West High’s Devontae Lane celebrates a touchdown against Cedar Rapids Washington. Jeff Yoder/For Your Prep Sports.By Ryan Murken
Your Prep Sports
CEDAR FALLS – Devontae Lane thought his knee was down.
The West High senior was sure his knee was on the UNI-Dome turf before he lost control of the ball on the Trojans first offensive series in Friday’s 4A semifinal.
His knee may have been down on the play that ended up as a lost fumble but Lane never let his head get down after the early miscue.
Lane came back from early fumble to rush for 65 yards and two touchdowns and also caught a touchdown pass in a 35-7 win over fourth-ranked Cedar Rapids Washington in the Class 4A semifinals on Friday.
“I knew I was down but I didn’t get my head down and make it seem like I was angry,” Lane said. “Once my head gets down then other people’s heads start going down. I just had to stay positive.”
The early fumble by Lane was part of an inauspicious opening for the West High offense in its first appearance in the UNI-Dome since 2002.
West High picked up two first downs and advanced inside the Washington 25 yard line on each of its first two drives but both drives ended with lost fumbles.
The Trojans held a 75 to 21 edge in total yards in the opening quarter but trailed 7-0 after Drew Dostal returned the second West High fumble 65 yards to the West High 10 yard line to set up a touchdown.
Devontae Lane runs against Cedar Rapids Washington. Jeff Yoder for Your Prep Sports.
Lane and the Trojans didn’t let it get them down.
West High scored on four consecutive possessions to end the first half and start the second, turning a 7-0 deficit into a 28-7 lead that would never be threatened.
Lane had the final three of those touchdowns on a pair of 2-yard runs and a 3-yard touchdown reception from junior quarterback Evan Flitz that gave West High a 14-7 halftime lead.
“I knew he’d come back from that,” Flitz said. “Devontae has a great work ethic, a great attitude. So I knew he’d be ready to come back from that fumble.”
Lane has provided a boost to the West High offense since making the move to running back in week five.
The 6-2, 200-pound senior has rushed for 741 yards and 11 touchdowns since moving to running back and is averaging 6.9 yards per carry.
Lane has scored a touchdown in seven of eight games since moving to running back and Friday marked his third three-touchdown game during that span.
“He is a difference maker for us,” Flitz said. “He’s a guy that can make the big play and get us the tough yards when we need them.”
The 65 rushing yards by Lane on Friday helped West High rush for 128 yards against a Warrior defense that was giving up less than 100 yards per game on the ground.
West High finished with 382 yards, the most allowed by Washington this season, while advancing to the 4A title game for the first time since 1999.
“It definitely means a lot to the guys on this team, especially the seniors,” Lane said of reaching the title game. We are old enough to be around and remember the seniors before us that got their seasons cut short. We just kept saying our senior year we can’t be like that.”