No. 10 Lynx face another must-win test against district cellar dweller Cadets
WEBSTER CITY — With its postseason life still on the line, the Webster City football team understands that it can’t afford to take one play, one quarter, or one game for granted.
No matter what the preconceived notions may be.
Sitting in a second-place tie with Boone in the Class 3A District 2 standings and a date with the Toreadors set for the final week of the regular season, the 10th-ranked Lynx (6-1, 4-1) will first focus on longtime rival and homecoming foe Iowa Falls-Alden (1-7, 0-5) this evening.
Kickoff at Lynx Field is set for 7:30 p.m.
IF-A comes to town on a six-game slide and at the bottom of the district standings. The Cadets have allowed 48.8 points per game against district opponents, a figure that would likely be more bloated had their 21-0 loss to second-ranked Dallas Center-Grimes not been halted at halftime due to the weather last week.
In its last four full games, IF-A has allowed 465 yards per game, including a 609-yard debacle in a 61-21 loss to Greene County late last month. The contest was tied at 21 at the half, but the Rams reeled off 40 unanswered points over the final 24 minutes of play.
All of this should play right into the hands of WCHS, which is tabbed as a 51.71-point favorite by the BC Moore computer. The Lynx boast the district’s top rushing attack (2,349 yards) and No. 2 overall offense (2,780 yards) behind only Ballard.
But WCHS head coach Bob Howard says his team isn’t about to overlook the Cadets.
“In this game, the stakes are honestly to keep getting better,” he said. “Obviously you want to win first, but you also want to be playing well going into that last game of the season.”
The revamped Lynx offense is still a work in progress. Tailback Zane Williams will be out for the third consecutive week due to an ongoing undisclosed medical condition and Trace Kepler, who was the starting wingback before moving over to replace Williams, will miss his second straight game because of a knee injury.
It’s no secret how big the loss of Williams continues to be for the team. Despite sitting the last two weeks, he still leads the district in rushing by 393 yards and his total of 1,113 yards ranks fourth in the class. He was the 3A leader through five weeks of the season.
Carter Bedford, a junior, filled in amicably in last week’s 42-7 throttling of Perry in the mud and muck. He churned out 120 yards and scored three touchdowns.
Bedford will get the start again this evening, but Howard also says senior Jordan Tanner will platoon at tailback. The first carries of Tanner’s varsity career came last week; he picked up 36 yards on six second-half touches against the Bluejays.
Howard says Tanner gives WCHS a burst of speed that is missing without Williams and Kepler in the fold.
“We need a home run hitter,” Howard said. “He has speed and he has some natural running ability … we intend on him getting quite a few more carries and hopefully get him in positions where he can open the game up a little bit.”
Spinback Dylan Steen will continue to be a focal point of the offense. He churned out a career-high 177 yards and put up three touchdowns last week. He enters tonight’s tussle fifth on the district’s rushing leaderboard with 674 yards. He’s also thrown for 412 yards.
Lynx wingback Drake Doolittle, arguably the team’s best blocker out of the backfield, has 150 yards to his credit this season.
The WCHS defense is prepared to face the Cadets’ versatile quarterback Tyjon Rose, who has accounted for 1,187 yards of offense — 861 through the air and 326 on the ground. Rose has been in and out of the IF-A lineup in recent weeks due to illness and it will be a game time decision whether he plays tonight.
“We’re not sure what the deal is with him, but if Rose plays, he has a great deal of explosiveness,” Howard said. “We are preparing for him to play … he’s very fast and he throws the ball well if you give him room to see. He also has a couple of receivers that can hurt you.”
Even with a win tonight, WCHS would still need to beat Boone on the road next week to assure itself of a 10th consecutive trip to the playoffs. Howard says it’s been radio silence in his locker room regarding the playoffs, but he’s confident his players know what is on the line.
“I just take it for granted that they know what the stakes are,” he said. “If you have enough kids that have put enough time in and prepared, you usually don’t have to worry about focus.”