Nate Wieland throws against Linn-Mar. Tork Mason/For Your Prep Sports. By Ryan Murken
Your Prep Sports
Nate Wieland knew going into City High’s district opener against Clinton on Friday the plan was to throw the football.
Wieland and the Little Hawks had spent all week implementing a game plan to attack the River King defense through the air.
The senior quarterback expected the plan to be successful but the numbers Wieland and the Little Hawks put up on Friday exceeded those expectations.
Wieland threw for a career-high 353 yards and two touchdowns as 4A sixth-ranked City High (4-1) rolled up a season-best 551 yards in a 49-28 win over Clinton (3-2).
“We thought we could hurt them with our passing game, so that was really our focus all week just a short quick passing game and then every once in a while, hit them with a deep ball,” Wieland said. “We executed that well but throwing for 350 yards, that was not my expectation before the game.”
Wieland completed 20-of-28 passes on his way to 353 yards, finishing six yards shy of the single-game school record for passing yards set by Ted Schmidt in 2007.
The 6-foot-3, 215-pound Wieland completed passes to six different players as Zach Jones (8-101) and Gabe Nkumu (3-154) both had 100-yard receiving games.
“He played well under some pressure and made some throws on the move which was great and then we had some guys make some great catches,” Coty High coach Dan Sabers said of Wieland. “Gabe Nkumu had a couple great catches and we were spreading it around. Vance (Dillon) caught some, Naeem (Smith) and Zach (Jones). We spread it out to a lot of guys so we’re really pleased with that part.”
City High put its game plan into effect early on Friday.
The Little Hawks scored on their first six possessions on Friday and built a 37-14 halftime lead.
Wieland was nearly perfect in the opening half, completing 15 of his 17 first-half pass attempts for 223 yards.
“I had no idea what kind of numbers I was putting up.” Wieland said. “A teammate came up at halftime and asked if I had an incomplete pass yet and that’s when it hit me. When he said that it really got me going even more. That just raised my confidence level even more.”
Wieland nearly equaled his season total of 374 yards with his 353-yard performance on Friday.
The 6-foot-3, 215-pound Northern Illinois recruit had scoring strikes of 17 yards to Jones and 18 yards to Naeem Smith also ran for 94 yards and two touchdowns.
Prior to Friday’s aerial explosion the Little Hawks hadn’t passed for more than 143 yards in a game this season.
“There is no way we are just a one-dimensional offense,” Wieland said. “We have multiple weapons and that is tough for defenses to stop. If we keep playing like this our offense is really a force to be reckoned with.”
The best passing performance of Wieland’s career came against one of the state’s best passers.
Wieland’s counterpart on Friday, Clinton senior Johnny Sullivan entered the game leading the state in passing yardage and threw for 286 yards and three touchdowns on Friday.
“It was awesome just going head to head against a quarterback like that,” Wieland said. “It was really fun to compete against him. Just watching him it was fun to see some of the throws he made.”
Mr. 5,000: Another week, another milestone for West Branch senior Luke Lenoch.
Lenoch surpassed the 5,000-yard mark on Friday, rushing for 156 yards and two touchdowns in a 26-13 loss to Bellevue.
The 156 yards on Friday gave Lenoch 5,107 for his career while the two scores push his career touchdown total to 71.
Lenoch is closing in on his third consecutive 1,000-yard season, rushing for 923 yards and 14 touchdowns in the first five weeks.
Running Lanes: A week ago Devontae Lane was a fill in at running back as the top two backs on the West High depth chart were sidelined by injuries.
After his performance against Cedar Rapids Prairie on Friday Lane may have found a home in the backfield.
Lane rushed for 221 yards and a pair of touchdowns, including an 82-yard score, in a 39-20 loss to Prairie.
The senior had 182 yards on just nine carries in the first half and averaged 13.8 yards per carry in the game.
Offensive performer of the week: This week was all about Wieland as the senior accounted for 447 yards of total offense and four touchdowns in a 49-28 win over Clinton.
Runner-up: Solon junior Kendrick Harris ran for a career-high 182 yards and three touchdowns and also caught two passes for 36 yards in a 34-3 win over Oskaloosa.
Harris scored on runs of 2, 54 and 12 yards and also caught a 22-yard touchdown pass.
Defensive performer of the week: Drake Mougin (3.5 tackles), Jared Eckrich (3 tackles) and Cole White (3 tackles) all had strong games for Clear Creek Amana but everyone on the Clipper defense shares the award this week.
Clear Creek Amana posted its second straight shutout with a 26-0 win over Center Point-Urbana and put up some impressive numbers doing it.
The Clippers held CPU to 84 total yards and three first downs and didn’t let the Stormin’ Pointers collect a first down or advance across midfield until the fourth quarter when the game was already decided.
Runner-up: Regina senior lineman Jared Brinkman and Andrew Hingst each had four solo tackles and a sack in a 36-0 shutout of Highland.