Howard takes walk down memory lane

WEBSTER CITY – Bob Howard will take a 37-year walk down memory lane tonight.

Webster City’s football coach will face the school – a portion of it, at least – where he started his career when the Lynx conclude the homecoming festivities against Greene County at 7:30 p.m.

A Hall of Fame career that includes 296 victories and three state championships all began in the fall of 1977 at tiny Scranton High School, which eventually became Jefferson-Scranton and now Greene County. Howard, who accepted the Scranton gig when he was just 23 years old, went 22-5 in three years before moving on to Sigourney.

“What’s weird is when I think of those kids, they’re close to my age now. They’re 54 and 55 … they’re old men now,” Howard joked. “That was a long time ago.”

The nostalgia will quickly go away for Howard, as he looks to lead Webster City (1-3, 1-1) to a second consecutive Class 3A District 2 victory. After opening the season against three straight ranked teams, the Lynx took out their frustrations against Algona to the tune of 63-7 seven days ago.

Greene County (1-3, 1-0) dropped a non-district affair to Creston/Orient-Macksburg, 23-7, last week. The Rams lone win also came against Algona, 21-6, in Week 3.

WCHS will line up against a spread offense for the fifth time in as many weeks. Greene County runs out of the wide open formation more than some of the other teams the Lynx have faced, but quarterback Daric Whipple is capable of making throws. He’s completed 29 of 60 passes for 283 yards and two touchdowns. He’s also second on the team in rushing with 144 yards.

“The most dangerous thing they do is (Whipple’s) scrambling. He’s a good runner when he’s flushed out of the pocket,” Howard said. “They’re not a big passing team, but they’re OK.”

Whipple’s scrambling could play into one of the Lynx greatest defensive strengths, as defensive ends Gavin Dinsdale and Victor Jergens are both quick and athletic. Middle linebackers Rylee Lawson and Drew Fielder are solid tacklers in open space as well.

Dylan Hamilton leads the Rams’ offense with 432 yards on the ground. He averages 5.3 yards per carry and has scored three touchdowns.

Webster City’s offense found its stride two weeks ago in a 49-35 loss to fourth-ranked Carroll and then didn’t miss a beat in the romp over Algona. The Lynx took advantage of one short field after another en route to 49 first-half points against the Bulldogs.

And after watching film of last week’s game, Howard says his offense was better than he originally thought.

“Once I watched it, we were a lot better offensively than I thought we were,” Howard said. “We had 300 yards, basically in a half and with short fields. I think we got a little bit frustrated because we didn’t have the long runs we had the week before. But I’m definitely of the school that I would rather have 15 5-yard runs than one 75-yard one.”

Junior tailback Gavin Dinsdale will again be the focal point of the WCHS offense tonight. He’s ripped off 462 yards and eight touchdowns in the last two games; he ranks 10th in 3A in ground yards with 579.

Facing Howard’s single-wing offense for the first time could create a set of problems for the Rams, who haven’t faced a power running team yet this season. The spins, the fakes – they have a way of creating confusion for teams that are unfamiliar with the scheme.

“Usually a lack of familiarity helps the first time or two,” Howard said. “It’s still blocking and tackling … the style of play, whether it’s single wing or whether it’s coach (Dick) Tighe’s I-formation belly, it’s just different than the spread.

“I guess it depends on how big of a deal they make out of it. Sometimes opponents worry about the spinning and faking, and that’s when the advantage comes in with single wing.”

Howard said he would also like to incorporate more passing. Spinback Avery Fuhs attempted just one a week ago; he completed the 51-yard bomb to his twin brother, Alec.

“We’re continuing to work on passing and especially pass protection because, in big games, you’ve got to be able to throw some,” he said.