Carroll throws ball all over field, beats turnover-prone Lynx
Steen picks off two passes, returns one 96 yards for TD
CARROLL — Webster City and Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates have a lot in common.
From these Lynx, week to week, you never know what you’re going to get.
Seven days after being gouged for more than 500 yards in a loss to fifth-ranked (Class 2A) Algona, the WCHS defense held up against pass-happy and athletic Carroll, but it was the Lynx offense — usually the more consistent of the two units — that suddenly lost its way Friday night at Tiger Stadium.
Five first-half turnovers and six in the game, along with a third performance this season in which it failed to rush for 100 yards were all too much for WCHS to overcome in a 28-14 loss to Carroll.
“We dug a hole in the first half turning the ball over,” WCHS head coach Bob Howard said of the Lynx two interceptions and three fumbles, one of them on a punt that gave the Tigers possession at the WCHS 21, in the first half. “I thought our defense played their tails off because we could have been down 35 to nothing.”
The Tigers (2-3, 1-0 Class 3A District 2) struck the first punch in the fight for the district title, and WCHS (2-3, 0-1) — which is under .500 for the first time since Nov. 3, 2014 — now knows it will need some help over the final four weeks in order to reach the postseason for the 11th consecutive season.
“Coach (Howard) said whoever won this game would be in the driver’s seat, so obviously we’re not there,” WCHS senior middle linebacker Caleb Olson said. “But we can’t give up; we’ve got to keep believing (Carroll) will lose. We’ve got to play good football because you never know.”
WCHS spinback Dylan Steen, who entered the contest without an interception on the season, was picked off three times. Carroll’s average starting position in the opening half was the Lynx 47 and yet it owned just a 14-7 advantage at the intermission because the Lynx defense stood strong.
Tigers’ quarterback Colby Vincent completed 22 of 36 passes for 211 yards and four touchdowns in the game. Tight end Isaiah Badding was on the receiving end of three of the scoring strikes and finished with nine catches for 81 yards. Split end Jang Jioklow reeled in a touchdown pass as well.
With the field spread throughout, Vincent routinely took one step and threw quick passes to the outside. The WCHS secondary did all it could and tackled well in space, but at times had no answer for the taller, more athletic Carroll receivers.
“Defensively we missed one tackle in the secondary and other than that our secondary played a heck of a good ballgame,” Howard said. “They were in position all night.”
WCHS limited Carroll to just 77 rushing yards and sacked Vincent twice. Defensive tackle Austin Lampman accounted for 11⁄2 sacks.
But the lack of offensive production was too much to overcome. Carroll defensive tackle Chase Gladden wreaked havoc in the first half when the Lynx amassed just 39 total yards.
“In the first half, one kid destroyed our whole offense because we couldn’t down block him with angles,” Howard said. “We fixed him at halftime, but we had to double team him the whole second half and run a blocking scheme we haven’t run.”
Tailback Trace Kepler led the WCHS offense with 54 yards rushing, highlighted by a 24-yard sprint around the left end for a touchdown in the third quarter. Drake Doolittle picked up 28 yards on the ground, while Steen rushed for 17 yards and threw for 54 more on 5 of 14 completions.
It was Steen’s defensive wizardry in the secondary in the opening half that kept WCHS afloat. He picked off Vincent for his 18th career interception early in the first quarter, and in the second period he jumped a slant route inside the 5 and returned his second pick of the game 96 yards to the house to knot it at 7.
With 19 career interceptions, Steen now sits 10th on the state’s all-time leaderboard and is just five away from the record of 24.
“The interception (returned for a TD) was a great play,” Howard said of Steen, who led the team with 101⁄2 tackles. “On defense he played well.”
Kepler’s jaunt to the house capped a 10-play, 70-yard drive and brought WCHS within 20-14 with 1:25 remaining in the third quarter.
But Carroll answered quickly with a 13-play, 55-yard excursion of its own on the ensuing drive to make it a two-score game with 9:01 remaining. Vincent unleashed a perfect fade pass to Badding in the corner of the end zone over Lynx cornerback Carson Struchen, who was in good position.
“That last one they threw over Struchen, it was a great pass and a great catch,” Howard said. “Other that sacking the quarterback, I’m not sure what the defense for that is. They’ve got some nice, nice athletes.”
Badding also made touchdown grabs of 17 and 12 yards. Jioklow scored the game’s first TD on an 11-yard bullet from Vincent between two defenders on a slant route midway through the first quarter.
“They’re a good team,” Olson said. “Their quick passes were really tough to defend and their running game was tough.”
The final nail in the Lynx coffin occurred with 4:38 remaining. After getting pinned inside the 5 on a punt, Steen and Doolittle collided in the backfield and the ball squirted into the end zone. Steen was able to reclaim possession, but was quickly sacked by Luke Woosley for a safety.
Doolittle finished with 91⁄2 tackles, Lampman 71⁄2, Olson 61⁄2 and Struchen six. Tyler Olson, a sophomore cornerback, was a regular target of Carroll’s air show, but he had several pass deflections and finished with 41⁄2 stops. Carsen Johnson had two tackles for loss.
Despite the frustrating performance and outcome, Lampman says now isn’t the time to panic. There are still four winnable games on the schedule, he says.
“Obviously it can get frustrating, but the thing is we’ve got to keep our heads up and we’ve got to move forward from this loss,” Lampman said. “The big thing is a good attitude and a learning attitude.”
Webster City 0 7 7 0 — 14
Carroll 7 7 6 8 — 28
CAR — Jang Jioklow 11 pass from Colby Vincent (Max Neu kick), 5:24.
WC — Dylan Steen 96 INT return (Nathan Ferrell kick), 10:17.
CAR — Isaiah Badding 17 pass from Vincent (Neu kick), 5:12.
CAR — Badding 12 pass from Vincent (kick blocked), 6:05.
WC — Trace Kepler 24 run (Ferrell kick), 1:25.
CAR — Badding 18 pass from Vincent (kick blocked), 9:01.
CAR — Safety (Steen sacked in end zone), 4:38.
First downs 8 15
Rushing 4 3
Passing 4 12
Penalty 0 0
Rushes-yards 35-91 34-77
Passing yards 54 211
Comp-Att-INT 5-14-3 22-36-2
Return yards 157 101
Sacked-yards lost 1-7 2-11
Punts-Ave 3-31 5-34
Fumbles-lost 5-3 0-0
Penalties-yards 0-0 2-20
Time of Possession 21:30 26:30
Webster City Lynx
Player Att Yds TD
Trace Kepler 15 54 1
Drake Doolittle 8 28 0
Dylan Steen 12 17 0
Player Com Att Yds TD
Dylan Steen 5 14 54 0
Player Rec Yds TD
Carson Struchen 3 45 0
Henry Hoversten 1 8 0
Trace Kepler 1 1 0
Player So Ast Tot
Dylan Steen 10 1 101⁄2
Drake Doolittle 9 1 91⁄2
Austin Lampman 6 3 71⁄2
Caleb Olson 5 3 61⁄2
Carson Struchen 6 0 6
Tyler Olson 4 1 41⁄2
Carsen Johnson 2 3 31⁄2
Hunter Collicott 2 2 3
Henry Hoversten 3 0 3
Malachi Montes 2 1 21⁄2
Cade Felts 1 1 11⁄2
Brady Auderer 0 2 1
Alex Ford 1 0 1
Brayden Berg 1 9 1
Player Att Yds TD
Draven Williamson 16 65 0
Ryan Johnston 14 31 0
Isaiah Badding 1 -6 0
Colby Vincent 2 -11 0
Player Com Att Yds TD
Colby Vincent 22 36 211 4
Player Rec Yds TD
Isaiah Badding 9 81 3
Korbin Lehmann 4 56 0
Jang Jioklow 5 49 1
Luke Woosley 1 13 0
Jace Pettitt 3 12 0