West High senior Devontae LaneBy Richard C. Lewis
Your Prep Sports
MARION – Iowa City West is likely one win away from postseason play.
The Class 4A Trojans took care of business on Friday night, scoring early and often to decimate District 8 foe Linn-Mar, 50-7.
West welcomed back quarterback Evan Flitz, who threw for two first-half touchdowns as West rolled to a 41-0 halftime advantage.
The Trojans scored on their first five possessions, with running back Devontae Lane accounting for three first-quarter scores as the Trojans found little resistance from the Lions defense.
Trojans wideout Oliver Martin caught a 5-yard TD pass and dashed nearly untouched on a 76-yard punt return that staked West to its final score before the half.
West High junior quarterback Evan Flitz
Flitz had missed the last two games with a hurt knee. He didn’t look the least bit rusty in his return, completing 10 of 12 passes for 124 yards, with one tipped pass interception in addition to the two passing TDs, before being replaced by Ethan Postler in the second half.
The junior quarterback said he benefited from a week of practice to re-establish his rhythm.
“I certainly had a lot of emotion and adrenaline running through me to get back out here,” Flitz said, “so I think I channeled that. I got a couple of completions to our playmakers on the outside, and that was all I had to do.”
Martin had a relatively quiet night, with four catches for 37 yards and the one TD. Then again, he didn’t need to be a major factor on this night.
West (6-2, 3-1) was ready from the opening whistle, rolling up 242 first-half yards, while limiting Linn-Mar (2-6, 1-3) to 20 yards in the first two periods.
The Trojans finished with 325 total yards, with Flitz, Lane and Martin sitting out the second half. The Lions ended with just 100.
“Our kids came out ready to play,” West coach Garrett Hartwig said. “It feels good, feels like we’re hitting our stride. We always say, we want to play our best football in October, and it’s certainly October right now.”
West needed this game in a big way. The Trojans came into the game tied with Cedar Rapids Kennedy in second in Class 4A, one game behind Cedar Rapids Prairie, to whom West lost, 39-20, earlier in the season.
Only two teams will advance from the district, putting a premium on this game and West’s last opponent, winless Ottumwa.
So long as West, which will be heavily favored, beats Ottumwa, and Prairie either beats Cedar Rapids Kennedy next week or doesn’t lose by a wide margin, West should be in.
But nothing is guaranteed.
“It’s a tough district. You control what you can control,” Hartwig said. “I think we’ve put ourselves in position (to advance). It’s frustrating not being able to have the final say to the nth degree, but we’ve won the games we’ve needed to of late, and we have one more to get next week. I hope things work our for us.”
Linn-Mar West High
First downs 5 14
Rushes-Yards 21-6 23-179
Passing 94 146
Comp-Att-Int 11-20-1 12-17-2
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 2-1
Penalties-Yards 3-15 8-47
West High 21 20 3 6 – 50
Linn-Mar 0 0 7 0 – 7
ICW– Devontae Lane 11 run (Lucas Karwal kick)
ICW – Lane 4 run (Karwal kick)
ICW – Lane 10 run (Karwal kick)
ICW– Jason Strunk 28 pass from Evan Flitz (Kick failed)
ICW – Oliver Martin 5 pass from Flitz (Karwal kick)
ICW – Martin 76 punt return (Karwal kick)
ICW – Karwal 29 FG
LM – Reese Phillips 5 run (Austin Cochrane kick)
ICW – Brennon Keen 29 run (Kick blocked)
Rushing – LM: Neme Siaway 5-12, Brennan McGaffe 5-11, Josh Gassman 2- -6, Kirby Kerr, 1-9, Reese Phillips 2- -20. West: Devontae Lane 8-78, Andre White 5-36, Evan Flitz 1-26, Oliver Martin 1-0, Dylan Miene 5-10, Breyton McDole 2-7, Cole Mabry 1-7, Ethan Postler 3 – -14.
Passing – LM: Reese Phillips 11-20-0 94. West: Evan Flitz 10-12-2 124, Ethan Postler 2-5-0 22.
Receiving – LM: Josh Gassmann 2-5, Neme Siaway 2-14, Kirby Kerr 1-3, Brennan McGaffe 1-2, Alec Rentschler 1-11, Jordan Balk 2-51, Joe Stenske 1-3. West: Oliver Martin 4-37, Traevis Buchanan 5-59, Jason Strunk 1-28, Andre White 1-12, Austin Geasland 1-10.