Playoff Rewind: West High Turns to Ground Game in Rematch With City High
Your Prep Sports
Led by one of the top quarterbacks and most electric playmakers in the state in senior Marcus Morgan the West High offense is known for its explosive plays in the passing game.
But be careful labeling the Trojan offense as one-dimensional.
As it proved in its rematch with cross-town rival City High on Friday West High is capable of doing a lot more than just airing it out.
“We’re not only a passing team, we show that week in and week out,” Morgan said following West High’s win on Friday. “We have a pretty balanced offense and it helps having so many options to go to.”
Morgan may get the headlines but West High coach Garrett Hartwig knows what it takes to win playoff games in Iowa and that starts with running the football.
West High showed it can do just that on Friday, grinding out a season-high 230 rushing yards in its 35-7 win over City High in its Class 4A playoff opener.
The success on the ground wasn’t new for West High, the Trojans are averaging 165 rushing yards per game and 5.6 yards per carry this season.
However, the top rushing effort of the season coming in the playoff opener is a good sign and not hardly a coincidence.
“You’ve got to run the ball in the playoffs in Iowa, and you’ve got to stop the run as well,” Hartwig said. “Those two have been there all year. They’ve been solid and I think the threat of our passing game really helps them out. And hopefully, the threat of our running game will open things up again in the passing game.
Senior Trey King continued a solid season running for 99 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries. Senior Fabian Brown had his second consecutive strong game adding 83 yards on just nine carries.
Eight different Trojans had a carry on Friday helping West High post its top rushing effort of the season by 50 yards. The previous season-high was 180 in the first meeting with City High in week two.
“It just wasn’t a great night to throw the ball with conditions,” Hartwig said. “City had a good defensive scheme in the secondary for us and you’ve just got to take what the defense gives you sometimes.”
King leads West High with 419 yards on the season while Brown has rushed for 170 yards and two touchdowns.
Morgan is also a factor in the West High running game rushing for 163 yards and a team-high four touchdowns.
1,000 yard watch: Regina senior running back Theo Kolie became the first player in the Your Prep Sports area to crack the 1,000-yard mark this season.
Kolie rushed for 104 in a win over Wapello on Friday to push his season total to 1,091 yards. Kolie is averaging 9 yards per carry, better than 136 yards per game on the ground and has scored 23 touchdowns.
Solon senior Jackson Ryan is the other area back with a shot at reaching 1,000 yards this season. Ryan has rushed for 865 yards and 10 touchdowns in eight games.
Big Game for the Boelk Brothers: West Branch sophomores Carver and Kinnick Boelk did a little bit of everything for the Bears on Friday.
Kinnick Boelk caught three passes for a team-leading 73 yards, had a 4-yard run and made 3.5 tackles and picked off a pass.
Carver Boelk was just as busy, add an interception on defense, catching two passes for nine yards and completing a 33-yard pass.
Offensive performer of the week: West High went to its running game in the rematch with City High and senior Trey King showed he was more than capable of carrying the load.
King rushed for 99 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries and also caught two passes for 46 yards in a 35-7 win over the Little Hawks.
Best of the rest: Regina senior running back Theo Kolie has 104 yards and three touchdowns on 18 carries and also caught three passes for 33 yards in a 42-0 win over Wapello.
Solon senior wide receiver Colton Hoffman caught five passes for 119 yards and a touchdown and also had a 15-yard run in a 41-12 win over Oelwein.
West Branch senior quarterback Gavin Hierseman passed for 190 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 24 yards and a score in a 20-13 loss to Mediapolis.
Defensive performer of the week: Solon linebacker Carson Shive is one of only a handful of Spartans returning with playoff experience from last season.
Shive put that experience to good use on Friday with a big game in the Spartans’ postseason opener.
The senior inside linebacker had a team-high 10.5 tackles, including eight solos and a tackle for loss, and also recovered two fumbles in a 41-12 win over Oelwein.
Best of the rest: West High senior linebacker Dijon Genus had a team-high 6.5 tackles including two solo stops and a tackle for loss in a 35-7 win over City High.
Regina lineman Jackson Mills and Aidan Udell combined for five tackles and each had a sack in a 42-0 shutout of Wapello.
West Branch sophomore linebacker Andy Henson had a team-high seven tackles, including five solo stops and picked off a pass in a 20-13 loss to Mediapolis.
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