OFFENSE IS MIA
Humboldt hands Lynx just 2nd shutout loss in the last 6 seasons
WEBSTER CITY — The final play had no bearing on the outcome, but it told the story of what transpired on a wet, sloppy Lynx Field Friday night.
Webster City was just looking to run out the clock in a 21-0 loss to Humboldt when spinback Dylan Steen kept the ball and tried to find an opening in the middle of the line. He was immediately swallowed up by Wildcats’ defensive tackle Jacob Weisbrich and felt all 300 pounds slam on top of him as he crashed backwards into the muddy turf.
Just one more big hit behind the line of scrimmage, the 10th of the night.
Unable to move Humboldt’s massive defensive front that included a pair of 300-pounders, Webster City was shutout for only the second time in its last 72 outings and was effectively eliminated from any postseason chatter.
“The streak of 10 (straight) years in the playoffs is over, which is tough for me as a senior, but we’ve just got to keep fighting,” WCHS senior linebacker Caleb Olson said after he did everything he could to keep WCHS in the game with seven tackles.
The Lynx inability to sustain drives, coupled with the big-play capabilities of Humboldt junior speedster Jamison Heinz, put the Wildcats in the driver’s seat. Heinz scored the first of his three touchdowns less than 4 minutes into the contest and WCHS (3-4, 1-2 Class 3A District 2) was never able to catch up.
Heinz did it all. He caught passes, he carried the ball out of the backfield, he returned kicks and punts, he broke up a pass in the end zone and he even averaged 45 yards per boot on five punts.
Heinz finished with 121 yards of total offense, but his contributions were worth 10 times as much.
“Heinz made plays, both offensively and defensively, and we knew he would,” WCHS head coach Bob Howard said. “He made enough of them to beat us. He’s a great athlete.”
WCHS out-gained Humboldt (3-4, 2-1) 250-215 and picked up eight more first downs, 13-5. But the Lynx averaged just 3.7 yards per play and 3.8 yards per carry, and too many times found themselves behind the sticks.
Humboldt’s defense forced three three-and-out series and stopped WCHS on fourth down three other times. The Wildcats controlled the line of scrimmage and limited the Lynx to either one yard, no gain or a loss on 17 plays.
“The just ran through the blocks … we had angles and we couldn’t maintain them,” Howard said. “Carroll physically beat the tar out of us up front and (Friday night) the same exact thing happened. There were a few surges, but not enough to maintain anything.”
Wingback Drake Doolittle found the most daylight for WCHS, as he was able to squirt free on three double-digit runs, including a 28-yard scamper in the second half. He finished with 75 yards on 10 totes.
“The big guys kind of won,” Doolittle said. “They’ve got pretty big guys on the line and big guys are tough to block, but we didn’t give up.”
Weisbrich had eight tackles, four in the backfield, for Humboldt. Sawyer Savery collected a game-high 11 tackles, including a sack and two for loss.
Steen picked up 79 yards rushing on 28 attempts and he also threw for 47 yards on 5 of 17 completions. Malachi Montes reeled in three catches for 30 yards and completed the first pass of his career — a 15-yard toss to Olson — on a reverse pass in the second quarter.
Heinz made his presence felt on Humboldt’s opening possession when he caught a bubble screen on the left flank from quarterback Joey Busse, sidestepped two defenders and then sprinted down the sideline for the first of his touchdowns.
It remained 7-0 until the 7:37 mark of the second quarter when the WCHS defense was again bitten by the Wildcats’ short-pass offense. On third-and-6 from the 43, Busse lofted a screen pass over the line and into the arms of Heinz, who turned and took off. A slew of missed and broken tackles later he was in the end zone again on the 57-yard touchdown play that gave Humboldt a 14-0 cushion.
“Those two big plays are what cost us,” Olson said of the screen passes. “We’ve got to start picking up on those little screen plays.”
Howard was more frustrated by the fact that WCHS had multiple opportunities on both plays to corral Heinz before he reached top speed.
“We were right there and we missed the tackles,” he said. “If you don’t tackle … there you go. I don’t know what else we do about it because we practice it.”
WCHS had a chance to cut the deficit in half just before the intermission. Starting at the 3 after Heinz pinned the Lynx near the goal line, they marched down the field on 15 plays, all the way to the Wildcats’ 2 with under one minute remaining.
On fourth-and-goal from the 2, Steen attempted to hit tight end Henry Hoversten with a jump pass over the middle, but Heinz was in position behind Hoversten to bat the ball away and preserve the two-TD lead.
“Not scoring at the end of the first half was huge,” Howard said. “That was a huge deal.”
WCHS failed to pick up a first down over the opening 11 minutes of the third quarter and Humboldt was able to pad its lead on a 3-yard touchdown run up the gut by Heinz with 2:04 left in the period.
Humboldt fullback Lucas Volf ripped off a 25-yard run on the scoring drive and finished with a team-high 71 yards on 10 carries. Busse completed 6 of 8 short passes that accumulated 113 yards.
WCHS tailback Trace Kepler and Humboldt tailback Tyler Vitzthum entered the game as the Nos. 1 and 2 rushers in District 2, but they combined for just 26 yards on 22 carries.
“Other than those two (screen passes to Heinz), I thought the defense played pretty darned well,” Howard said. “But when you get shut out on offense, you can’t give them any.”
Jack Van Diest had 41⁄2 tackles from his linebacker position in the loss. Cade Felts had four stops, while Steen and Austin Lampman finished with 31⁄2 each.
Humboldt 7 7 7 0 — 21
Webster City 0 0 0 0 — 0
HUM — Jamison Heinz 32 pass from Joey Busse (Lucas Volf kick), 5:37.
HUM — Heinz 57 pass from Busse (Volf kick), 7:37.
HUM — Heinz 3 run (Volf kick), 2:04.
First downs 5 13
Rushing 4 10
Passing 1 2
Penalty 0 1
Rushes-yards 29-102 49-188
Passing yards 113 62
Comp-Att-INT 6-8-0 6-18-0
Return yards 14 68
Sacked-yards lost 0-0 1-8
Punts-Ave 5-45 5-28
Fumbles-lost 4-0 2-0
Penalties-yards 7-35 4-30
Time of Possession 20:42 27:18
Webster City Lynx
Player Att Yds TD
Dylan Steen 28 79 0
Drake Doolittle 10 75 0
Trace Kepler 10 15 0
Garrett Whitmore 1 19 0
Player Com Att Yds TD
Dylan Steen 5 17 47 0
Malachi Montes 1 1 15 0
Player Rec Yds TD
Malachi Montes 3 30 0
Caleb Olson 1 15 0
Carson Struchen 1 9 0
Drake Doolittle 1 8 0
Player So Ast Tot
Caleb Olson 6 2 7
Jack Van Diest 4 1 41⁄2
Cade Felts 3 2 4
Dylan Steen 3 1 31⁄2
Austin Lampman 3 1 31⁄2
Carsen Johnson 2 2 3
Tyler Olson 3 0 3
Drake Doolittle 2 0 2
Brady Auderer 1 0 1
Parker Rossing 1 0 1
Hunter Collicott 0 1 1⁄2
Henry Hoversten 0 1 1⁄2
Player Att Yds TD
Lucas Volf 10 71 0
Jamison Heinz 5 19 1
Tyler Vitzthum 12 11 0
Joey Busse 2 1 0
Player Com Att Yds TD
Joey Busse 6 8 113 2
Player Rec Yds TD
Jamison Heinz 5 102 2
Tyler Vitzthum 1 11 0