BAXTER — Baxter’s football team scored on its first seven possessions and rushed for a program-record 588 yards and the Bolts ended the regular season with a 74-61 home win over Colo-NESCO on Senior Night.
Rory Heer set program records with 324 rushing yards and seven rushing touchdowns on 22 carries and Cody Damman added 266 yards and four TDs on 24 carries during Class 8-man District 5 action on Oct. 9.
The Bolts attempted only three passes in the game and the only completion was a 15-yard pass from Damman to Heer.
“Our kids ran hard and we are pretty good up front,” Baxter coach Rob Luther said.
“I have coached for 31 years and I have never had a football game where we completed one pass.”
Every team makes the postseason in this COVID-19 season. The Bolts take on Iowa Valley (3-4) at 7 p.m. on Oct. 16 in Marengo.
Baxter is part of 8-man Pod 8. The other game is West Central Maynard (0-6) and Gladbrook-Reinbeck (7-0).
It was a banner game for the Bolts’ offensive line, which includes Nate McMinamen, Micah Kearns and Trice Clapper.
McMinamen also had a career-high 16 tackles for the Baxter defense.
Baxter led 20-0 after one quarter. The defense forced a three-and-out, a four-and-out and another three-and-out on the Royals’ first three possessions.
Heer scored on an 8-yard TD run to put the Bolts on the board and then Damman added a 9-yard TD run to make it 12-0.
On the first drive of the game, Heer got loose for a 30-yard run after back-to-back 12-yard runs by Damman.
The second drive started on Colo-NESCO’s 35-yard line. The Bolts scored in six plays, highlighted by a 14-yard run by Heer and the 9-yard TD scamper by Damman.
Baxter’s third possession ended in two plays with Damman scoring on a 51-yard touchdown run.
Colo-NESCO got its offense rolling in the second quarter, scoring 34 points in the period. But Baxter countered with 28 points of its own.
In the second, Heer scored on runs of 11, 52 and 23 yards and Damman added a 3-yard TD run with 39 seconds to play until halftime.
“I was the beneficiary of the team,” Heer said. “Our guys up front were moving them around and I just hit the hole. I try to read the blocks and whatever happens after happens.”
The first drive of the second quarter for Baxter was a two-play drive that started with a 42-yard run by Damman and ended with the Heer 11-yard TD.
The second possession of the period was only one play and it was a 52-yard TD run by Heer.
Heer needed two plays to score on the next possession as he went for 15 and 23 yards to extend the lead to 40-20.
There were four TDs scored in the final four minutes of the second quarter.
Damman started the Bolts’ final possession of the half with a 54-yard run and ended it with a 3-yard TD run. The drive took less than a minute and pushed Baxter’s advantage to 48-27 with 39 seconds on the clock.
Colo-NESCO scored its final TD of the half with 14 seconds on the clock. Luther called timeout just before Brandon Roberts went 43 yards for the TD on third and five.
“I tried to play the possession game at the end of the first half when I called timeout but then they scored,” Luther said.
“So that backfired. We wanted to get the ball back with about 20 seconds and then I would have taken a shot. And we started the second half with the ball.”
The biggest issue in the first half for Baxter was failing to convert on four of its seven two-point conversions. The Bolts also couldn’t cash in on three two-point tries in the second half.
“Those are huge. We go for two because we are 50 percent or better most years,” Luther said.
“But it’s been bad this year. I don’t know if we are over thinking it. We probably could have just ran for most of them. We practiced them all this week and then they gave us a different look on the goal line. That has to be a focus for us because we could be in more shootouts.”
Baxter (3-4 overall, 2-4 in district play) outscored the Royals 14-6 in the third.
Heer opened the second half with a 40-yard run. Four plays later, he went in from three yards out.
Damman’s 15-yard pass to Heer came on the next drive and Damman scored on a 13-yard run to make it 62-34.
“We thought we’d be able to run the ball,” Heer said. “When you can move the ball on the ground that well, and if it works, I don’t see any reason to go away from it. That’s all on our coaches. It was a great game plan.”
Baxter scored 12 points in the fourth quarter. Heer had a 26-yard TD run and a 47-yard TD sprint in the period. The Bolts scored 74 points and did not score on their final two possessions.
Luther and Heer both were not happy with the play of the Bolts’ defense after the early stops.
Luther said it might have been his team’s worst defensive performance of the season.
Colo-NESCO (2-5, 2-5) dropped a few passes early that would have led to big plays and the Royals also had a lot of success on their tight end reverses.
“We had guys playing in different spots tonight, but we have to adjust,” Heer said. “We can’t give up 60 points. We have to be better on defense.”
Heer finished 12.5 tackles, Damman had 10 tackles and Grant Borts, Jake Travis and Cael Shepley all tallied 7.5 tackles. Clapper collected 6.5 tackles.
Notes: Heer now has 1,012 rushing yards and 12 rushing TDs on the season. Damman is up to 720 rushing yards and 12 TDs. ... Andrew Grover led Colo-NESCO with 173 rushing yards, 70 receiving yards and one TD. ... The Bolts have held a lead at halftime in six of their seven games this season.