West High senior Devontae LanePat Harty
Your Prep Sports
IOWA CITY – The West High football players and coaches celebrated Friday’s 63-14 drubbing of Ottumwa in unusual fashion.
They waited anxiously for nearly an hour to see if their season was over.
But it was well worth the wait.
The Trojans earned a spot in the Class 4A playoffs by winning on Friday and because Cedar Rapids Prairie did them a huge favor by defeating Cedar Rapids Kennedy on Friday.
A loud cheer erupted from the West locker room after the players learned that Kennedy had lost to Prairie. Kennedy needed to win by at least 12 points on Friday to qualify ahead of West, which closed the regular season with a 7-2 overall record and a 4-1 mark in district play.
“This team deserves to be in the playoffs,” said West coach Garrett Hartwig. “It’s a big deal with the reduction in the number of teams in the playoffs. I’m happy to be there and we’re going to give it our best shot.”
Hartwig was referring to the new playoff format in which 16 teams in Class 4A qualify for the playoffs instead of 32, which was the previous format.
West High junior quarterback Evan Flitz
West will learn its playoff opponent when the pairings are announced Saturday morning. The first-round games will be played next Friday.
West’s game on Friday ended earlier than usual because the entire second half was played with a continuous clock after the Trojans led 57-0 at halftime.
Senior running back Devontae Lane scored the first five touchdowns in the game and it took him barely one quarter to do it. He scored on runs of 30, 9 and 7 yards, had a 43-yard touchdown reception and returned an interception 40 yards for a touchdown.
Lane scored five touchdowns despite only touching the ball nine times, all of which came in the first half. He also came close to returning another interception for a touchdown, but was tackled near the Ottumwa end zone.
“It was a lot of fun,” Lane said. “I just want to say thank you to my offensive line and the receivers for blocking up field. That’s what happens when all 11 guys do their job. I just want to thank them for creating the holes and me just running hard.”
The 6-foot-2, 200-pound Lane started the season at receiver, but switched to running back after injuries had depleted the position.
“He’s exactly what I’d thought he’d be,” Hartwig said when asked if he was surprised by Lane’s success at running back. “He’s exactly what we thought he’d be.
“We just had very good players at the running back position to start the season and we knew we could really put teams in some trouble spots with the running backs we had and Devontae and our other receivers out there. But we’re not surprised.”
Lane’s string of touchdowns finally ended when West senior receiver Oliver Martin slipped past his defender and caught a 55-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Evan Flitz with 8 minutes, 22 seconds left in the second quarter.
West High senior receiver Oliver Martin
The Trojans then recorded a safety on defense and added two more touchdown runs in the second quarter by Breyton McDole and Andre White to complete the first-half scoring.
Flitz completed 11-of-14 passes for 199 yards, all of which came in the first half.
“We prepared well all week and came out and executed in the first half,” Flitz said. It was just good execution on all parts.”
Flitz feels fortunate to have weapons like Lane and Martin to spark the offense.
“It’s a blast being able to have guys on the outside that can make plays pretty much about any time you get them the ball,” Flitz said. “It makes your job really easy to get them the ball and let them do the rest.”
Martin did all his damage in the first half, finishing with seven catches for 141 yards. He is believed to be the first players in Class 4A to surpass 3,000 career receiving yards.
Martin also returned a punt 57 yards to set up another touchdown.
Ottumwa scored both of its touchdowns on short runs in the fourth quarter against the West reserves. The Bulldogs ended the season at 0-9.
When Friday’s game ended, the West players and coaches mingled with fans to help pass the time while waiting for the Kennedy result. Some of the players also played catch on the field and posed for photos with family and friends.
Hartwig told his players to head to the lockeroom when the Kennedy game was almost over. He learned a few minutes later that the season wasn’t over and that he still would have a chance to coach his seniors at least one more time.
“They’re great kids, great young men,” Hartwig said of his seniors. “I’m proud of them. They deserve to play.”
Hartwig had time to reflect on the season while waiting for the Kennedy game to end.
“It’s tough when you don’t know and it’s not in your hands,” Hartwig said. “Life’s lessons, that what this game is about. I’m proud of them”
Ottumwa West High
First downs 18 11
Rushing-yards 41-140 24-169
Passing yards 33 200
Penalties/yards 2-10 6-57
Fumbles/lost 0-0 2-1
Ottumwa 0 0 0 14 – 14
West High 28 29 6 0 – 63
ICW – Devontae Lane 30 run (Evan Hermiston kick)
ICW – Lane 9 run (Hermiston kick)
ICW – Lane 7 run (Hermiston kick)
ICW – Lane 40 interception return (Hermiston kick)
ICW – Lane 43 pass from Evan Flitz (kick failed)
ICW – Oliver Martin 55 pass fromn Flitz (kick failed)
ICW – safety, Ottumwa quarterback Eli McDanel tackled in end zone
ICW – Breyton McDole 1 run (Hermiston kick)
ICW – Andre White 9 run (Hermiston kick)
ICW – Brennon Keen 2 run (kick failed)
OTT – Addison Coram 1 run (Kane Brumbaugh kick)
OTT – Alec Hensley 2 run (Brumbaugh kick)
Rushing – OTT: San Yeaway 12-76, Alec Hensley 13-74, Addison Coram 7-9, Eli McDanel 4-minus-10, Joey Mitchell 3-4. ICW: Devontae Lane 6-81, Andre White 7-50, Brennon Keen 2-13, Cole Mabry 1-13, Dylan Miene 1-6, Breyton McDole 2-4, Evan Flitz 1-2, Nick Campbell 2-1, Oliver Martin 2-minus-1.
Passing – OTT: Addison Coram 4-6-29-1, Eli McDanel 2-6-4-1. ICW: Evan Flitz 11-14-199, Ethan Postler 1-1-1.
Receiving – OTT: Henry Altfillisch 3-20, Kane Brumbaugh 1-9, Jayqwon Bridges 1-5, Alec Hensley 1-minus-1. ICW: Oliver Martin 7-141, Traevis Buchanon 3-37, Devontae Lane 1-43, Austin West 1-22, Keaston Boyer 1-0.