but Pedersen said there is no temptation to think this will be an easy win.

“Because it’s North Cedar — we can’t afford to let up,” he said. “We have to establish our superiority.”

The North Cedar game is an oddity this year. With schools reshuffled, the Knights remain a Class 1A team, but were moved to District 5 this year. Yet they will play West Branch in a non-district district match-up to help keep schedules full.

West Branch 55,

Sigourney-Keota 20


West Branch 20 35 0 0 55

Sigourney 6 0 0 14 20

First quarter

WB: Cade Jones 5 run, kick blocked; 10:00

S-K: Kolton Greiner 73 run, kick blocked; 9:16

WB: Bo Bower 6 run, Brandon Wasion kick; 5:44

WB: Michael Gould 24 run, Wasion kick; 2:34

Second quarter

WB: Bower 14 run, Wasion kick; 11:34

WB: Jones 26 run, Wasion kick; 9:11

WB: Bower 62 run, Wasion kick; 6:49

WB: Cole Cook 7 pass to Drew Walter, Wasion kick; 3:53

WB: Cole Cook 25 pass to Nevin Tucker, Wasion kick; 39.2 seconds

Fourth quarter

S-K: Luke Lyle 55 pass to Cole Streigle, Lyle pass to Jackson Davis; 11:08

S-K: Greiner 91 run; run failed; 2:32


First downs 19 6

Rushes-yds. 39-351 37-278

Passing yds. 84 18

Att.-Cmp.-Int. 8-6-0 3-1-1

Fumbles-lost 0-0 1-1

Punts-ave. 3-33.3 6-27

Pen.-yds. 2-15 6-33

RUSHING — Bo Bower 7-117, 3 TDs; Cole Cook 2-7; Jon Gingerich 4-44; Michael Gould 2-28, 1 TD; Cade Jones 12-141, 2 TDs; Mathis Kane 7-10; Nick Westcott 5-4

PASSING — Cole Cook 6-84, 2 TDs

RECEIVING — Tyler Donovan 1-19; Nevin Tucker 1-25, 1 TD; Drew Walter 4-40, 1 TD

TACKLES (solos-assists-sacks) — Bo Bower 1-3-0; Cole Cook 0-1-0; Tyler Donovan 0-3-0; Coleman Fenner 1-2-0; Jon Gingerich 1-3-0; Michael Gould 3-8-0; Cade Jones 1-1-0; Mathis Kane 0-1-0; Garett Lynch 1-5-0; Michael Madsen 1-3-0; Drake Martens 1-1-0; Nick Westcott 0-3-0; Casey Pence 0-1-0; Justin Roth 1-4-0; Mitch Skay 1-5-0; Jon St. John 1-2-0; Josh St. John 1-2-0; Joe Tatman 0-3-0; Nevin Tucker 1-5-0; Drew Walter 0-1-0

Kick returns: Michael Gould 3-50; Nevin Tucker 1-17

Punt returns-Yards: Tyler Donovan 1-17; Michael Gould 1-10

Kickoffs: Brandon Wasion 9-418

Punting: Tyler Donovan 3-100

PATs: Brandon Wasion 7-8

Interceptions: Bo Bower 1

Fumble recoveries: Justin Roth 1

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