Nate Wieland breaks a tackle against Linn-Mar on Aug. 26. Tork Mason/For Your Prep Sports.
Your Prep Sports
IOWA CITY – The Battle for the Little Cy-Hawk Trophy turned into a highly competitive battle of dual-threat quarterbacks.
But it was turnovers that ultimately decided the outcome between City High and Ames on Friday.
The Little Hawks fumbled deep in Ames territory in the final seconds of the fourth quarter and again on the first play in overtime, helping Ames escape from Bates Field with a 30-27 victory.
“We’ll go back to work and if we take care of the football we’re probably feeling a lot better about ourselves,” said City coach Dan Sabers. “And those are things that we can fix. But we’ve got to grow. There is no question about it. We’ve got to grow.”
City had the first possession in overtime, beginning at the 10-yard line. However, senior quarterback Nate Wieland fumbled on the first play from scrimmage while attempting to make a hand off.
Ames recovered the fumble and then tried three times to score a touchdown, but with no success. Adam Rademacher then secured the victory by making a 20-yard field goal.
“Everything felt good,” Wieland said of the play in which his team fumbled in overtime. “I don’t even know what happened. We’ll see it on film.”
Sabers also wasn’t sure what happened on the game-deciding fumble, which came shortly after City receiver Vance Dillon had lost a fumble after catching a pass deep in Ames territory late in the fourth quarter.
“I don’t know if they didn’t get the snap properly or what,” Sabers said of the fumble in overtime. “I can’t tell you that right now.”
In addition to committing costly turnovers, City also hurt itself by being penalized eight times. One of the penalties for an illegal player down field erased a long pass completion from Wieland to Dillon in the third quarter.
“We obviously have a lot to learn from this game,” said Wieland, who rushed for 157 yards and scored three touchdowns. “We had way too many penalties tonight and that cost us too many points. We can’t let that happen next week or ever again. That’s what cost us this game.”
The schedule doesn’t get any easier for the 2-1 Little Hawks as they will face rival West High next Friday at West in the much-anticipated Battle for the Boot.
“There is the big one next week with West,” Wieland said. “That is going to be a showdown. We know we have to prepare and just learn from this loss.”
Wieland finished with 276 total yards, while Ames quarterback Joe Evans had a similar performance, finishing with 259 total yards. Evans passed for 180 yards, including 161 yards in the first half, which ended with Ames clinging to a 17-14 lead.
“Their young man is a tremendous player,” Ames coach Bruce Vertanen said of Wieland, who has committed to play football for Northern Illinois. “And I think Joe and him are very similar. They’re bruisers.
“So the game was on the backs of the quarterbacks and Joe led us down the field. So I can’t be more pleased with that. But yeah, the quarterback play was excellent.”
Both teams also got solid contributions from a running back as City High senior Bryce Frantz pounded his way for 118 yards on 15 carries, while Ames sophomore Ray Crawford had 119 rushing yards on 26 carries.
Ames plays at a fast pace on offense, rarely taking time to even huddle. City struggled with the pace on Ames’ opening drive of the game, but improved as the game progressed.
“I don’t think their tempo was a problem,” Sabers said. “I think they just blocked us up front and their backs ran hard. Their quarterback ran hard. They always got forward yardage and that just makes it tough if you’re sitting third-and-two or fourth and six inches and things like that.”
Ames was leading 10-0 when Wieland broke loose for a 51-yard touchdown run with 9 minutes 52 seconds left in the second quarter.
Frantz then scored on a 3-yard run with 7:53 left in the second quarter. Miles Morrow converted the point-after kick to give City a 14-10 lead.
Junior defensive back Zach Jones helped set up Frantz’s touchdown by returning an interception to the Ames 12-yard line with 8:30 left in the second quarter.
Evans then threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Doyle with 33.6 seconds left in the second quarter, giving Ames a 17-14 lead at halftime.
The Little Cyclones expanded their lead to 24-14 on a 3-yard touchdown run by Crawford with 49.2 seconds left the third quarter.
City trimmed the lead to 24-20 on a 1-yard run by Wieland with 8 minutes left to play. However, the point-after kick failed, keeping the deficit at four points.
Wieland scored his third touchdown of the game on a 37-yard run with 5:18 remaining. Morrow made the point-after kick, expanding City’s lead to 27-24.
Ames then drove deep into City territory and forced overtime when Rademacher made a 28-yard field goal with 1:22 remaining.
“We felt good with the run game, there is no doubt about that,” Wieland said. “And then the passing game started to come. And there is no doubt when we get both of those going, we can be a really good offense.”
Sabers praised his senior quarterback in defeat.
“I thought Nate did a lot of great things,” Sabers said. “I thought Nate showed why he’s one of the best players in the state tonight. There is no question.”
Friday’s game was played as part of Military Appreciation Night. The pre-game festivities included the Avenue of the Flags in which over 200 flags were displayed on the field before kickoff.
There also was an honorary coin toss before the game featuring 92-year old World War II veteran George Dane and Iowa City native William Zaiser, who currently serves as Command Sergeant Major for the United States Southern Command.
The start of the game was delayed one hour by lightning as the kickoff came at approximately 8:10 p.m.
Ames 3 14 7 3 3 – 30
City High 0 14 0 13 0 – 27
A – Adam Rademacher 30 FG
A – Joe Evans 1 run (Rademacher kick)
ICC – Nate Wieland 51 run (Miles Morrow kick)
ICH – Bryce Frantz 3 run (Morrow kick)
A – Tyler Doyle 9 pass from Evans (Rademacher kick)
A – Ray Crawford 3 run (Rademacher kick)
ICH – Wieland 1 run (kick failed)
ICH – Wieland 37 run (Morrow kick)
A – Rademacher 28 FG
A – Rademacher 20 FG
Ames City High
First downs 19 18
Rushes-yards 58-236 33-290
Com-Att-Int 10-16-0 16-26-1
Passing yards 119 &nbs
Punts-average 2-30 3-36.3
Fumbles-lost 2-0 3-2
Penalties-yards 5-50 8-40
Rushing – Ames: Ray Crawford 26-119, Joe Evans 25-79, Martrell Davis 7-38. City: Nate Wieland 17-157, Bryce Frantz 15-118, Brock Hunger 1-15.
Passing – Ames: Joe Evans 15-25-1-180, Ray Crawford 1-1-0-29. City: Wieland 10-16-0-119.
Receiving – Ames: Will Krapfl 6-59, Ethan Hahn 359, Tyler Doyle 3-43, Ray Crawford 2-20. City: Vance Dillon 5-43, Zach Jones 3-44, Naeem Smith 2-22.