West High senior Devontae LaneRyan Murken
Your Prep Sports
CEDAR RAPIDS – As the saying goes – defense wins championships.
West High didn’t win a championship on Friday but the Trojans did more than enough on defense to keep their championship chances alive.
West High limited Cedar Rapids Kennedy (4-3) to 242 yards of offense and stayed alive in the playoff chase with a 24-10 win over the Cougars at Kingston Stadium in Cedar Rapids.
The win was the second straight for West High (5-2) following a loss to Cedar Rapids Prairie in its district opener and pulled the Trojans even with Kennedy at 2-1 in the Class 4A, District 8 standings.
“The defense played great, Kennedy has been putting up points like crazy but we took that loss to Prairie a couple of weeks ago to heart and I give all the credit to our guys on the field tonight,” West High coach Garrett Hartwig said. “They did a great job tonight.”
West High senior Nick Kean
Ethan Postler threw for 166 yards and three touchdowns, two to senior Oliver Martin, including the game clincher with 3:06 left.
Martin dazzled with nine catches for 135 yards, none bigger than his 64-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter that put West High up 24-10.
“We knew coming into this game it would have a huge impact on how the rest of the season would play out, going to the playoffs or not,” Martin said. “It’s a huge win and it gives us a lot of confidence going into the rest of the season. We still have to win the next two to get into the playoffs but we are still in it.”
With Cedar Rapids Prairie’s win over Linn-Mar on Friday the Trojans matchup became a must-win to keep the Trojans alive for one of two playoff spots in District 8.
The Trojans were up to that task on Friday.
Devontae Lane rushed for 111 yards and caught a touchdown pass as West High remained a game behind District 8 leader Prairie (6-1, 3-0).
“I feel like our team, when our back is against the wall we answer really well,” Lane said. “We have a different mentality when we are the underdog. We kind of like being the underdog.”
Martin put the cap on the win with his second touchdown of the game but it was the West High defense that set the tone early.
West High held Kennedy to three first downs and 48 total yards in the first half while building a 17-0 halftime lead.
After both teams went 3-and-out on their opening possessions West High marched 78 yards in eight plays and took a 7-0 lead when Postler hit Lane on a 9-yard touchdown pass on a screen play on third and goal.
“That was definitely big coming out and being the first team to score and the first team to say we are here and being the first team to throw the punch,” Lane said. “Once we did that our defense just had to do the job and get off the field.”
West High junior Ethan Postler
After a 29-yard field goal by Lucas Karwal made it 10-0, West High swung the momentum right before halftime.
The West High defense forced Kennedy three-and-out and Martin set up the Trojans with good field position with a 22-yard punt return.
West High went 54 yards in 12 plays and took a 17-0 halftime lead when Postler lofted a perfect pass to Martin on a fade route for a 5-yard touchdown with 16 seconds left in the first half.
“Ethan made a good throw and I just tried to make a play,” Martin said. “That was a big boost.”
Kennedy got as close as 17-10 on a 2-yard touchdown run by Rizaiha Maide on a fourth-and-goal play with 4:29 left.
Martin and the Trojans had the answer on the ensuing possession.
Postler tossed a pass into double coverage to a streaking Martin who jumped over two Kennedy defenders to secure the ball at the Cougar 35 yard line.
Martin went the rest of the way untouched to put West High up 24-10.
“They were double teaming me a lot throughout the game and toward the end of the game we were trying to piece together a drive,” Martin said. “Me and our offensive coordinator noticed they had changed their defense up and he was playing a little closer to me and we just looked at each other and gave it a go and it worked out.”
Postler finished 13-of-23 through the air in his second career start as West High put up 313 yards of offense.
The Trojans committed eight penalties for 50 yards but used big plays from Martin and Lane on each scoring drive.
“We kept making mistakes but guys like Devontae and Oliver cover up a lot of mistakes,” Hartwig said.
The West High defense didn’t make many mistakes on Friday.
Kennedy averaged 50.5 during a four-game winning streak that ended on Friday but managed just 242 yards against West High’s defense.
Lane picked off a pass to end a drive and West High allowed just 144 rushing yards on 35 carries.
“I think that’s our best game on defense,” West High senior defensive back Nick Kean said. “They are a good team and I think we just picked it up today.”
West High CR Kennedy
First downs 16 9
Rushes-yards 39-126 35-144
Passing yards 187 98
Total yards 313 242
Comp-Att-Int 14-24-0 8-20-1
Fumbles-Lost 2-0 0-0
Penalties-Yards 8-50 5-30
West High 7 10 0 7 – 24
Cedar Rapids Kennedy 0 0 3 7 – 10
ICW – Devontae Lane 9 pass from Ethan Postler (Lucas Karwal kick)
ICW – Karwal 29 field goal
ICW – Oliver Martin 5 pass from Postler (Karwal kick)
CRK – Alex Stone 35 field goal
CRK – Rizaiha Maide 2 run (Stone kick)
ICW – Martin 64 pass from Postler (Karwal kick)
Rushing – ICW: Devontae Lane 20-111, Cole Mabry 5-26, Breyton McDole 5-11, Jason Strunk 2-2, Oliver Martin 1-(-4), Ethan Postler 6-(-20). CRK: KeyShawn Allers 9-57, Rizaiha Maide 12-50, Brian White Jr. 6-41, Payton McCarty 2-2, Samuel Pape 3-9, Justin Johnson 1-(-1), Nicholas Duehr 2-(-14).
Passing – ICW: Ethan Postler 13-23-0 166; Evan Hermi
ston 1-1-0 21. CRK: Brian White Jr. 7-10-1 41; Nicholas Duehr 1-10-0 5.
Receiving – ICW: Oliver Martin 9-135; Austin West 1-18, Jason Strunk 2-25, Devontae Lane 1-9, Breyton McDole 1-0, CRK: Nicholas Duehr 3-32, Rizaiha Maide 2-1, Mekhia Jenkins 1-57, Jesse Price 1-11, Payton McCarty 1-(-3).