Nate Wieland throws a pass against Linn-Mar. Tork Mason/For Your Prep SportsBy Ryan Murken
Your Prep Sports
ELDRIDGE – Like any kid that grew up throwing a football around Nate Wieland played his fair share of the game 500.
The City High senior never really imagined a game that includes intentionally throwing passes that looks like punts into a scrum of defenders would pay off in varsity football.
On Friday, a throw that looked straight out of a game of 500 propelled Wieland and his City High teammates to the 4A quarterfinals.
Wieland tossed a 38-yard bomb to Gabe Nkumu on the final play of the first half to help lift tenth-ranked City High (8-2) to a 40-14 win over North Scott (5-5) at Lancer Field.
“I just yelled 500 and threw it up,” Wieland said through a laugh.
The touchdown pass by Wieland gave City High a 26-14 lead and the momentum going into the half.
The Little Hawks never gave up either after halftime while advancing to the 4A quarterfinals for the second straight season.
City High senior Gabe Nkumu
City High will face fourth-ranked Cedar Rapids Washington (9-1) on Friday at Kingston Stadium in Cedar Rapids.
“That really set a tone for us coming into the second half,” Wieland said of the late touchdown to Nkumu. “It really gave us momentum going to the locker room and we used that. We came out in the strong in the second half and we put them away.”
City High led 12-0 less than six minutes into the game courtesy of a Zach Jones 89-yard punt return and a 19-yard touchdown pass from Wieland to Bryce Frantz.
The punt return by Jones opened the scoring less than three minutes into the game.
Jones field the punt on a bounce at outraced North Scott defenders down the sideline for the score.
“I tell them to do that, that’s a football play,” City High coach Dan Sabers said of picking up the ball on the bounce. “I think too many teams let those go. Zach is good at running up and catching it on the move and that’s tough when guys are coming down and you are on the move.”
It looked like the route would be on when Wieland capped a 6-play, 85-yard drive with a 1-yard TD plunge on a quarterback sneak with 3:46 left in the first half.
North Scott had other ideas.
The Lancers scored two touchdowns in a span of two minutes, cutting the lead to 18-14 on a 2-yard Mark Beno touchdown run with just 24 seconds left in the first half.
Rather than take a knee and let the Lancers go into halftime with the momentum City High took it right back.
Bryce Frantz ripped off a 23-yard run to the Lancer 38-yard line to set up Wieland’s toss to Nkumu as time expired.
“There is no question that we had some athletes that they had a hard time matching up with so we thought let’s give ourselves a chance,” Sabers said. “Bryce broke the big run and that gave us a chance.”
City High senior Brock Hunger
On the final play of the half, Wieland rolled out to his left set up and tossed a sky-high pass toward Nkumu.
“I knew we had great athletes,” Wieland said. “Gabe is a great athlete so I knew I needed to give him a chance to get that so I threw it as high as I could just to let him come under it and just high point the ball.
The 6-foot-3 senior receiver leapt over a trio of North Scott defenders and came down with the ball in the back of the end zone.
“I was hoping he would throw it to me,” Nkumu said. “I knew I could make the play.
The ensuing two-point conversion pass to Vance Dillon gave City High a 26-14 lead that would never be challenged.
“That was really big for us because coming into halftime before that play we were kind of getting down on ourselves a little bit because we had given up a couple of big plays,” Nkumu said. “Coming into halftime with that big play really helped our energy.”
Leading at the break City High turned the game over to its defense.
The Little Hawks allowed just 105 total yards in the second half with more than half of those coming on the Lancers’ final drive of the game.
City High held a North Scott offense that ranked eighth in 4A to in total yardage to 266 yards of offense on Friday.
North Scott had two first downs in the third quarter and just three in the second half before its final drive of the game.
“We were really good for every quarter except the second,” Hunger said. “At halftime we had to make some adjustments but we came out in the second half and played a lot harder.”
Hunger had two of City High’s seven sacks in the game as the Little Hawks harassed North Scott quarterback Samuel Stonskas from the outset.
Stonskas finished 12-of-21 passing for 148 yards and a touchdown but was limited to six yards rushing on 16 carries.
“We just wanted to put a lot of pressure on their quarterback, he was a good quarterback but he’d never had pressure put on him,” Hunger said. “That was the plan to come out and bring some blitzes and force them to throw.”
Frantz racked up 141 yards rushing on just 13 carries as City High ran for 217 yards as a team, its highest total since rushing for 294 yards in a week three loss to Ames.
Wieland threw for 157 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 70 yards and another score as City High finished with 379 total yards.
“We just struggled a little putting 48 minutes of football together,” Sabers said. “We get distracted with different things and that’s something we have to continue to work on.”
City High North Scott
First downs 15 15
Rushes-yards 31-217 37-113
Passing yards 162 153
Total yards 379 266
Comp-att-int 14-31-0 13-24-1
Fumbles-lost 1-0 1-0
Penalties-yards 7-50 4-50
City High 12 14 7 7 – 40
North Scott 0 14 0 0 – 14
ICH – Zach Jones 89 yard punt return (Run failed)
ICH – Bryce Frantz 19 pass from Nate Wieland (Pass failed)
ICH – Wieland 1 run (Run failed)
NS – Nathan Wilkerson 37 pass from Samuel Stonskas (Colin Fairfield kick)
NS – Mark Beno 2 run (Fairfield kick)
ICH – Gabe Nkumu 38 pass from Wieland (Vance Dillon pass from Wieland)
ICH – Jones 8 pass from Wieland (Mile Morrow kick)
ICH – Frantz 14 run (Morrow kick)
Rushing – ICH: Bryce Frantz 13-141, Nate Wieland 11-70, Chris Johnson 3-3, Rajay Rodney 2-0, Team 1-(-1). NS: Jared Russ 13-41, Nile McLaughlin 3-41, Avion Lard 2-14, Cole Rollinger 2-9, Samuel Stonskas 16-6, Mark Beno 1-2.
Passing – ICH: Nate Wieland 13-29-0 157, Jared Taylor 1-2-0 5. NS: Samuel Stonskas 12-21-1 148, Nile McLaughlin 1-3-0 5.
Receiving – ICH: Vance Dillon 5-55, Zach Jones 3-22, Naeem Smith 2-23, Gabe Nkumu 1-38, Bryce Frantz 1-19, Jared Taylor 1-6, Cole Milder 1-5. NS: Cole Rollinger 4-65, Nathan Wilkerson 3-52, Jared Rus 3-13, Drew Boffeli 1-11, Joey Ragona 1-7, Carston Lewis 1-5,