Regina junior quarterback Michael Conlon runs against Solon. Jackie Blake Jensen/IC Pixx.By Ryan Murken
Your Prep Sports
Regina and West Branch both knew they would be breaking in new quarterbacks this season.
Neither perennial Class 1A powerhouse planned on having a second quarterback making their first career start in the third game of the season.
That’s the spot both top-ranked Regina (2-1) and No. 10 West Branch (2-1) found themselves in on Friday and each got strong performances from their new quarterbacks.
West Branch senior Brandon Rummelhart threw for 171 yards and a touchdown in his first career start in a 35-14 win over Jesup.
“He’s getting better each and every week, he’s got some room for improvement but he’s improving,” West Branch coach Butch Pedersen said of Rummelhart. “He’s been put in a tough spot and he’s very coachable and he’ll get better.”
Rummelhart completed 10-of-17 passes in the win and tossed a 34-yard touchdown pass to Cooper Kabela.
The Bears rolled up a season-high 442 yards of total offense in Rummelhart’s first start as Luke Lenoch rushed for 226 yards.
“I think the kids believe in each other, I think they believe in the coaches,” Pedersen said. “I think they know that we have an idea of what we want to try to do and I think they understand the same concepts that we do.“
Rummelhart wasn’t the only quarterback making a first start to excel on Friday.
Regina junior Michael Conlon accounted for 206 total yards and two touchdowns in a 48-6 win over Wapello.
Conlon completed 10-of-13 passes for 146 yards and a touchdown and also ran for 68 yards and a score in his first career start.
“I thought he did a great job,” Regina coach Marv Cook said. “We were having success running the football and that sets up the pass and he was doing a good job of making the right decision and getting the ball where it needed to go. I thought for his first, true official start he did a nice job.”
Additional options: With wide receivers Oliver Martin and Devontae Lane on the outside West High already has a pair of top-notch pass catching options.
The Trojans showed off a few different weapons in the pass game on Friday.
Senior Jacquese Parks showed he could emerge as a major threat in the passing game as the 6-foot-4, 235-pound tight end caught two passes for 66 yards including an impressive 46-yard touchdown catch and run.
Junior receivers got into the act as eight different Trojans caught passes.
Traevis Buchanan caught a pass for 44 yards and Parris Taylor snagged two for 12 yards.
“We have weapons everywhere,” West High quarterback Evan Flitz said. “When we get our running game going we can open up the passing game.”
Stepping in: While Regina and West Branch were working with new quarterbacks on Friday a pair of area teams turned to new faces at running back.
West High and Clear Creek Amana both used different primary backs on Friday in replace of injured starters.
Matt Brimeyer and Jared Eckrich split carries for Clear Creek Amana on Friday in place of Drake Brezina who was lost for the season with a knee injury last week.
Eckrich ran for 90 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 13 carries while Brimeyer gained 28 yards on 12 tries.
West High junior Andre White ran for 69 yards on 19 carries in his first career after Matthew Huff suffered an injury in practice on Wednesday.
Still Perfect: After three weeks 65 teams remain unbeaten.
West High and Clear Creek Amana are a part of that list.
Clear Creek Amana stayed perfect with a 24-14 win over Dubuque Wahlert while West High moved to 3-0 with a 17-10 win over Cedar Falls.
Offensive performer of the week: Luke Lenoch followed up his record breaking performance last week with his best game of the season on Friday. A week after becoming the all-time leading rusher in West Branch history, Lenoch ran for 226 yards and four touchdowns on 39 carries in a 35-14 win over Jesup. Lenoch also caught three passes for 73 yards.
Runner-up: Solon junior Kendrick Harris ran for 158 yards and three touchdowns in a 42-0 win over Keokuk.
Defensive performer of the week: Max Brown and Dillon Shephard led a big-time defensive effort from West High in a 17-10 win over No. 10 Cedar Falls. A senior linebacker, Brown made a team-high seven tackles, including two for loss. Shephard, a junior lineman, had 2.5 sacks as part of his 6.5 tackles.
Runner-up: Solon junior Greg Brandt was around the ball a lot in the Spartans’ shutout of Keokuk. Brandt had two interceptions and recovered a fumble to go with two solo stops.