WEBSTER CITY - Bus rides and large crowds rooting for its demise have become the norm for the Webster City football team.
And it's only going to get more difficult tonight.
Playing on the road for the third time in four weeks, the Lynx (2-1, 1-0) will make the 30-minute trip to Iowa Falls tonight to take on North Central Conference rival Iowa Falls-Alden (2-1, 1-0) in Class 3A District 3 action.
DFJ photo by Troy Banning
Webster City junior tailback Connor Larson breaks a tackle on his way to a 60-yard touchdown run against Gilbert at Lynx Field during Week 2. Larson is the Lynx leading rusher heading into tonight’s game against Iowa Falls-Alden. The game will kickoff from Iowa Falls at 7:30 p.m.
Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m.
Road games don't usually favor the visitor, but that doesn't mean it's any different than stepping between the lines at home.
"Home or away, I don't think it really matters," WCHS head coach Bob Howard said. "It's just as easy to play on the road as it is for home. It's actually easier for me because I don't have to set anything up and the bus ride makes things more stable."
WCHS will try to improve upon last week's tumultuous 28-21 victory over winless Charles City. The Lynx made things hard on themselves with 13 penalties and two turnovers, and were forced to reel off 14 consecutive points over the final 6 minutes to prevail.
Those types of errors cannot be afforded tonight against an Iowa Falls-Alden team that has reeled off consecutive easy victories after opening the season with a 35-34 loss to fourth-ranked (2A) West Marshall.
The Cadets are good, Howard says. And they're a rival, which puts an even greater emphasis on the battle.
"I hope this is a big game for the kids," Howard said. "Sometimes we need to get a little more excited and fired up than we do, so playing people you play in other sports should add something to it."
IF-A boasts three dangerous weapons in the backfield, keyed by senior quarterback Brandon Norman - the 3A state runner-up in the 100- and 200-meter dash to former WCHS all-stater Keagan Parks at last spring's state track meet. Norman completes better than 70 percent of his passes and averages 15 yards per completion, and he's yet to throw an interception in 41 attempts this season.
Norman can also make over-aggressive defenses pay with his wheels.
"He's a good athlete and he makes some big plays for them, particularly scrambling," Howard said of Norman. "They're a challenge because they've got good skill kids and their line is good as well. Against the people we've seen on film, they pretty much dominated the line of scrimmage."
Senior tailback Nate Bahr (221 yards rushing, 3 touchdowns) and junior fullback Bryton Tichy (144 yards, 3 touchdowns) average 8.2 and 9.0 yards per tote, respectively.
"They ran the fullback really well against Humboldt (last week in a 26-7 IF-A win)," Howard said. "We've got to stop the fullback in between the tackles first."
The WCHS defense was potent against the run in its first two weeks, but last week Charles City's Adam Murray busted two long touchdown runs and became the first back to rush for 100 yards against the Lynx this season.
Junior tailback Connor Larson (297 yards rushing, 3 touchdowns) leads the Lynx offense at 6.8 yards per carry. Junior spinback Alex Oswald has accounted for 403 yards of total offense (215 rushing, 188 passing) and seven touchdowns.
The Cadet defense was susceptible to the run in its Week Zero loss to West Marshall, as Trojans' junior tailback Duncan Ferch rambled for 232 yards and three touchdowns.
WCHS will follow up tonight's road contest with back-to-back home games against Algona and Clear Lake.