THE LYNX WAY
HUXLEY – Robert Frederiksen was covered in dirt and mud from head to toe, the telltale paint that football players wear with pride following an active night on the gridiron as the hour moved past 10 p.m. Friday night.
He should have been beyond exhausted as he walked out of the Webster City locker room and maybe he was; or maybe the flowing adrenaline was winning the battle against his tired muscles.
Forty carries, 198 yards and four touchdowns – or as Frederiksen would call it, just another game. Some running backs would need help just walking after that workload, but all Frederiksen did was ask for more.
“I’m ready to go out there and do it again,” Frederiksen said after he helped lead Webster City to a statement-making 35-7 dismantling of previously-ranked Ballard on the Bombers’ Rich Strouse Field, and on their homecoming, no less. “That’s what I want to do every game. I want to keep pushing myself.”
Frederiksen was dominant and so was his punishing offensive line that turned the sizable Ballard defensive front into mush. The Lynx defense was locked in as well, as it blanked the Bombers for more than 42 minutes until the outcome was no longer in doubt.
It was easily the finest WCHS performance of the season, and it came at the perfect time in a showdown where the loser’s playoff hopes were likely to evaporate.
“We knew we had a good chance going into it and we prepared well all week,” WCHS senior Drew Fielder said after he shined on both sides of the ball and special teams. “It doesn’t matter if they’re bigger than us. We knew that as long as we used good technique, we could ram (the ball) down their throats.”
WCHS (4-1, 2-1 Class 3A District 2) out-gained Ballard (3-2, 1-2) 359-226 and owned a more than 10-minute time of possession advantage thanks to 313 ground yards and a 68-51 edge in plays.
“We are definitely a pound away ball control team,” WCHS head coach Bob Howard said. “I thought we did a helluva job up front (on the offensive line) and I thought the defense just played lights out.”
Fielder ripped off 79 yards on 12 carries, 49 coming on a fourth-quarter sprint up the middle that put WCHS at the Ballard 2-yard line and led to Frederiksen’s fourth touchdown. Starting at middle linebacker in place of injured Caleb Olson, Fielder also made four solo tackles, and on special teams he handled all of the kicking duties.
“I was really tired out there, but I love defense,” Fielder, who completed 2 of 4 passes for 46 yards, said.
Ballard set its defense to take away wingback Payton Kannuan on the counter and it was effective, as the senior speedster was limited to just 23 yards. But that decision left the Bombers susceptible to Frederiksen’s antics.
“The big deal was we were able to do all that without Payton Kannuan breaking big plays,” Howard said. “That had sometimes two extra players on the quick side trying to stop Payton. Well, they stopped Payton, but they didn’t stop Robert or Drew.”
Frederiksen, who is second on the 3A?rushing leaderboard, pushed his season total up to 892 yards in just four games, an average of 223 an outing.
Frederiksen lugged the ball nine more times in the first half than Ballard ran plays, 26-17. He churned out 113 yards during the game’s initial 24 minutes and reached the end zone on first-quarter runs of 1 and 3 yards to stake the team to a 14-0 lead.
WCHS converted on a fourth-and-inches and then moved deep into Ballard territory on a 34-yard Fielder pass to Kannuan to set up a score on the opening drive of the game. Bombers’ tailback Hunter Wright then fumbled on Ballard’s first play from scrimmage; Zane Carter jumped on top of it and four plays later Frederiksen was in the end zone again.
“That was major, honestly,” WCHS offensive guard Ashton High said. “That got us thinking that we could do that all game.”
Ballard, which had just 40 yards of offense at the half, never threatened the end zone until the fourth quarter. Lynx free safety Dylan Steen thwarted one drive when he stepped in front of a Max Stoltz pass and returned the interception 47 yards deep into Ballard territory. Filling in for a cramping Frederiksen, Zane Williams burst through an opening and went 10 yards to the house for a 28-0 lead with 7:56 remaining.
“I thought the defense played really well,” Kooper Jondal, who started in place of Cole Briese at defensive end, said after he manned one edge and made a tackle for loss. “We had to fight and we knew it was going to be hard.”
Needing a positive drive to cut into the WCHS lead coming out of halftime, Ballard instead went three and out. The Bombers suffered the same fate on their next possession, too, and in between WCHS moved 73 yards down the field and opened up a 21-0 cushion on a 3-yard rumble by Frederiksen.
“Coming out of halftime, the coaches said (the Bombers’ opening possession of the third quarter) would be the biggest series of the year,” Fielder said. “It really set the tone.”
Wright, who entered the game averaging 130 yards per game, was muzzled by WCHS and finished with just 43 yards on 11 carries. Stoltz, a dual-threat capable of chewing up sizable chunks of yards, managed just 27 on the ground and a 4 of 14, 57-yard passing night before he was pulled in the fourth quarter.
Not bad for a WCHS defense that played without its most effective pass rusher (Briese) and leading tackler (Olson) for most of the game.
“Caleb Olson will be back and full speed (this) week,” Howard said. “We sure don’t want Drew to play both ways, but he’s a tremendous linebacker and he played very well. And Jondal came off the edge well and had a great night.”
Williams collected a team-high five tackles, four of them solo stops. Steen had his best tackling night with 41?2. Carter made two tackles and came up with a late interception down near the goal line.