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Bruckhoff throws first two varsity TD passes as Forest City routs Lake Mills
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Bruckhoff throws first two varsity TD passes as Forest City routs Lake Mills


Carter Bruckhoff looked back on his film last year and couldn't believe some of the throws he made.

"Yes, some of the decisions I made last year were not so hot," Forest City's starting quarterback said. "Can't live in the past."

After his first career varsity season in which he battled different quarantine periods and finished with zero touchdown passes and 10 interceptions, Bruckhoff had a big reason to smile on Saturday.

On third and goal from the Lake Mills five-yard line, Bruckhoff bootlegged to the right and found his top receiver in Kellen Moore for his first career varsity touchdown pass in the Indians 43-6 rout over the Bulldogs in Forest City.

It marks the first time since 2009 that Forest City ended up on top.

"It has been a long time coming," Bruckhoff said.

It took 19 hours for that moment to happen.

The Winnebago County rivalry contest was originally scheduled to be played in Lake Mills. After a heavy dose of rain, thunder and lightning, throughout North Iowa on Friday, the game was postponed to Saturday in Forest City due to the football field having turf.

Yet Mother Nature still threw a wrench in the plans.

More rain pelted the area in the morning and early afternoon. It resulted from a rescheduled 11 a.m. kickoff to be pushed back to 2 p.m.

"We stayed focused the whole time," sophomore Jack Thompson said. "The seniors this year, they stepped up and (are) being some great leaders."

It took all of 16 seconds for fireworks to be on display.

After returning the opening kickoff 39 yards, Thompson got the handoff on the option and bolted 55 yards untouched for his first career varsity touchdown.

One play and an 8-0 Forest City lead.

"I've had a lot of touchdowns, but that was the best one I've ever had," Thompson said. "I think I can do a lot of things. My speed helps with that a lot."

What Indians head coach Chad Moore had questions about was who would step up and handle touches out of the backfield and how his offensive line, with one starter back, would look.

Both questions, at least for Week 1, were answered.

Thompson, Kellen Moore, Andy Olson and Robay Birri all registered over 50 yards on the ground and combined for three of the four rushing touchdowns.

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Olson got the bulk of the carries with 12 for 78 yards; Thompson led the way with 90; Birri sprinted 42 yards down the left sideline with 3 minutes, 51 seconds left in the third quarter.

The Indians finished with 19 first downs.

"They did answer the bell today," coach Moore said. "I guess we have that expectation to finish out our assignments. I was pleased with our running game and our offensive line. Really excited about where they can potentially go."

Even Lake Mills head coach Bill Byrnes admitted this game came down to the trenches.

"I would say so," Byrnes said. "That front, they were better than we were. Our inexperience showed."

Forest City's defense turned Bulldogs quarterback Bennett Berger over three times, two of them interceptions from Birri and Kellen Moore. It limited them to 107 yards on the ground.

Its secondary held Kadin Abele to one catch for nine yards. And Berger didn't have a whole lot of time to throw, either.

"We still have quite a few seniors on the defensive side of the ball," Bruckhoff said. "I think it showed. Our defense grinded tonight, they really battled. I'm happy they kept some of their receivers to low numbers."

Bruckhoff's father and one of the Indians assistants, Jason, worked with him in the offseason to become a better quarterback after his junior year. Carter called the summer work "A grind."

"I feel a lot more comfortable in the offense we run this year," Carter said.

It paid off.

The right-hander plunged forward for a 1-yard score then found Truman Knudston late in the third quarter for a 17-yard touchdown to put the game into a running clock for the rest of the day.

Carter finished with 46 yards on 4-of-11 for the day. That was not what impressed coach Moore.

"He was poised, he was confident," he said. "We know he's an athlete. We tailored some things around him to build up that confidence. He took a big stride forward."

The Bulldogs avoided the shutout on an 8-yard touchdown throw from Berger to Logan Bacon on fourth and goal late in the third quarter. Beau Kaufman led them with 59 rushing yards on 15 carries.

They went three-and-out three times in the first half, turned the ball over on downs twice for the game. Outside of the 11-play, 64-yard scoring drive, their longest drive went nine plays.

"With our offense, we got to be able to run the football and throw when we want to," Byrnes said. "This is a character building game."

Forest City welcomes Spirit Lake to town now on a short week. Lake Mills faces Central Springs next week before it opens Class A district play against West Hancock.

Both coaches know Week 1 does not a season make. For them, it is all about growth.

"Win, lose or draw, we want to see improvements," coach Moore said. "We're striving to be our best by Week 9. We need that competition next week."

Zach Martin is a sports reporter for the Globe Gazette. Reach him via email at and follow him on Twitter @zach_martin95.


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