By Pat Harty
Your Prep Sports
CEDAR RAPIDS – The West High football team has a new star at running back in senior Devontae Lane, but the Trojans also have a two-game losing streak to deal with.
Lane put on spectacular performance against Cedar Rapids Prairie on Friday, but his 221 rushing yards and two touchdowns weren’t enough as Prairie cruised to a 39-20 victory at home.
Lane could have rushed for more 300 yards if not for penalties, including a holding call that erased a 58-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.
“It’s really frustrating when everything goes right and you see the hole and then you turn around and can’t even celebrate because you see the yellow flag on the ground,” Lane said. “Everything happens for a reason.”
West High senior Oliver Martin
The frustration was visible on the face of West High coach Garrett Hartwig, who for the second consecutive week watched his team self-destruct on offense.
West was trying to bounce back from a loss to rival City High last Friday, but the Trojans made too many mistakes against Prairie, while also allowing more than 200 rushing yards.
“It was a complete team loss,” Hartwig said. “We did not play well in any phase of the game. We made some good plays offensively here and there, but we beat ourselves with penalties and things like that coming down the stretch.
“Defensively we couldn’t win first down and we couldn’t get off the field on third down. And our kicking game coverage again was not very good.”
Hartwig shouldered most of the blame after Friday’s loss, which lowered West’s record to 3-2.
“I’m going to look at myself first,” said Hartwig, who is in his third season as the West head coach. “We’re going to look at things as a coaching staff. That kind of performance, it doesn’t sit well.”
West has been hampered by injuries this season and that was part of the reason Lane switched from receiver to running back.
The injury situation got worse on Friday, though, as starting quarterback Evan Flitz was helped off the field in the third quarter with a knee injury and didn’t return. Flitz was on crutches after the game.
Flitz also was hurt by several dropped passes, including two by star receiver Oliver Martin.
Martin’s first drop came on West’s opening drive of the game on a nicely thrown deep ball by Flitz. Martin blew past his defender, but the ball bounced off his hands.
Lane scored the game’s first touchdown on a 10-yard run with 8 minutes, 28 seconds left in the first quarter. He also has runs of 16 and 12 yards on the drive.
The lead didn’t last long, though, as Prairie’s Preston LaGrange took the ensuing kick and raced 95 yards for a touchdown. Joel Collett made the point-after kick to even the score at 7-7.
Lane had his 58-yard touchdown scamper in which he reversed field erased on West’s next possession because of a holding penalty. The Trojans ultimately were forced to punt.
Prairie took over at its own 19-yard line and marched 81 yards for its second touchdown on a 1-yard run by Joe Meyer on the first play of the second quarter. The drive melted nearly 6 minutes off the clock.
Prairie followed that touchdown with an eight-play, 65-yard drive, culminated by a 5-yard touchdown run by Zachary Ganske with 5:51 left in the second quarter.
West trimmed the deficit to 20-14 when Lane broke free for an 82-yard touchdown run on the first play of West’s next possession.
Prairie answered back before halftime, however, as LaGrange caught a 59 touchdown pass with just 28 seconds left in the second quarter.
“It kind of knocks everything down a bit because sometimes we did stuff well on offense, but then when stuff would get called back, I would see guys heads go down,” Lane said. “And when (Prairie) would score, I would see guys heads go down. It felt good having things go right, but it felt terrible having things go wrong.”
West trimmed the lead to 26-20 on a 22-yard touchdown pass from Flitz to Dillon Doyle with 9:37 left in the third quarter.
West failed to score from that point on, while Prairie added two more touchdowns on runs of 1 and 7 yards by Meyer.
West was penalized 10 times, including two horse collar calls that kept Prairie drives alive in the fourth quarter.
Hartwig was at a loss for why his team committed so many penalties.
“I don’t know, but I’ve got to get it figured out quick because it’s happening way too much,” Hartwig said. “It’s a sign of lack of discipline and we’re going to try and get that ship righted first thing in the morning.”
Lane’s performance drew praise from Hartwig, but it was hard for either of them to focus on anything positive so soon after losing.
“Devontae is a great player, he’s a great athlete,” Hartwig said. “We knew that was there. He’s team guy first and we lost as a team. So that’s where his head’s at right now.”
West PrairieFirst downs 19 18Rushes-yards 29-255 52-259Passing yards 123 86Comp-Att-Int 11-22-1 4-5-1Penalties-yards 10-82 8-70Fumbles-lost 1-0 0-0
ICW –Devontae Lane 6 run (Lucas Karwal kick)CRP –Preston LaGrange 95 kick return (Joel Collett kick)CRP –Joe Meyer 1 run (kick failedd)CRP – Zachary Ganske 5 run (run failed)ICW – Lane 82 run (Karwal kick)CRP – LaGrange 59 pass from Dakota Simonsen (Collet kick)ICW –Dillon Doyle 22 pass from Evan Flitz (kick failed)CRP – Meyer 1 run (Collett kick)CRP – Meyer 7 run (run failed)
West High 7 7 6 0 – 20Cedar Rapids Prairie 7 19 7 6 – 39
Individual statisticsRushing – ICW: Devontae Lane 16-221, Oliver Martin 2-13, Breyton McDole 3-12, Jason Strunk 6-10, Traevis Buchanon 1-(-1), Ethan Postler 1-(-1). CRP: Joe Meyer 19-102, Zachary Ganske 20-99, Dakota Simonsen 10-42, Banks-Berry 1-17, Levi Usher 1-6, Braxton Zimmerman 1-3.
Passing – ICW: Evan Flitz 10-16-0-104, Ethan Postler 1-6-1-19. CRP: Dakota Simonsen 4-5-1-86.
Receiving – ICW: Oliver Martin 10-114, Dillon Doyle 1-22, Traevis Buchanon 1-1. CRP: Preston LaGrange 1-59, Joe Meyer 1-22, Dalton Rayner 1-5.