Early start, small crowd, rain ... no problem for Lynx
PERRY — Caked in mud to the point that the No. 23 on the back of his jersey was barely visible, Caleb Olson had a smile on his face as he reminisced about the good old days while he stood in the center of the swamp at Dewey Field late Friday night.
Webster City’s Class 3A District 2 tussle with Perry took the Lynx junior linebacker back to when he was a freshman.
Light in the sky. Bleachers with plenty of available seating. An underwhelming sense of electricity in the air. Then an hour-long halftime weather delay, followed by torrential downpours throughout the second half.
It was bizarro ball to be sure, but WCHS thrived anyway.
“It was a little weird,” Olson said after he collected six tackles and recovered the game’s only turnover on a fumble in the Lynx 42-7 shellacking of Perry. “We just had to create our own energy because there was none here.”
Kickoff was moved up two hours in an attempt to avoid the thunderstorms that were forecast for later in the night, but the showers came down sideways as the teams warmed up. Only a smattering of fans were seated when the game began.
But none of it mattered, not to WCHS anyway.
“We talked all about it (on Thursday),” WCHS head coach Bob Howard said. “I told them there isn’t going to be anybody there, it’s going to be daylight and raining, so just focus. And I thought they did a good job of that.”
The contest was as lopsided as the score indicated. WCHS (6-1, 4-1) out-gained the Bluejays 401-71, scored touchdowns on six of its 10 possessions, ran 32 more plays (70-38), moved the chains 17 more times (22-5) and owned a better than 14-minute time of possession advantage.
The quagmire meant the aerial attack was thrown out, but that was fine with Howard. The Lynx attempted just two passes, one being a bomb with less than 10 seconds remaining in the first half.
“It was workmanlike,” Howard said. “It wasn’t flashy, but it was a good win.”
Spinback Dylan Steen rushed for 177 yards — 103 of his output came in the first half that saw WCHS build a 21-7 advantage — and three touchdowns on 21 carries. Carter Bedford, who was in the starting lineup at tailback for the first time, churned out 120 yards and scored three touchdowns as well on 22 totes.
Bedford got his chance to enjoy the spotlight while Zane Williams and Trace Kepler, the Nos. 1 and 2 tailbacks on the depth chart all season, watched in street clothes.
“I felt pretty comfortable,” Bedford said. “It’s obviously not how I wanted to get my first chance, but I made the most of it.”
Wingback Drake Doolittle added 45 yards on the ground and Jordan Tanner got six second-half carries at tailback and produced 34 yards.
WCHS averaged 5.9 yards per carry and had three clock-chewing touchdown drives of 3:28, 6:04 and 5:11 thanks in large part to its offensive line that shoved Perry where it wanted, when it wanted.
“The line was great,” Steen said. “Their footwork was really good in the rain and Perry was slipping all over the place.”
The dominant effort up front is what this offensive line has come to expect every week, junior tackle Austin Lampman said.
“We take a lot of pride in it and we all take our jobs very seriously,” he said. “We wanted to set the tone and I think we did that.”
The WCHS defense, meanwhile, was as stingy as it’s been all season. It forced six three-and-out series and seven punts. The Bluejays (2-5, 1-4) didn’t get their initial first down of the game until 10:42 remained in the second quarter and moved the ball with success on only one possession, which resulted in a 1-yard quarterback keeper touchdown by Alexis Garrido with under a minute remaining in the first half.
Perry finished with minus-5 yards rushing. Garrido completed 6 of 18 passes for 76 yards.
“That’s what we think we should do every game,” Olson said. “It was 21-7 at halftime, but the second half was all ours.”
WCHS took the 14-point lead into the intermission behind touchdown runs of nine and six yards by Bedford and a 31-yard scamper by Steen. The Lynx had their way with Perry on their trap plays up the gut with Steen.
“Coming in we were pretty sure we could trap them and we did,” Howard said. “(Offensive guard James) Cherry had a great game trapping and we were able to get our tackles up on their linebackers.”
Steen busted through the middle on a 23-yard gain on the Lynx opening play of the third quarter and it was a sign of things to come. A few plays later Bedford took the ball around the right end for an 11-yard touchdown jaunt that made it 28-7.
Steen capped a 64-yard drive later in the third with back-to-back runs of 27 and 4 yards that pushed the cushion to 34-7.
Perry fumbled on the first play of its ensuing possession and Olson came out of the scrum with the ball at the Bluejays’ 14.
A 10-yard run by Luke Rohmiller, his first carry of the season, set up another Steen 4-yard touchdown run on a power plow behind the line with 1:14 to go in the third quarter. Bedford tacked on the two-point conversion that gave WCHS a 35-point lead and started the continuous clock that remained over the final 13:14 of play.
Howard pulled his starting offense off the field with 10:30 remaining in the fourth quarter. Sophomore wingback Garrett Whitmore was able to break one nice run in the late stages of the contest and finished with 19 yards on three carries.
WCHS collected six tackles for loss, including sacks by Harrison Hayes and Blake Johnson. Doolittle made 31⁄2 tackles; Tanner and Max Hackbarth had three each.
The WCHS win, coupled with seventh-ranked Boone’s 28-7 upset loss to Ballard, put the two teams in a tie for second in the district behind unbeaten and top-ranked Dallas Center-Grimes.
Webster City 14 7 21 0–42
Perry 0 7 0 0–7
WC — Carter Bedford 9 run (Nathan Ferrell kick), 8:32.
WC — Dylan Steen 31 run (Ferrell kick), 1:29.
WC — Bedford 6 run (Ferrell kick), 3:29.
PER — Alex Garrido 1 run (German Alvaranga kick), 0:42.
WC — Bedford 11 run (Ferrell kick), 8:15.
WC — Steen 4 run (kick failed), 1:43.
WC — Steen 4 run (Bedford run), 1:14.