By Susan Harman
Your prep sports
IOWA CITY – This was more like it.
Iowa City West showed off a multi-faceted offense before an overflow crowd on perfect summer night to win the season opener, 42-17, over Southeast Polk Friday at Trojan Field.
The Trojans suffered through a terrible start a year ago, losing five of their first six, but rallied in district play to make the playoffs. It was clear from the beginning that this team was too potent for that to happen.
“We’ve got guys people know about, and we’ve got guys who worked in the offseason and can make plays themselves. It’s a very unselfish team right now,” West coach Garrett Hartwig said.
The Trojans only had to punt twice. Once on the opening drive when a holding penalty nullified a touchdown run by Oliver Martin and another time after penetrating Ram territory.
Otherwise the Trojans moved the ball at will using seven different receivers and seven different ball carriers.
Hartwig was cagey before the season with his quarterback situation, but junior Evan Flitz started and was terrific. He completed 17-of-23 passes for 241 yards and three touchdowns. He had only one interception.
“We’ve got two varsity-level quarterbacks,” Hartwig said. “We have faith in Ethan (Postler) when he steps in there, and Evan is throwing like we expected him to.”
Everyone knew West would have great receivers with Martin and Devontae Lane returning, and they combined for 13 catches for 225 yards. Martin even passed for a TD to Lane in the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach.
But West also showed the ability to run. Senior Matthew Huff gained 164 yards on 19 carries including a crucial 55-yard dash down the sideline to set up a West touchdown in the third quarter.
“We practiced a lot and coach told me he wanted to trust me with the ball and just to follow my holes, and that’s what I did,” Huff said. “The line blocked well for me. All I had to do was be patient. We worked on this all week.”
The Rams cut West’s lead to 21-10 with a touchdown in the third quarter. West responded with a four-play, 80-yard drive for a matching TD with the key play being Huff’s 55-yard run.
“I was tired at the end,” he said. “But I was just trying to get outside and follow my blocks. When the hole opened up I tried my best to get there. It was a big play and a big push for our offense because they were coming back.”
The Trojans rushed for 270 yards of their 528 total yards.
“It’s getting better,” Hartwig said. “We’ve got to get some things cleaned up. We had too many penalties.”
Southeast Polk used its speed and the individual talents of Jackson Cole and Altrell Durr to amass 391 yards and 21 first downs, but the Rams were never really in the game after West took a 21-0 lead in the second quarter.
Southeast Polk 0 3 7 7 – 17
Iowa City West 14 7 7 14 – 42
ICW – Devontae Lane 7 pass from Evan Flitz (Lucas Karwal kick)
ICW – Oliver Martin 11 pass from Flitz (Karwal kick)
ICW – Matthew Huff 5 run (Karwal kick)
SEP – Luke Williams 36 field goal
SEP – Adam Schwake 17 pass from Jackson Cole (Williams kick)
ICW – Martin 15 pass from Flitz (Karwal kick)
SEP – Joe Ginther 1 run (Williams kick)
ICW – Lane 17 pass from Martin (Karwal kick)
ICW – Andre White 64 run (Karwal kick)
First downs 21 24
Rushing-yards 34-196 41-270
Comp-Att-Int 17-35-1 18-24-1
Passing-yards 195 258
Punts-avg. 4-37.5 2-30
Fumbles-lost 1-0 0-0
Penalties-yards 5-40 8-50
Rushing – SEP: Altrell Durr 14-98, Jackson Cole 11-64, Joe Ginther 6-22, Mark Gbayee 2-7, Team 1-5. West: Matthew Huff 19-164, Andre White 6-77, Evan Flitz 8-21, Breyton McDole 3-7, Devontae Lane 1-1, Oliver Martin 3-0, Team 1-0.
Passing – SEP: Jackson Cole 17-35-2 195. ICW: Evan Flitz 17-23-1 241, Oliver Martin 1-1-0 17.
Receiving – SEP: Adam Schwake 6-71, Altrell Durr 5-65, Mark Gbayee 2-27, Austin Johnson 1-26, Ryan Mortale 3-6. ICW: Oliver Martin 8-151, Devontae Lane 5-74, Breyton McDole 1-12, Austin West 1-12, Traevis Buchanan 1-8, Evan Hermiston 1-4, Matthew Huff 1-2.