STEEN THE MAN
Senior takes over as featured back, runs Perry into ground in Lynx rout
WEBSTER CITY — Call him a spinback, call him a quarterback, call him whatever you want. But after his performance on Friday, here’s an idea: maybe call him The Man.
Feeling no pain despite an expanded workload, Dylan Steen was all smiles after he set career highs for rushing attempts, rushing yards and rushing touchdowns in front of a large Homecoming crowd at Lynx Field Friday night.
The Webster City senior gutted Perry for 204 ground yards and four scores on 38 totes to carry the Lynx to a 42-14 victory and end a two-game slide. He also completed 5 of 8 passes for 63 yards and accounted for 267 of the team’s 406 yards of offense.
“Right now I’m not too bad because I’m full of adrenaline,” Steen said just minutes after the win. “It’s nice to get that win back … it gets us back on track.”
For whatever reason, against Perry is when Steen shines the brightest. A season ago he set his previous career highs of 20 carries for 177 yards and three TDs against the Blue Jays.
But Friday’s performance was no fluke. With the offense in a funk in recent outings, WCHS head coach Bob Howard turned the keys over to Steen and told him to drive. Gone were the standard trap plays up the middle that Steen was accustomed to running and in their place were sweeps to the outside and off-tackle rumbles.
He had the speed. He had the power. And there was nothing Perry (0-5, 0-2 Class 3A District 2) could do to stop him.
“Dylan is our best running back and he’s going to carry the ball,” Howard said. “We’ve seen Dylan run the ball well before, so I wasn’t surprised. He’s got the speed to get to the outside and he’s strong enough to break tackles. He runs aggressively too, which is what we need.”
Steen hadn’t run the ball more than 16 times in a game this season prior to Friday. He had 13 attempts after one quarter and 25 for 149 yards in the first half alone against Perry.
“I love running the ball, it’s just one of my favorite things to do,” Steen said. “We worked on it all week and I knew I was going to get to carry it and I mentally got ready for it. I was just excited to get out there.”
WCHS (3-3, 1-1) scored on its initial three drives and four of its five possessions in the opening half. Behind a motivated offensive line, the Lynx shredded the Blue Jays a few yards at a time with several big gains mixed in. That led to a 41-16 advantage in plays run and a 13-minute time of possession edge over the opening 24 minutes.
“That’s single wing,” WCHS offensive tackle Austin Lampman said. “You want to control your opponent’s will and I think we did that. We dominated all night. It was awesome.”
The opening drive set the tone. Following a big kickoff return by Garrett Whitmore to midfield, WCHS marched 50 yards on seven plays. Steen lugged the rock five times for 46 yards, the last 2 into the end zone.
A 75-yard drive that chewed 5:18 off the clock gave the Lynx a 14-7 lead late in the first quarter. After Steen had lulled the Blue Jays with constant runs to the right, wingback Drake Doolittle caught them napping on a counter to the left and streaked 30 yards to the house.
Doolittle made the most of his 12 carries. He averaged 9.2 yards an attempt and finished with 110 yards.
Steen broke free on a 40-yard TD sprint early in the second and accounted for all 61 yards on the march down the field. He also plunged in from the 1 with 31 ticks remaining to give WCHS a 28-14 halftime lead.
“(Perry is) physical and they play hard on defense, so I was happy with the offense,” Howard said. “They’re 0-6, but they’re not bad on defense and they came in here thinking they really had a good chance to beat us.”
Perry stayed within striking distance in the first half thanks to a pair of big plays. Quarterback Kaleb Olejniczak hit running back Justin Stammer on a circle route out of the backfield for a 71-yard TD pass, and Stammer later streaked through an opening for a 62-yard rumble to the end zone.
The Blue Jays accumulated 174 yards in the first half, 132 of them on the two scoring plays.
But Perry went nowhere in the second half, as WCHS limited the Blue Jays to 7 yards of offense over the final 24 minutes. Carsen Johnson had a sack. The secondary broke up numerous passes. The defensive line and linebackers batted three screen passes right back at Olejniczak, who finished 4 of 20 in the pocket for 89 yards through the air.
“Other than those two big plays, I thought we played dang well on defense,” Howard said.
After allowing an average of 311⁄2 points over its last four outings, it was a performance the WCHS defense needed.
“We definitely needed it after the huge loss (in Week 5 to Carroll),” Johnson, who had two of the Lynx nine tackles for loss, said. “This week the defense and offense, everybody stepped up and delivered.”
That was most apparent after a pair of second-half turnovers. WCHS muffed a punt at its own 21 late in the third quarter, but Perry went nowhere and turned it over on downs in the same spot. And early in the fourth quarter, after a fumble at the Lynx 42, the defense again put the clamps on the Blue Jays and surrendered just one yard before another fourth-down stop.
Steen and company continued to pour it on in the second half as well. A 60-yard drive late in the third quarter ended with tailback Trace Kepler skirting into the end zone from 9 yards out to make it 35-14, and Steen ended the rout with his fourth TD on a 5-yard run with 1:55 left on the clock.
Kepler finished with 34 yards on nine carries and one reception that covered 17 yards. Malachi Montes was Steen’s favorite target; he had three grabs for 41 yards.
Lampman, Caleb Olson and Brayden Berg all had four tackles. Doolittle had three and joined Johnson with a sack.
Olson, Cade Felts, Hunter Collicott and Jack Van Diest all had a tackle for loss. Lampman had a pair of stops in the backfield.
Stammer collected 77 yards rushing on 11 carries for Perry.
Perry 7 7 0 0 — 14
Webster City 14 14 7 7 — 42
WC — Dylan Steen 2 run (Nathan Ferrell kick), 9:39.
PER — Justin Stammer 71 pass from Kaleb Olejniczak (Mario Cruz kick), 8:18.
WC — Drake Doolittle 30 run (Ferrell kick), 3:00.
WC — Steen 40 run (Ferrell kick), 11:45.
PER — Stammer 61 run (Cruz kick), 7:38.
WC — Steen 1 run (Ferrell kick), 0:31.
WC — Trace Kepler 9 run (Ferrell kick), 2:16.
WC — Steen 5 run (Ferrell kick), 1:55.
First downs 4 17
Rushing 3 13
Passing 0 4
Penalty 1 0
Rushes-yards 25-92 61-343
Passing yards 89 63
Comp-Att-INT 4-20-0 5-8-0
Return yards 109 77
Sacked-yards lost 2-17 0-0
Punts-Ave 6-38 3-25
Fumbles-lost 0-0 3-2
Penalties-yards 2-15 3-30
Time of Possession 16:17 31:43
Webster City Lynx
Player Att Yds TD
Dylan Steen 38 204 4
Drake Doolittle 12 110 1
Trace Kepler 9 34 1
Player Com Att Yds TD
Dylan Steen 4 8 53 0
Player Rec Yds TD
Malachi Montes 3 41 0
Trace Kepler 1 17 0
Caleb Olson 1 5 0
Player So Ast Tot
Caleb Olson 3 2 4
Austin Lampman 4 0 4
Brayden Berg 4 0 4
Jack Van Diest 2 3 31⁄2
Drake Doolittle 3 0 3
Cade Felts 2 1 21⁄2
Hunter Collicott 2 1 21⁄2
Carsen Johnson 2 1 21⁄2
Henry Hoversten 1 1 11⁄2
Tyler Olson 1 0 1
Malachi Montes 1 0 1
Parker Rossing 0 1 1⁄2
Perry Blue Jays
Player Att Yds TD
Justin Stammer 11 77 1
Kaleb Olejniczak 13 20 0
Kato Dougan 1 -5 0
Player Com Att Yds TD
K. Olejniczak 4 20 89 1
Player Rec Yds TD
Justin Stammer 1 71 1
Jared Narber 1 7 0
Jacob Nelson 1 6 0
Kato Dougan 1 5 0