Big boy drive behind Frederiksen seals Lynx victory
It was between the third and fourth quarters, at exactly 9:27 p.m., Friday night when I tweeted out this: Frederiksen may carry it every time here in the 4th. Lynx going smash mouth. #iahsfb.
Well, as it turned out, I was wrong. But I wasn’t far off.
I was exaggerating in my tweet, but I suspected that seventh-ranked Webster City was going to put the offense in the very capable hands of Robert Frederiksen, the team’s senior tailback who came out of nowhere to become one of the most talented backs in Class 3A this season.
Locked in a 14-14 stalemate with ninth-ranked Boone, it was now or never as the fourth quarter got underway. And so Frederiksen and his ornery offensive line got to work.
Six yards. Two yards. Two yards. Five yards. Four yards. Zero Yards. Two yards. Five yards.
Those were the results of Webster City’s opening eight plays of the drive that began on its own 26-yard line. They were all runs by none other than Frederiksen, but he wasn’t done.
Following an incomplete pass, Frederiksen busted free for six more yards and then two more. Payton Kannuan had a five-yard burst to the outside and then came blocking back Hunter Hayes’ moment – a 32-yard catch-me-if-you-can sprint past an over-pursuing Boone defense that had no idea he was handling the rock down to the Toreadors’ 8-yard line.
From there it was another dose of Frederiksen; two yards, two yards and, finally, a four-yard gallop to the outside that got him into the end zone.
Webster City 21, Boone 14. Final.
In all, Frederiksen was in possession of the ball on 13 of the Lynx 16 plays and he chewed up 42 of the 76 yards on the drive that ate 6 minutes, 27 seconds off the clock. It wasn’t glamorous, but it was vintage Webster City in the 10 seasons since Bob Howard resurrected the program.
Tough. Gritty. Punishing.
I called it a big boy drive. And, after rattling off six straight victories following an upset loss to Gilbert in Week 3, Webster City proved it had the biggest boys on the block.
“This just feels remarkable right now,” Frederiksen said after lumbering for 116 yards on 39 carries to give him a regular-season total of 1,471 ground yards, the second-most in 3A.
Boone set its defensive strategy to hit Frederiksen and hit him hard. The Toreadors wanted to frustrated him and, for a while, they were successful.
But he had done too much, had come too far, to be denied when, potentially, Webster City’s season was hanging in the balance. He was an all-state candidate before the drive. After it, a no-doubter.
“That 16-play drive, what a testament to what Robert Frederiksen did all summer and last spring and last winter,” Howard said, referring to the senior’s off-season workout regimen that cut close to 30 pounds off his frame and set him up to have a breakout fall campaign. “People get tired of hearing about it, but they’re going to hear about it for as long as I coach because he will be an example of willpower and if you want to play bad enough.”
Frederiksen toiled on the junior varsity, stuck behind Gavin Dinsdale on the depth chart at tailback, during the 2014 and 2015 seasons. But this season, this was his chance to leave a lasting imprint.
Consider it done.
“Last year, to be perfectly honest, Robert wouldn’t have carried it five times in a row because he wasn’t in good enough condition,” Howard said. “And what a teammate he’s been. If (spinback) Drew (Fielder) or (wingback) Payton (Kannuan) are going to get all of the credit, that’s fine with Robert, too.”
Frederiksen was the linchpin of what was a total team effort, not only on Friday, but all season. This Lynx team wasn’t supposed to win a district championship. It wasn’t even supposed to sniff it, at least that’s what many people thought.
But when a group of motivated young men come together as one and focus all of their energy on one common goal, anything is possible. The last two months have proven that to me.
“We’re one team now,” WCHS senior offensive tackle Nathan Reed said. “It’s been a real honor to play for this team and I couldn’t ask for a better group of guys. They’ve made me feel right at home and it’s just awesome.”
Now comes the playoffs and a first-round date with sixth-ranked Norwalk (8-1) on Friday at Lynx Field. I’ll break down that battle in the coming days, but WCHS will likely take the field as the underdog against a Warriors’ team that was the 2015 state runner-up and is led by first-team all-state quarterback Brady Brandsfield.
But I, for one, won’t be writing off the Lynx for one very simple reason – they believe they can win. And after what I’ve witnessed, that’s good enough for me.