Another 300-yard game for Williams in Lynx rout

Senior torches Rams for 336 on ground; Steen throws 3 TD’s, racks up 205 yards

WCHS tailback Zane Williams (7) fist bumps with Hunter Hayes following a 66-yard touchdown run in the third quarter against Greene County in Jefferson on Friday. Williams rushed for 336 yards in the Lynx 40-18 victory. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

JEFFERSON — Zane Williams was oblivious to the feat he had achieved — that never-before hurdle he galloped over with ease — as he stood on the turf at Linduska Field late Friday night.

“I don’t know, was I even close to 200 yards?” Williams asked as he pushed his sweat-saturated hair out of his eyes following sixth-ranked (Class 3A) Webster City’s 40-18 romp over Greene County. “I honestly have no idea.”

Hey, Zane, keep going higher. A lot higher, actually.

Williams, Webster City’s senior tailback, gashed Greene County for a career-high 336 yards and three touchdowns on 27 carries — an eye-popping 12.4 yards per tote — and the Lynx overcame a gaggle of tackling woes to stay unbeaten and win for the 23rd time in their last 24 regular season games.

On the heels of a 302-yard outburst during a Week 3 rout of Gilbert, Williams’ total against Greene County (0-4, 0-2 District 2) was the third-most in a single game in program history.

WCHS all-state offensive lineman Cooper Lawson (51) with the pancake block in the first quarter on Friday in Jefferson. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

To eclipse 300 yards once is cause for applause. To do it twice, in a span of 14 days no less, is unheard of in the storied history of the program.

Not bad for a first-year starter in the backfield.

“I didn’t think it would go this well at all,” Williams, who leads the state (all classes) in rushing with 934 yards, said after he became the founding member of the Lynx multiple-game 300-yard club. “I mean, I thought I could be a decent running back … I just keep running hard and the line keeps blocking well.”

Playing 10 defenders within a few yards of the line of scrimmage, the Rams sold out against the run. There was just one problem; when Williams did find a sliver of daylight, he turned the field into his personal playground with touchdown runs of 38, 80 and 66 yards.

“When you play that style of defense, you’re gambling that you don’t get split,” WCHS head coach Bob Howard said. “When we were able to split it, he was gone because he’s dang fast.”

Webster City senior defensive end Blake Johnson (85) hits and drops Greene County quarterback Clint Dennhardt in the backfield for a loss during the second half Friday in Jefferson. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

Williams chewed up 166 yards and scored twice — he went over the right side of his offensive line and down the field 38 yards late in the first quarter and then took the same path on his 80-yard jaunt with 3:16 remaining in the second quarter — in the first half to help WCHS (4-0, 2-0 District 2) storm out to a 33-8 lead.

Four of the Lynx five first-half trips to the end zone were courtesy of big plays, something that has become common for 3A’s top-rated offense that averages — averages! — 40.05 yards on its 22 touchdowns.

Spinback Dylan Steen torched Greene County for three touchdown passes. He found a wide open Jordan Tanner for a 42-yard score in the first quarter, connected with Tanner again on a perfectly-executed 9-yard slant on fourth-and-eight in the second quarter, and then just before the half hit Trace Kepler in stride over the middle on a 65-yard touchdown.

Steen accounted for 205 yards of offense, 139 through the air on 5 of 14 passing and 66 on the ground. He put up 130 of his passing yards in the opening half.

“We’re obviously a ground team, but Steen is a great thrower,” Tanner, who caught four balls for 74 yards, said. “We hope that’s just something else teams will have to worry about.”

Trace Kepler hauls in a pass over the middle from Dylan Steen and looks at an open field in front of him on Friday. He raced to the end zone for a 65-yard touchdown in the first half. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

WCHS built its advantage to 40-8 on the opening possession of the third quarter when Williams got to the perimeter and out ran the Rams down their sideline from 66 yards away.

The Lynx finished with 565 yards of offense, 426 of those on the ground. They held a six-plus minute time of possession advantage as well.

But it wasn’t all sunshine and roses for WCHS. Far from it, actually.

Frustration poured out of the coaches and players as Greene County piled up 204 yards rushing — 107 from tailback Colby Kafer and another 97 and two touchdowns from quarterback Clint Dennhardt. The Rams entered the game with just 50 ground yards total on the season.

Missed tackles in space allowed Greene County to march down the field effortlessly on its two scoring drives.

WCHS senior Harrison Hayes (71) gets off the turf after dropping Greene County quarterback Clint Dennhardt (15) for a loss during the Lynx 40-18 victory on Friday in Jefferson. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

Dennhardt added another 132 yards through the air — he completed 11 of 25 passes — to give the Rams 336 yards of offense, a number that didn’t sit well with Howard.

“I’m not happy defensively at all,” he said. “I think we are very, very soft and I really don’t like the idea of trying to outscore people, but that’s where we are right now.

“(Teams) running on us, I don’t deal with that real well at all. I think it can be fixed, but we’ll see.”

Greene County also scored on a safety late in the game when a botched snap on a Lynx punt rolled out of the back of the end zone.

Williams led the defense as well with seven tackles. Luke Rohmiller and Max Hackbarth both had five. WCHS registered nine tackles for loss, two by linebacker Caleb Olson. Kooper Jondal wrapped up Dennhardt in the first half for the team’s only sack.

“(Tackling) is just one of our fundamental things we need to keep working on every week,” Rohmiller said. “Fundamentals can always get better.”

WCHS recovered three fumbles, but scored just six points off those turnovers. Steen flopped on a loose ball on the first play of the game to give the Lynx a short field, but they turned the ball over on downs.

And on and on it went. Two steps forward, one step back, two steps forward …

“We had some good moments and some bad moments,” Tanner said. “We showed glimpses of the team we are, but we also had some spots that we need to work on.”

Enter Ballard (1-3, 1-1), which will invade Lynx Field this Friday night. Like WCHS, the Bombers possess one of the top-five rushing teams in the class.

“Ballard is sure going to run the football,” Howard said.

Webster City 14 19 7 0–40

Greene County 0 8 8 2–18

First Quarter

WC — Jordan Tanner 42 pass from Dylan Steen (Nathan Ferrell kick), 4:19.

WC — Zane Williams 38 run (Ferrell kick), 2:20.

Second Quarter

WC — Tanner 8 pass from Steen (kick failed), 5:42.

WC — Williams 80 run (Ferrell kick), 3:16.

GC — Clint Dennhardt 1 run (Jake Berns pass from Leonardo Marques), 1:39.

WC — Trace Kepler 65 pass from Steen (kick failed), 1:17.

Third Quarter

WC — Williams 66 run (Ferrell kick), 9:06

GC — Dennhardt 2 run (Jordan Patterson pass from Dennhardt), 3:29.

Fourth Quarter

GC — Safety, 1:02.