Following loss, Lynx take out anger on Greene County

BY TROY BANNING

tbanning@freemanjournal.net

WEBSTER CITY – With one guttural scream as his fists were clenched, Cole Briese trotted off the field for the final time Friday night. Soon, it was time to rip the tape off his wrists, take a knee on the sideline and watch the final 15 minutes of play.

He didn’t really say much because he didn’t have to. He let his play do the talking … and it wouldn’t shut up.

Briese, a senior defensive end, refused to be blocked and was the lynchpin of one of the most dominant defensive performances by a Webster City team in recent memory during Friday’s 49-6 homecoming thrashing of Class 3A District 2 rival Greene County at Lynx Field.

Eight solo tackles. Five tackles for loss. Two sacks by himself and another shared with James Van Diest.

Dominant, and that’s an understatement.

“You practice well, you play well and that’s how I felt going into this game,” Briese said. “Our front is just powerful, and Riley (Mishler) and I on the ends are pretty quick getting there and we all work as a team.”

The team effort led to four sacks and 13 total tackles for loss. Greene County amassed a measly two yards rushing on 38 carries and finished with just five first downs and 30 total yards.

“I thought defensively that was a very good performance,” WCHS head coach Bob Howard said. “We were bringing (Briese) off the edge and I think he got some scot-free runs at it. Plus he’s quick and he plays hard. He’s one of the playmakers on defense and we need that.”

WCHS (3-1, 1-1) limited Rams’ leading rusher Trey Tucker to 20 yards on 17 carries. Quarterback Clint Dennhardt spent the majority of the night picking turf out of his face mask; he lost 35 yards on 11 totes.

“I think we just overpowered them and I think we made a statement,” WCHS sophomore middle linebacker Caleb Olson said after piling up a game-high 91?2 tackles, including eight solo stops. “We’ll just keep building off this and get better from here.”

Cooper Lawson also had a sack and Zane Williams made two stops in the backfield for a WCHS team that had redemption as a motivator following a disappointing 31-25 loss to Gilbert just seven days earlier.

“Following a loss, that was a good way to come out,” Howard said. “Tucker’s a pretty good back and we tackled him well. We limited him pretty well.”

Trailing 35-0 at the half, the Rams had just 10 yards of offense and had already been dropped behind the line of scrimmage 10 times.

Greene County’s only touchdown came from its defense late in the third quarter when Tucker scooped up a fumble in the Lynx backfield and sprinted 52 yards untouched to the end zone, but by that time most of the Lynx starters were watching from the sideline.

“It was really fun and it was good to celebrate with my teammates after a good win,” Briese said. “We had a little trouble (against Gilbert) and we just wanted to show everyone that we’re here and we want it.”

WCHS senior tailback Robert Frederiksen surpassed 200 yards rushing for the third time in as many weeks, as he rolled up 209 and a pair of touchdowns on just 13 carries. He went over 100 yards at the 5:13 mark of the first quarter and chewed up 16.1 yards per carry on the night.

“It’s been great so far, but I’m going to keep pushing myself to get better,” Frederiksen said.

Frederiksen has rushed for 690 yards and seven touchdowns so far this season. He’s averaging a ridiculous 10 yards every time he touches the ball.

Trace Kepler added 88 yards and a touchdown, Payton Kannuan ripped off 73 more yards and a pair of scores, and Drew Fielder bounced into the end zone twice as well.

WCHS put up 470 yards of total offense, 424 of those on the ground. The Lynx averaged – averaged – 10.1 yards per carry.

“The offensive line blocked really well,” Kannuan, who ran over, through and around defenders on touchdown scampers of 31 and 38 yards in the first half, said.

Fielder also connected on 3 of 10 passes for 46 yards, including a key 10-yard strike to Zane Carter on a third-and-nine call on the opening possession of the game. Frederiksen blew by everyone for a 29-yard TD run on the very next play and the rout was on.

“There were some very nice holes that they gave us by alignments and we expanded on them,” Howard said. “It was nice way to come out.”

Kannuan made it 14-0 with 6:25 left in the first quarter and then added to his highlight tape by breaking five tackles – he flat out ran over one Ram defender – and spinning his way past another player on his 38-yard TD run with 9:41 left before the half.

“He’s a very good football player,” Howard said of Kannuan, who didn’t carry the ball in the second half. “He’s done a great job of taking what he had and getting better.”

Frederiksen plowed into the end zone from 2 yards out less than two minutes later, and an untouched 1-yard run by Fielder with 4:07 to go in the second quarter made it 35-0.

WCHS showed its explosiveness all night, evident in its quick scoring drives of 1:37, 17 seconds, 53 seconds, 44 seconds, 2:13 and 12 seconds. The longest drive (3:25) ended with Fielder backing his way across the goal line on an 8-yard jaunt early in the third quarter.

Kepler answered the Tucker fumble return on the next play from scrimmage by zipping by everyone and sprinting down the WCHS sideline 76 yards to the house.

The only thing to taint an otherwise celebratory night occurred late in the third quarter when Olson had to be helped off the field after injuring his knee while covering a kickoff. The centerpiece of the Lynx defense and the team’s leading tackler, Olson’s availability for Friday’s test at Ballard (3-1, 1-1) is unknown.

“I just took a helmet to the side of my knee and my knee buckled,” Olson said. “It was instant pain.”

Fielder, a starter at middle linebacker as a sophomore in 2014, filled in for two series and accumulated four solo tackles.