IT’S OVER EARLY
ALGONA – Back-to-back plays early in the third quarter spoke volumes about Drew Fielder’s hunger to be back on the football field on a picturesque Friday night for football.
On second-and-long, Algona running back Noah Arrowood looked for an opening off tackle and ran smack-dab into Fielder, Webster City’s sophomore linebacker, who promptly took Arrowood off his feet and planted him hard on the turf. On the very next play, Fielder slid back into pass coverage and plucked a Jackson Helmers pass out of the air for an interception – his second of the contest.
The score was 49-0 in Webster City’s favor. The game was over, and yet Fielder was playing like the win was still up for grabs.
Focused and intense – that’s what happens when you’re forced to sit and watch like Fielder had to because of a knee injury during the first three games of the season.
He certainly made up for the lost time in the Lynx 63-7 blistering of the Bulldogs in Class 3A District 2 play.
“It was torture. There’s nothing worse than sitting out and watching your teammates play the game you love to play,” Fielder, who returned his first interception in the opening quarter for a touchdown and collected a pair of tackles in a little over a half on the field, said. “It was just heartbreaking.”
His heart mended quickly and WCHS (1-3, 1-1) played like men among boys against winless Algona (0-4, 0-2). The Lynx defense forced five turnovers and scored a pair of touchdowns, and the special teams added a third score following a second-half blocked punt.
The game got out of hand quickly. WCHS reeled off 20 points in the initial 7 minutes, 21 seconds and took a seven-touchdown advantage into the halftime break. The entire second half was played under a continuous clock.
It was precisely what the Lynx needed after clawing through the toughest 3A schedule during the season’s opening three weeks.
“This wasn’t about Algona. We were 0-3 just like they were and our kids needed rewarded for the effort they’ve put in,” WCHS head coach Bob Howard said. “That week after the Gilbert game with Clear Lake staring us in the face … to keep sucking it up, that was a big deal and they did need this.”
WCHS accumulated 304 yards of offense and took advantage of short fields all night. With the ball-hogging defense, the Lynx owned field position, starting in Bulldog territory three times at the 13, 20 and 22.
Algona finished with just 101 yards of offense, 77 coming on a long drive that resulted in its only touchdown against the Lynx reserves early in the final period. The Bulldogs were their own worst enemy, as they fumbled eight times and moved the chains a meager three times.
“We were definitely battle tested coming in here and we knew the kinds of offenses we’d already played,” WCHS senior linebacker Rylee Lawson, the anchor of the defense who notched 21?2 tackles, said. “Presented with an opportunity you’re going to take it and that’s the type of defense you have to be if you’re going to win games.”
Coming off a single-game school record 369 rushing yards last week, junior tailback Gavin Dinsdale put together his second straight four-touchdown performance, all on 1-yard rumbles right up the gut in the first half. He finished with 95 yards on 23 carries.
Fielder’s pick-six – he jumped a Helmers pass directed for the sideline – covered 26 yards and gave WCHS the 20-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
“I dropped into a curl zone and the quarterback didn’t see me,” Fielder said. “He just threw it right into my hands.”
A 2-yard TD burst over the left side by Domenic Khaleet added to the cushion early in the second quarter, and the Lynx only pass of the contest – a 51-yard bomb from Avery Fuhs that hit twin brother Alec in stride – set up another Dinsdale score.
Alec Fuhs got the better of Helmers late in the second quarter when he intercepted a pass and went 30 yards untouched down the sideline to the house.
Sean Vogelbacher also had a first-half interception – it came after Hunter Bryan batted a Helmers pass into the air and right into the junior’s arms – and returned it all the way back, but the touchdown was waved off on the Lynx only penalty of the night.
No worries. It just allowed Dinsdale to add to his touchdown haul.
Cole Briese and James Cherry teamed up for the Lynx special teams touchdown. Briese broke free and blocked a punt midway through the third period; Cherry, a freshman, scooped it up and went 17 yards unencumbered to paydirt.
Diminutive sophomore wingback Payton Kannuan capped the avalanche of points with a 33-yard sprint around the left end with 4:46 remaining. Kannuan chewed up 60 yards on just three carries.
Khaleet contributed 37 of the Lynx 253 rushing yards on four carries. Avery Fuhs busted loose for 42 ground yards on five totes.
Arrowood (56 yards) and Esden Carroll (43) accounted for all of the Bulldogs’ ground yards. The slew of fumbles resulted in Helmers losing 37 yards.
Trevor Loeschen accounted for Algona’s only points on a 14-yard TD pass from Helmers early in the fourth quarter.
Briese and Cherry shared the tackles lead with four each. Victor Jergens made three stops and also recovered a fumble.
WCHS will now prepare for a two-game home stand, starting with Friday’s homecoming clash with Greene County (1-3, 1-0).