City High’s Charles Johnson celebrates against Linn-Mar./Tork Mason for Your Prep Sports. By Ryan Murken
Your Prep Sports
Two games into the season the question doesn’t seem to be if City High can replicate its defense improvement from last season.
The more appropriate question after a 19-17 win over Pleasant Valley on Friday at Spartan Stadium is exactly how good can the Little Hawks be on defense?
“We feel like we can be a really, really good defense,” City High senior linebacker Dillon Africa said. “One of the best in the state.”
Two seasons ago City High struggled on defense, allowing better than 32 points and 367 yards per game during a two-win season.
Last year the Little Hawks allowed 22 points and 276 yards per game while returning to the state quarterfinals.
As Friday’s performance against Pleasant Valley demonstrated City High has a chance to lower those numbers again this season.
City High is allowing 11.5 points and 280 yards per game so far this season and has forced four turnovers while starting 2-0.
Africa and fellow senior Brock Hunger have been a big part of the defensive revival at City High.
The duo started at defensive end last season but has settled into a strong par of inside linebackers for the Little Hawks this season.
“We are all learning,” Africa said. “We move positions pretty much every week and we are learning new things every week for every opponent.”
City High wasn’t the only team to turn in an impressive defensive performance in week 2.
Clear Creek Amana notched a second straight dominant defensive effort allowing 192 yards of offense in a 26-0 shutout of Independence.
The Clippers have allowed just eight points while starting the season 2-0 after forcing six turnovers in Friday’s shutout.
A week after registering 10 sacks the Clippers picked off five passes on Friday, three coming from senior Cory Siders who returned one interception 66 yards for a touchdown.
“Our defense, just like last week, capitalized on a lot of opportunities,” Clear Creek Amana coach Matt Hughes. said “We were a little loose on defense (early) and gave up some yardage, but whenever it counted, they came up big.”
Regina also posted a shutout on Friday limiting Solon to 49 yards rushing and 133 total yards in a 34-0 win.
The Regals forced three turnovers while notching the first shutout against the Spartans since 2013.
“Honestly, our defense just had some great adjustments and I think that got them out of their comfort level a little bit,” Regina coach Marv Cook said.
Record Setters: Oliver Martin and Luke Lenoch had already cemented themselves as two of the best players to play their respective schools before this season began.
On Friday both Martin and Lenoch official made their claim in the record book as the best of all-time.
Martin passed Dondre Alexander as the leading receiver in West High history with eight receptions for 111 yards in a win at Muscatine.
Already the career leader in receptions and touchdown catches at West High, Martin has now caught 170 passes for 2,444 yards and 22 touchdowns.
Alexander had 2,385 yards from 2010 to 2012.
Lenoch passed Cade Jones on Friday to become the all-time leading rusher at West Branch.
With 78 yards against West Burlington/Notre Dame on Friday Lenoch pushed his career total to 4,440 yards surpass Jones who ran for 4,421 yards.
No beginners luck: West High junior quarterback Evan Flitz sparkled in his varsity debut two weeks ago against Southeast Polk.
Flitz showed that performance was no fluke on Friday completing 19-of-28 passes for 210 yards without an interception against Muscatine.
The junior threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to Oliver Martin and also ran for 33 yards and another score in the win.
In two games this season Flitz has completed 71 percent of his passes for 454 yards and four touchdowns with one interception.
Offensive performer of the week: Regina junior Jake Phillips rushed for 132 yards and three touchdowns on 13 carries in 34-0 win over Solon.
Runner-up: West High senior Matthew Huff rushed for 112 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries in a 31-27 win at Muscatine.
Defensive performer of the week: Clear Creek Amana senior cornerback Cory Siders intercepted three passes, returning one 66-yards for a touchdown, in a 26-0 shutout of Independence.
Runner-up: Regina lineman Jared Brinkman and Reagan Ries helped the Regals hold Solon to 49 yards rushing in a 34-0 win. Brinkman had seven tackles while Riese had four stops including a sack and recovered a fumble.