The Bulldogs have been the football team to beat in the Quad City area for decades now, and Pleasant Valley will now get another shot at taking the powerhouse down. After PV clinched their playoff spot last Friday, they drew the 8-1 Bulldogs to play in the first round of 4-A playoffs at TouVelle Stadium this Friday.
Meanwhile, last Friday the Bulldogs cruised to a district championship against runner up Davenport Central. The game was an defensive domination keeping the Blue Devils without a score the whole game. The offensive was, per usual, efficient and found the end zone consistently.
The standouts for last Friday’s game include none other than quarterback Carter Bell with another impressive Friday night lights showing. Bell completed 14 of 17 passing attempts for an 82.4 percent completion rate and did not throw an interception, continuing his streak this season. Bell threw for 156 yards and three touchdowns on the night. Bell also rushed for 42 yards and had the Bulldogs’ only two rushing touchdowns of the night.
Along with Bell, receiver Ben WIlson had quite a game at Brady Street last week. The senior totaled six receptions for 86 yards and found the end zone once. Running back Nijel McIntosh did not find the end zone against the Blue Devils, but did lead the team in rushing yards with 61 on the night.
The defense, once again, had another dominating performance. Keeping Davenport from reaching the end zone the entire game, it is Bettendorf’s third straight shutout. The Bulldogs have not been scored on since playing Clinton on Homecoming (9-29-2017, almost a month without being scored on). Against the Blue Devils, seniors Jatten Kuhrt, Mason Morris, and Dustin Harris all eclipsed five total tackles each. Luke Soko and Rocky Schoenfelder each picked up a sack on Friday as well.
The Bulldogs look to repeat their victory over Pleasant Valley earlier in the season in the first round of the 2017 4-A playoffs. Both teams have improved over the season, but Bettendorf has seen a lot more publicity and notice from the state. Since losing to Bettendorf in mid-September, the Spartans have gone 4-1, losing to district champion North Scott (who will take on Davenport Central on the other side of the playoff bracket).
Looking at the raw statistics, the game on Friday stacks up to be another exciting matchup against the crosstown rivals. While the stats have much higher numbers than when the two teams previously met, the base foundation of trends is still the same. Bettendorf has much more talent on the passing game, with Bell competing at a level rivaled only by the top quarterbacks in the entire state. He has a 71.8 percent pass completion rate on 110 passing attempts (79/110) while Spartan quarterback Max Slavens sits at 48 percent on 98 attempts (47/98). Slavens has a 152 point quarterback rating and has thrown two interceptions on the season. In contrast, Bell sits at second in the state in QBR of starting 4-A quarterbacks with 210.5 points and has yet to throw an interception.
On the other hand, the rushing game leans towards Pleasant Valley with three-year varsity running back Arthur Braden. Braden sits at ninth in 4-A in rushing yards with 1241. He has eclipsed 3,000 rushing yards on his high school career and in this season alone has scored 31 percent of PV’s total points. McIntosh for the Bulldogs has been efficient, finding the end zone consistently this season and has a 9.3 yards per carry statistic. Compared to the other local running backs, McIntosh has seen significantly fewer snaps due to the team’s success and playing of second and third string running backs in blowouts, which has happened in every game since Pleasant Valley and Bettendorf last met.
The Bulldogs will look once again to stop the impressive run game PV has to offer with Braden and with a strong rush defense, while also trying to beat a skilled Spartan secondary with McIntosh’s rushing and Bell’s increasingly talented passing game. The first round of the playoffs is set for TouVelle Stadium this Friday, and it is one of the fiercest rivalries in 4-A football with the Bulldogs trying to get back to the dome as it has so many times in the past, and PV trying get there for the first time in their school’s history.