LYNX LIKE TO RUN, RUN, RUN
WEBSTER CITY – Death, taxes and the vaunted Webster City ground game.
The first two are inevitable and, in recent years anyway, so is the latter. And through three games, the Lynx reputation of power football and a dizzying offense has only grown.
WCHS (2-1, 0-1) enters tonight’s 7:30 p.m. homecoming date with Class 3A District 2 rival Greene County as the leading rushing team in the class and No. 2 overall with 1,217 yards.
An accomplishment, to say the least, even more so when you consider that WCHS lost – lost! – the program’s all-time rushing king Gavin Dinsdale and a total of 2,828 yards off last year’s team to graduation.
The faces may change, but the production remains the same.
“I always expect to run the ball,” WCHS head coach Bob Howard said. “We’ve still got a long ways to go to be more disciplined up front and not make mistakes, but we’re going to keep doing what we do. We are different and it’s a tough preparation for other people.”
WCHS has ranked in the 3A top 10 in rushing five times in the past eight years, sat at the top of the class in 2011 and was second a year ago.
The Lynx success this season is part-system and part-talent – something they once again have in droves.
Despite missing the season opener, senior tailback Robert Frederiksen already has 481 yards, the fourth-highest total in 3A, and five touchdowns. Senior wingback Payton Kannuan (322 yards) averages an eye-popping 11.5 yards per carry and has reached the end zone three times.
But on the flip side, the Lynx passing attack has struggled and been non-existent in the last two weeks. It’s an area where Howard knows his team needs to improve, starting tonight against the Rams (0-3, 0-2).
“It’s a game experience thing and relaxing a little bit,” Howard said. “We’ve worked on it a lot in practice … making easier reads and stuff like that are what we worked on this week. Hopefully its’ going to be a little more clear cut.”
If the weather cooperates, Howard would like to see his team complete a couple early passes to take some of the pressure off first-year starting spinback Drew Fielder. Finding Kannuan available in open space would be a good place to start.
“I think he’s the best player in the district in the open field and we don’t always hit him in those situations,” Howard said of Kannuan. “But at the same time, I don’t want to change how we run our offense. I’m not going to fall into the trap of watching TV on Saturday and Sunday and thinking every high school team can do it. We have to stay true to the offense that we run.”
Expect plenty of ground and pound tonight against a Greene County squad that is still looking to break through following a rigorous three-week stretch that included match-ups against solid programs from Carroll Kuemper, Harlan and Dallas Center-Grimes.
The Rams have been outscored 94-31 and allow 264.3 yards rushing per game. They showed signs of life a week ago by scaring Dallas Center-Grimes before the Mustangs ultimately won, 18-12. However. DC-G was without starting quarterback Damon Clapper.
“This is a big game for us,” Howard said. “They played DC-G tough and we consider them to be one of the toughest teams in the district. Greene County’s kids are tough and they play hard.”
After back-to-back standout performances in lopsided wins over Humboldt and Clear Lake, the WCHS defense allowed more than 400 yards of offense in a 31-25 loss to Gilbert seven days ago. It will try to get back on track against Greene County’s spread system that features running back Trey Tucker (313 yards).
“(Tucker) is good. He runs hard and he’s hard to tackle,” Howard said. “He’s got some speed and he’s also a very dangerous receiver out of the backfield.”
Already with a district loss, WCHS cannot afford another setback – not with ninth-ranked Ballard and DC-G on the schedule in the next two weeks – if it wants to remain in playoff contention. But Howard says the Lynx have prepared for the Rams just like they have every other opponent.
“I haven’t noticed anything different from (the players) this week,” he said. “The practices have been good. There’s no more resolve now than there was last week because they want to win every week.”