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Beals field-generals West Marshall to semis

November 14, 2011
By TRAVIS HINES - T-R Sports Writer (thines@timesrepublican.com) , Times-Republican

Braydn Beals knows the job description.

As the quarterback for the Class 2A No. 2 West Marshall football team, you get the ball to the playmakers and get out of the way.

At least that's how he tells it.

"Be a manager. My job is not to win it. My job is to just not to lose it," said the senior, who will lead his team into the semifinals of the Class 2A state football playoffs at 1:30 p.m. today inside the UNI-Dome against No. 3 Spirit Lake (12-0).

"My job is to go out and make the easy throws. If there's nothing there, just take what we can."

Sure, Beals doesn't need to be a world-beater to general an offense featuring Dalton Ferch and his 2,186 yards, which ranks seventh in Iowa among all classes.

Fact Box

West Marshall (12-0) vs. Spirit Lake (12-0)

When: Today, 1:30 p.m.

Where: UNI-Dome, Cedar Falls

TV: KDMI

The Trojans (12-0) lead 2A with 3,894 yards on the ground as a team.

The name of the game is efficiency. And with a 64.3 completion percentage and a 5-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio, Beals has been the picture of effectiveness.

"I think he's a perfect fit for our offense because he can run, he can throw and he's smart," said West Marshall head coach Ken Winkler. "You combine those three things and that's a pretty good quarterback in what we try to do."

The senior, who is in his third year as starter, has thrown 10 touchdowns and just two interceptions with 1,198 yards to his credit. He's helmed Class 2A's second-best scoring offense to an average of 49 points-per-game.

He hasn't racked up the yardage through quantity of throws or volume of deep balls.

Still, getting the ball into the hands of the likes of Dalton Ferch, Duncan Ferch, Tysen Streeter and Josh Bunn has helped Beals post the third-highest yards-per-completion mark in the state at 26.2.

"We just try to be efficient with it. We're not trying to hit huge plays, but mostly if you get it to Dalton in the open field, he's probably going to make it a big play," said Streeter. "We just try to get guys in open space."

Of the 61 quarterbacks in Class 2A with at least 50 passing attempts, only three (Chris Balster, Sheldon; Nate Streb, Iowa City Regina; David Flattery, Fort Dodge St. Edmond) have thrown fewer interceptions than Beals.

Beals' 249.5 quarterback rating is second in the class among those same qualifiers.

The 6-foot-tall lefty has only thrown double-digit passes in two games this season.

He's made the most of his limited opportunities, however.

Against North Polk in district play, Beals was 6-of-8 for 156 yards, a score and no picks.

Faced with then-undefeated St. Edmond, Beals was 6-of-9 for 159 yards and a TD without an interception. He was 3-of-4 for 119 yards and a TD against East Marshall, again without throwing a pick.

Then, there was last week against No. 5 PCM.

Beals was 6-of-6 for 155 yards, a TD and no interceptions.

"I think there's a fallacy that says, 'If you can throw the ball, then you ought to throw it 15 or 25 times a game,' but if you complete six passes for 155 yards, to me it's the amount of yards and the amount of touchdowns you get out of the passing game," said Winkler. "If somebody's six out of 25 for 100 yards, I don't know that's very efficient. But six out of six for 155 yards is pretty efficient.

"I think it's how efficient you are rather than how much you throw it."

Even as a three-year starter in one of the most glamourous positions in sports, Beals, and many other Trojans, often goes unnoticed because of the force of nature that is Dalton Ferch and his 96 career touchdowns.

"Some of our other kids get overlooked just a little bit that we have other kids that can make plays and we have other kids that have made plays for us over the course of time," Winkler said. "I think sometimes people, when it comes to a quarterback, they associated a quarterback with a lot of passing yards. That isn't necessarily what makes a good quarterback."

Beals' humble nature might play a part as well.

"We've got a lot of talented receivers. Our line is very good at pass blocking. We have a lot of well-designed plays that can help us exploit what teams are doing defensively," said Beals. "I think we have a pretty good pass offense, but obviously we want to run first."

He's a man who knows his role. And excels in it.