Your Prep Sports
West High (2-1) at City High (1-2)
When: Friday, 7 p.m.
Where: Frank Bates Field
It’s Boot week.
One of the best rivalries in Iowa high school sports takes center stage on Friday as West High travels to City High for the annual Battle for the Boot.
City High has won the last two meetings between the two cross-town rivals by a combined total of 105-7.
A win on Friday would give the Little Hawks their first three-game winning streak in the series since City High won seven in a row from 2005 to 2011.
West High is looking to reverse the recent trend in the Battle for the Boot series with its third win at City High in its last four trips to Bates Field.
The Trojans won at City High in 2017 and 2019 before a 56-7 loss in its most recent trip to Bates Field in 2021.
Prior to its 52-6 win at City High in 2017 West High hadn’t won at Bates Field since 1999.
Players to Watch
City High got a big boost in the running game last week with a breakthrough performance from senior Miles Parlet.
After gaining 16 yards on five carries in the first two games Parlet rushed for 206 yards and a touchdown on 38 carries in a 49-28 win at Ames in week three.
The emergence of Parlet alongside junior Dominic Salibi in the City High running game comes at a perfect time with the ability to run the ball always paramount to success in the Boot series (more on that later).
The 5-foot-9, 185-pound Parlet provides a different dimension in the City High backfield and could be relied on heavily with junior Bobby Bacon expected to make his second career start at quarterback for City High.
West High junior quarterback Jack Wallace will be making his 22nd career start on Friday and his third appearance in the Boot game.
That experience is invaluable for the West High signal caller.
Wallace has completed 12-of-36 passes for 163 yards and a touchdown with four interceptions in the last two games against City High.
The 6-foot-3, 210-pound Wallace is a different quarterback this season.
Wallace has completed 61 percent of his passes while throwing for 682 yards and six touchdowns and has also rushed for two touchdowns this season.
Look for a big game from West High’s junior offensive leader on Friday as the Trojans look to find explosive plays in the passing game
Keys to the Game
What’s the saying?
A game can’t be won in the first quarter but it can be lost in the first quarter?
In losses to City High the past two seasons West High has trailed 14-0 and 21-0 after the first quarter and 35-0 and 28-0 at the half.
For the Trojans return the Boot to the West side they need to get off to a much better start on Friday.
It’s a rivalry game on the road. Emotions will be high, the stands will be full.
West High needs to ride out that storm early and be in position to win the game going into the second half.
Get some pressure
In back-to-back losses to Joliet Catholic and Liberty High to open the season City High had a total of one sack.
Sure, a run-heavy Joliet Catholic offense didn’t give much opportunity to get to the quarterback but Liberty High put the ball in the air 33 times in a 41-14 week-two win and most of those attempts came with a clean pocket.
Last week City High got pressure on the quarterback recording 6.5 sacks in a 49-28 win over Ames.
The Little Hawks got 2.5 sacks from junior defensive lineman Jalyn Ford and three from senior defensive back Jake Mitchell in the win over the Little Cyclones.
It doesn’t matter where the pressure comes from on Friday but if City High wants to cause problems for the West High offense it will likely need to find a way to interrupt the rhythm of Wallace and the Trojan passing game.
Win the battle up front
Over the last decade and a half the Battle for the Boot has really come down to the battle up front.
In the last 15 Boot games the team with more rushing yards has won 14 times with the only exception a 36-32 West High win in 2019 in which City High outgained West High 250-122 ont the ground.
Outside of that game every time a team has gained more yards on the ground in the series dating back to 2008 that team has hoisted the Boot.
Look, the game has changed, playing calling has changed and passing has become more prevalent across the high school game.
Yet when City High and West High meet the team that runs the ball better seems to win.
West High has won games in this series lately with dynamic passing quarterbacks like Evan Flitz and Marcus Morgan.
The Trojans still won the rushing battle in all but one of those wins.
City High has won back-to-back games behind one of the best passing quarterbacks in the state in Drew Larson.
Still, City High has outgained West High 632 to 177 on the ground the past two seasons.
With the way these two teams play this season the winner may not have to rush for 150 yards but they are going to have to play well up front whether that is protecting the quarterback or in the run game.
No matter how good the skill players are this game always seems to come down to the big guys up front.