By Brenden West
Assistant Sports Editor
Give Easton McDaniel some space and the opposing defense is going to pay.
On Camanche’s second play from scrimmage, the Indians already down 7-0 to Anamosa, the track sprinter-turned-scatback took a shotgun handoff from quarterback Brady Beal and torched the Raiders for a 78-yard score. To open the second half, McDaniel cut up the left sideline for another 82-yard touchdown.
By himself, McDaniel outgained the entire Anamosa offense with 218 rushing yards, a 27-yard catch and four touchdowns. The Indians sped toward a 39-14 home win.
"If you get any of these kids in the open field, their speed is going to take over," Camanche coach Steve Dougherty said. "That first (touchdown) was a nice play. You take every touchdown you can get. I prefer long, sustained drives, but those plays are really exciting for the crowd."
Ryan Langston got in on the action, too. With four minutes left in the first half, the sophomore halfback banged up the middle on a play that went from a short-yardage burst to a bruising 67-yard score.
The combination of the hulky Langston and the elusive McDaniel gave Camanche a deadly dual-threat backfield that left Raiders defenders in the dust. The two combined for 379 yards. Both credited the Indians' active offensive line.
“Practice is what's getting us there,” Langston said.
"The linemen have been working hard with their blocks," McDaniel said. "They got me to the second level and from there we took over."
To him, there was no bigger play than his first score. Camanche won the coin toss and elected to receive, but on the opening kickoff, a miscommunication between Indians returners allowed Anamosa's special teams a muff recovery deep in Camanche territory. The Raiders took over at the Indians' 20-yard line and scored five plays later on a Ty Houska 2-yard run. Camanche was in a 7-0 hole when it started on offense.
"They already had the lead on us and I knew we needed to score," McDaniel said.
After quarterback Brady Beal hit Zach Feller on a 6-yard pass play, McDaniel took a shotgun handoff, found a hole on the left side and cut around the Anamosa secondary for the 78-yarder, giving his team a redo after the early turnover.
Anamosa's Tyler Frasher opened the game with several punishing runs up the middle, but on the Raiders' next drive, the Indians' front seven stuffed Frasher to force a turnover on downs with six minutes left in the first quarter.
Camanche took the ball at its own 30-yard line, and four plays later McDaniel was in the end zone again, this time on a 23-yard draw.
"These guys just exploded," said Beal, who finished 5-for-13 passing for 50 yards, and picked up another 57 on the ground. "With Easton and Langston having those kinds of games, it really opens things up. Our line did a great job opening up lanes for them."
The Raiders had moderate success early running a triple-option offensive scheme. But in the second quarter, Dougherty said his defense paid attention to coaching cues and forced Anamosa into mistakes. After shutting down Frasher, Camanche turned the focus to Houska and Raiders quarterback Austin Seehusen.
Indians nose tackle Ethan Sharp had the first of two fumble recoveries on a botched option play midway through the second quarter, and Camanche rode McDaniel to a third score, making it 21-7.
"We made a couple of adjustments on defense," Dougherty said. "On some of the plays, we were able to disguise how our front seven lined up, and after we shut down the middle, the only thing left was the outside."
Sharp said: "On the first (recovery) I was just there at the right time. I'm happy with the way we came out tonight. We came out as the better team."
Langston's big run came with 3:54 left in the half and was almost cut short were it not for downfield help by receivers Will Seeser and Derek Harksen. The running back stiff-armed the last man standing between him and the end zone and the Indians built a 30-7 halftime lead.
"I have to credit our scout defense on that one," Langston said. "They hit us hard all week. Derek had a crazy block and I was able to get away."
Camanche forced another three-and-out at its own 13-yard line to start the second half. McDaniel took another Beal handoff and sped past the right side of the field. By then the game was well in hand, the score 36-7.
Houska scored on a 3-yard pitch play with 4:54 left in the third to make it 36-14. In the fourth quarter, the Indians shut down every Raiders drive, recovering three more fumbles.
It was a good win for Dougherty, who said his team had a rough week after playing its first game Friday (first half) and Monday (second half).
"That is the worst situation I've had as a coach," he said. Camanche's Aug. 30 game was postponed because of a lightning storm. The Indians played the second half the second half of a loss to Bellevue on Labor Day. "My kids are exhausted, then we play a physical team like Anamosa. We have bumps and bruises."
Now, the 1-1 Indians have a full week to prepare for a road game with Center Point-Urbana.
CAMANCHE 39, ANAMOSA 14
Anamosa 7 0 7 0 — 14
Camanche 14 16 6 3 — 39
A — Ty Houska 3 run (Gavin Timp kick), 10:00
C — Easton McDaniel 78 run (Seth Connell kick), 9:15
C — McDaniel 23 run (Connell kick), 3:44
C — McDaniel 3 run (Connell kick), 8:48
C — Ryan Langston 67 run (kick blocked), 3:54
C — Connell 15-yard field goal, 1:29
C — McDaniel 82 run (kick blocked), 9:21
A — Houska 10 run (Timp kick), 4:54
C — Connell 20-yard field goal, 5:00
Rushing — Anamosa (51-243), Austin Seehusen 10-73, Tyler Frasher 24-119, Ty Houska 15-96; Camanche (33-476), Easton McDaniel 8-218, Ryan Langston 7-134, Brady Beal 6-57, Zach Feller 6-38.
Passing — Anamosa (2-3-1-34), Seehusen 2-3-1-34; Camanche (6-14-1-66), Beal 5-13-1-50, Mitch McElroy 1-1-0-16.
Receiving — Anamosa, Justin Buck 1-32, Houska 1-1; Camanche, Feller 1-6, McDaniel 1-27, Derek Harksen 2-23, Brad Bianchi 1-(-2), Will Seeser 1-12.