Cedar Rapids, Iowa News, Sports, and Weather
CEDAR FALLS, Iowa How do you describe a performance like that?
Start with the fact, that unheard-of statistic.
Brendon Boerm posted a head-shaking "triple-triple" (104 rushing yards, 174 passing yards, 112 receiving yards), and third-ranked North Tama overcame an early 20-point deficit to sprint past No. 1 Madrid, 43-34, to capture the Class A football championship Friday afternoon at the UNI-Dome.
He had a hand (or leg, or arm whatever) in all six of the Redhawks' touchdowns as they completed a 14-0 season.
"We've been looking forward to this a long time," said teammate Lucas Hefty. "Ever since we were little, we wanted to play together and win a state championship."
North Tama prevailed despite yielding 453 yards of offense to the Tigers (13-1), including 374 in 64 running plays.
"We've never given up all year," said Boerm, who hauled in a short pass from Jacob Wrage, broke a tackle and turned it into a 52-yard touchdown that gave the Redhawks the lead for good, 36-34, with 3:50 to play, then added the clincher with a 13-yard run after the final of Madrid's three turnovers.
"We've never been the kind of people to give up."
Manhandled through the first 1 1/2 quarters, North Tama built some hope with a TD late in the first half that cut the deficit to 20-8. Then the Redhawks exploded for 35 points after intermission.
"These kids never get too high, never get too low. There are going to be times in which things don't go your way. You have a choice in how you respond," said Redhawks Coach Brent Thoren. "Nothing surprises me. It's just a unique group of kids.
"We have the ability to strike quickly. We just needed to get the ball to our playmakers."
And Boerm is at the top of that list.
He ran for two touchdowns, passed for two more, and hauled in two TD grabs both on direct snaps to Wrage in which Boerm went out for the pass. The name of the play: Flash.
"(Thoren) is a very creative guy," Boerm said. "We never showed that play all year."
Thoren said, "We practice that stuff all the time, and we executed today like we do in practice."
Boerm's second TD pass a 13-yarder to sophomore brother Mitchell Boerm gave the Redhawks their first lead, 29-26, with 7:38 to play.
Madrid answered with a quick drive, capped by Timon Bell's 1-yard run and 2-point run, to take a 34-29 lead with 4:40 remaining.
It was plenty of time for North Tama to score. Twice.
On the third play after the ensuing kickoff, Thoren called for Flash. The Redhawks executed, Boerm got loose, and North Tama had the lead back, this time for good.
Bell fumbled at the Madrid 45 with 3:34 left, then the Redhawks drove for the clincher.
North Tama won its first state championship in a boys' sport. The Redhawks lost a heartbreaker to Southern Cal in the 2008 final, then were stopped in the semifinals last year by Mason City Newman.
Madrid lost for the seventh time in eight finals appearances.
"(Losing a big lead), it's a major disappointment," said Madrid Coach Randy Hinkel. "I think our kids played not to lose, in the second half especially."
The Tigers' pain is the Redhawks' euphoria.
"It's an amazing feeling," Boerm said. "During the season, we had a 24-hour rule (in which to celebrate a win).
"Now we have the forever rule."