Defense Leads West High Past Cedar Falls
West High senior Nick KeanRyan Murken
Your Prep Sports
IOWA CITY – Just as they did in the first two games of the season Evan Flitz, Oliver Martin and the West High offense tried to steal the show late on Friday night.
This time the West High defense wasn’t about to give up center stage.
Class 4A sixth-ranked West High held No. 10 Cedar Falls (2-1) scoreless for better than 43 minutes and limited the Tigers to 176 total yards in a 17-10 win at a rain-soaked Trojan Field.
Flitz threw for 240 yards, including a 73-yard scoring strike to Martin, but this day belonged to the West High defense.
The Trojans held Cedar Falls scoreless until the final five minutes while improving to 3-0 with a second straight win over a ranked opponent.
“Our defense might be overshadowed by our offense a little but that’s fine,” West High senior linebacker Max Brown said. “We have so many big names on the offense and so many playmakers and we are a group of misfits on the defense but we just play. We just show up and play.”
The Trojans certainly showed up to play on defense Friday.
West High limited a Cedar Falls offense that entered the game averaging better than 221 yards per game on the ground to just 125 yards rushing on 34 carries and eight first downs.
The Trojans didn’t allow a point until a Luke Loecher 30-yard field goal with 4:46 left.
By that point Martin and Flitz had already staked the Trojans to a 10-0 lead.
“Cedar Falls is a very good team and our offense has been doing some really good things but our defense has been getting better and better,” West High coach Garrett Hartwig said. “By week three you hope to start hitting your stride with districts around the corner and we were able to do that. I was happy for the boys, our defense played like they needed to and they did a great job.”
Both defenses shined in a scoreless first half as the teams combined for 103 total yards and six first downs.
West High struck first in the second half.
The Trojans put together a 12-play drive to open the second half but came up empty when Lucas Karwal missed a 32-yard field goal.
The West High defense forced a Cedar Falls punt on the ensuing Tiger possession and the Trojan offense went back to work.
West High marched to the Cedar Falls 19 yard line as Flitz connected with Breyton McDole for 12 yards and Traevis Buchanan for 34 yards on the drive.
Karwal capped the march with a 36-yard field goal to give West High a 3-0 lead with 68 seconds left in the third quarter.
“We knew when we got the field goal we could stop them,” West High senior defensive back Nick Kean said. “We felt like that would be enough if it had to be.”
West High quickly got the ball back, forcing a 3-and-out thanks in part to a Dillon Shephard sack.
When the Trojans got the ball back they struck quickly.
On the first play following a Cedar Falls punt Flitz hit Martin on a post patter for a 73-yard touchdown that gave West High a 10-0 lead with 11:01 left in the game.
“We have to pick when we take our shots and we felt like the way they were lining up we had a shot with Oliver,” Flitz said. “He’s a great receiver, a great athlete, I gave him a ball that only he could get and he went and made a play.”
Cedar Falls got a field goal to cut the lead to 10-3 with 4:46 left.
West High answered with a game-clinching, 9-play, 80-yard drive that ended with a 46-yard scoring strike from Flitz to senior tight end Jacquese Parks.
On a third-and-3 play Flitz found Parks open in the middle of the field for a first down and the 6-foot-4, 245-pound senior outraced the Tiger secondary to the end zone.
“The credit goes to Cedar Falls,” Hartwig said. “Their defense stymied us on offense here and there but when we needed a play we made it.”
Flitz finished 16-of-22 for 240 yards, the third consecutive game with more than 200 yards passing.
The junior quarterback credited his defense for his success.
“They were outstanding, a good defense takes a lot of pressure off of me,” Flitz said. “When you know you have a defense behind you that can keep you in games when you are struggling, it’s big.”
Martin finished with five receptions for 104 yards while junior running back Andre White ran for 68 yards in place of injured starter Matthew Huff.
“On our team it’s next man in and we have two great running backs and they were ready to do their job which is to run hard, put your shoulder down and get yards,” Flitz said. “That’s what they did tonight.”
Cedar Falls tacked on a late touchdown with three seconds left, picking up 61 of its 176 total yards on the final drive.
“Everyone did just their job,” Brown said of the West High defense. “We kept on chopping wood and getting three-and-outs. We bend sometimes but we never break, we just played our hearts out.”
West High 0 0 3 14 – 17
Cedar Falls 0 0 0 10 – 10
West High Cedar Falls
First Downs 15 8
Rushes-Yards 36-93 34-125
Passing Yards 240 51
Total Yards 333 176
Comp-Att-Int 16-22-1 7-20-0
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 0-0
Penalties-Yards 8-65 3-30
ICW – Lucas Karwal 36 field goal
ICW – Oliver Martin 73 pass from Evan Flitz (Karwal kick)
– Luke Loecher 30 field goal
ICW – Jacquese Parks 46 pass from Flitz (Karwal kick)
CF – Hayden Clausen 2 run (Loecher kick)
Rushing – ICW: Andre White 19-68, Evan Flitz 12-6, Oliver Martin 2-13, Austin Geaslan 1-4, Breyton McDole 1-3, Austin West 1-(-1). CF: Hayden Clausen 19-76, Luke Gillett 9-47, Khari Jackson 4-3, Sam Gary 1-0, Gabriel Penrith 1-(-1).
Passing – ICW: Evan Flitz 16-22-1 240. CF: Luke Gillett 7-20-0 51.
Receiving – ICW: Oliver Martin 5-104, Jacquese Parks 2-66, Devontae Lane 3-4, Parris Taylor 2-12, Austin West 1-4, Evan Hermiston 1-4, Breyton McDole 1-12, Traevis Buchanan 1-34. CF: Gabriel Penrith 2-27, Daniel Martinson 1-10, Ryan Albaugh 1-9, Luke Loecher 1-3, Sam Gary 1-2.