CEDAR FALLS, Iowa — Will Burds had a flair for the dramatic Thursday.

And partly because of that, Western Dubuque will play for a state championship next week.

Burds returned kickoffs 80 and 50 yards for touchdowns, and the No. 8 Bobcats sidelined No. 5 Sergeant Bluff-Luton 35-18 in a Class 3-A semifinal at the UNI-Dome.

The Bobcats (10-2) will play Thursday at 7 p.m. in the title game. Sergeant Bluff closed at 10-2.

The Warriors marched 58 yards in 13 plays on their first possession of the second half to close to 14-12 on Britton Delperdang’s 2-yard touchdown run. The 2-point pass failed.

Sergeant Bluff booted the ensuing kickoff out of bounds. After some discussion, the Bobcats elected to have the Warriors re-kick. It turned out to be a good decision, as Burds fielded the ball at his 20 and weaved through the defense.

“It definitely swung some momentum,’’ Sergeant Bluff-Luton coach Justin Smith said. “There’s no doubt about that. There was a lot of plays in that game that we just barely missed. It’s all those things added up, and that’s football.’’

Daniel Wright, a 6-foot-7, 205-pound junior who is drawing some Division I interest, completed 26 of 40 for 244 yards and two touchdowns. Deric Fitzgerald caught 12 passes for 128 yards.

Wright hit Sam DeMoss for a 24-yard touchdown with 3:08 remaining to cut the deficit to 28-18. Sergeant Bluff then tried on an onside kick, but Burds scooped it up and sprinted to paydirt to clinch the win.

“You’ve got to credit Western Dubuque,’’ Smith said. “They came out and they played well enough to win.’’

Western Dubuque (10-2).................. 8 6 7 14—35

Sergeant Bluff-Luton (10-2).................,6 0 6 6—18

WD: Calvin Harris 5 run (Kyle Lehmann pass from Harris)

SB: Conner Groves 4 pass from Daniel Wright (kick failed)

WD: Drake George 20 pass from Harris (kick failed)

SB: Britton Delperdang 2 run (pass failed)

WD: Will Burds 80 kickoff return (Gabe Ulrich kick)

WD: George 30 pass from Harris (Ulrich kick)

SB: Sam DeMoss 24 pass from Wright (pass failed)

WD: Burds 50 kickoff return (Ulrich kick)


Rushing: WD, Jake Hosch 17-99, Calvin Harris 12-36, Ben DeSollar 2-16, Drake George 1-(-8), team 2-(-4). SB, Britton Delperdang 21-54, Daniel Wright 2-12, Deric Fitzgerald 3-9, Sam DeMoss 1-6, Jorma Schwedler 3-(-1).

Passing: WD, Calvin Harris 7-11-0, 77 yards, 1 TD. SB, Daniel Wright 26-40-1, 244 yards, 2 TDs.

Receiving: WD, Drake George 5-62, Sam Goodman 1-15, Jake Hosch 1-0. SB, Deric Fitzgerald 12-128, Sam DeMoss 7-79, Conner Groves 5-29, Britton Delperdang 1-7, Tristan Navrkal 1-1.kwhite@owh.com, 402-444-1055, 

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