By Ryan Murken
Your Prep Sports
IOWA CITY – A lot of proven varsity players returned for West High this season.
One spot that remained a question mark leading up to Friday’s opener with Southeast Polk was the quarterback position.
Junior Evan Flitz offered a strong answer to the questions surrounding the quarterback position on Friday.
In his first varsity start Flitz completed 17-of-23 passes for 244 yards and three touchdowns helping West High to a 42-17 win.
“We have 100 percent confidence in both Evan and Ethan (Postler) and we saw development in those guys all summer and we knew they both are varsity ready,” West High coach Garrett Hartwig said. “Evan stepped up and to be honest with you he played like we needed him to.”
The 6-0, 175-pound Flitz tossed a pair of scoring strikes to Oliver Martin and one to Devontae Lane in his varsity debut.
Flitz also ran for 21 yards as West High rolled up 541 yards of total offense.
“He did what he was supposed to and that wasn’t to try to do too much,” Hartwig said. “Were we shocked? No. Were we happy and a bit surprised? Yes.”
Flitz didn’t need much time to settle in.
He threw a pair of first-quarter touchdown passes to help West High build a 21-0 lead.
Flitz connected with Lane on a 7-yard scoring strike and hit Martin with an 11-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter.
“I give all the credit to coach (Andrew) Durham our offensive coordinator who has worked with all these guys all summer,” Hartwig said. “They were ready, they understood our game plan, they understood what we wanted to do. Evan is a smart kid and good player and he made it happen.”
Flitz wasn’t the only first-year quarterback to flourish in week one.
West Branch sophomore Beau Cornwell and Regina senior Tommy Rapp both had strong showings in their first career starts under center.
Cornwell ran for 117 yards and two touchdowns and threw a 27-yard touchdown pass in Cooper Kabela in a 40-20 win over West Liberty.
Rapp threw for 212 yards and two touchdowns and also ran for 81 yards in a 35-26 loss to Class 3A top-ranked Cedar Rapids Xavier.
The 6-foot-3, 190-pound Rapp completed 10-of-25 passes and threw a pair of touchdown passes to Isaac Vollstedt.
WELCOME BACK: It didn’t take long for City High senior Nate Wieland to make an impact in his return from injury.
In his first game back from a knee injury that cost him the final seven games of last season Wieland raced 72 yards for a touchdown on the Little Hawks third offensive play of the season.
Wieland finished with 124 yards on the ground as City High opened with a 26-6 win over Linn-Mar.
CHASING HISTORY: West Branch senior Luke Lenoch moved closer to becoming the all-time leading rusher in program history on Friday.
Lenoch rushed for 178 yards in a 40-20 win over West Liberty and now needs 60 yards to pass Cade Jones for the most rushing yards in West Branch history.
OFFENSIVE PERFORMER OF THE WEEK: West High senior receiver Oliver Martin caught eight passes for 156 yards and two touchdowns and also threw a 17-yard touchdown pass in a 42-17 win over Southeast Polk.
RUNNER-UP: Clear Creek Amana senior Drake Brezina rushed for 199 yards and two touchdowns in a 23-8 win over Mount Pleasant.
DEFENSIVE PERFOMER OF THE WEEK: Clear Creek Amana junior defensive ends Cole White and Tanner Cochran each had three sacks accounting for six of the Clippers 10 sacks in a win over Mount Pleasant.
RUNNER-UP: Solon senior Austin Kennedy made 10 tackles including nine solo stops as the Spartans held off Mount Vernon 26-21.