Smallish Lynx OL imposes its will in mild upset over Spencer
SPENCER — Monstrous and mean aren’t prerequisites for a standout offensive line. Quick and intelligent can be just as effective when the beef is a little lean.
And Webster City has got itself a group of Einsteins.
The Lynx may have given up plenty of pounds at the line of scrimmage against Spencer Friday night, but it was the Tigers who were flailing backwards, particularly late in Webster City’s 22-20 non-district road win that served notice that this team isn’t the pushover that so many thought it would be prior to the start of the season.
WCHS (2-0) rushed for 265 yards, owned a 161⁄2-minute time of possession advantage, and ran 26 more plays than a Spencer (0-2) team that began the season on the Class 3A Top-10 radar.
This was no fluke. This was not catching Spencer on an off night while everything went right for WCHS. This was one team shoving the ball down the throat of perhaps an unsuspecting opponent.
“This feels great,” WCHS senior wingback Garrett Whitmore said after he rushed for 133 yards on 16 carries. “To come out victorious, it shows how much we’ve improved even since (a Week 1 33-20 win over Gilbert). Coach (Bob) Howard is really good at nailing it into our heads about people thinking we were going to go 0-9, but now we’re 2-0 and all we want is to get to 3-0.”
Trey Mathis churned out 136 rushing yards and scored all three of the Lynx touchdowns on 27 totes. He put his head down and ripped off 106 yards in the second half, and seemingly got stronger with every hit he took and dished out himself.
What was his motivation? He got an up-close look at the work of his offensive line, and he simply wanted to do his part.
“With all that hard work that the line put in, I’ve got to show up for them,” Mathis, who scored on runs of 2, 1 and 5 yards, said. “The line kept getting better, kept getting lower and kept getting stronger, and you could tell that (Spencer) couldn’t stop it. We just made magic happen.”
WCHS had four separate drives that chewed more than four minutes off the clock. One took nearly six minutes, and another surpassed that benchmark.
“They grew up a lot as the game went on,” Howard said of his team’s offensive line. “I don’t know how to describe it, but it’s like a team take-off. The line coming off and the back and surge, and in that last quarter we had that. Trying to impose your will as an offensive line is a really big deal, especially when the other teams are always going to be bigger.”
And it wasn’t just the offensive line. Jack Van Diest delivered punishment at fullback. Tight end J.J. Moore enabled runs to the outside on the edge. Even spinback Gabe Humphrey got in a few smacks on the sweeps to the perimeter.
WCHS entered the fourth quarter trailing 13-7, but held the ball for 8:48 over the final 12 minutes and scored 15 consecutive points to seize control.
Mathis’s second touchdown, a 1-yard power play up the middle, capped a 10-play, 70-yard drive with 9:34 remaining, and Ty McKinney’s PAT gave the Lynx a 14-13 lead. The drive should have been over before it really began, but a face mask penalty on Spencer on a third-and-long incomplete pass moved the chains.
The Tigers pushed the ball into WCHS territory on their ensuing drive, but a fumble on fourth-and-1 that was recovered by Lynx cornerback Tyler Olson thwarted the drive.
Again aided by a Spencer penalty, this time a pass interference flag on third-and-12, WCHS ripped off 10 more plays and extended its lead to 22-13 on a 5-yard run by Mathis.
Two drives, 20 plays, two touchdowns in the fourth quarter against a big, athletic defense that knew running plays were coming.
Now that’s a statement.
“We improved as the game went on,” WCHS sophomore offensive lineman Beau Klaver said. “I think our pad level and our determination were really good at the end there. We had a lot of fight.”
WCHS sent an early message on the game’s opening possession — a 12-play, 73-yard excursion that gobbled 5:53 off the clock. A 16-yard pass from Humphrey to Moore over the middle moved the ball to the Spencer 2, and Mathis took it the rest of the way.
The Lynx maintained a 7-0 lead until the final few ticks of the second quarter. Standing deep in its own territory, Spencer hit a Hail Mary of sorts — an 87-yard bomb from quarterback Gage Garnatz to Karter Petzenhauser — that tied the game at the intermission.
Spencer turned the Lynx only turnover — a third-quarter fumble — into six points and the lead on an 18-yard scoring run by Jonathon Nissen.
Trailing by nine points late, the Tigers pulled within two on another Garnatz TD toss to Petzenhauser, this time covering 34 yards on a quick slant. But WCHS managed to secure the onside kick with 1:52 to go and wilt the remaining time off the clock.
Garnatz completed 4 of 8 passes for 143 yards, but WCHS slowed Spencer’s usually imposing triple-option running attack. The Tigers were without fullback and 2018 3A rushing leader Isaiah Spencer, who nursed a hamstring injury, but how much his absence affected the outcome is up for debate. The truth is, there weren’t a whole lot of running lanes, something that wasn’t the case a season ago when Garnatz and Spencer both averaged 7.5 yards per carry in a 28-14 win over WCHS.
What was the difference?
“We played harder and the angles were better,” Howard said. “I thought the defense played their butts off. (Isaiah) Spencer didn’t play, but so what? There wasn’t a lot in there … the kids played pretty darned well against the run and did a good job on their QB.”
The Tigers were limited to 140 rushing yards on 30 carries. Nissen picked up 78 yards, Garnatz finished with 39.
Van Diest led the WCHS defense with eight tackles, while Mathis and Will Tasler had five each. Olson was one of three Lynx with three tackles, and the junior also collected his third interception already this season in the first quarter. Spencer was on the move and in the red zone when Garnatz threw up a jump ball down the sideline at the 2, but Olson was there to make the play.
Webster City 7 0 0 15 — 22
Spencer 0 7 6 7 — 20
WC — Trey Mathis 2 run (Ty McKinney kick), 6:07.
SP – Karter Petzenhauser 87 pass from Gage Garnatz (Ian Youngdahl kick), 0:19.
SP — Jonathon Nissen 18 run (kick failed), 2:57.
WC — Mathis 1 run (McKinney kick), 9:34.
WC — Mathis 5 run (Mathis run), 3:06.
SP — Petzenhauser 34 pass from Garnatz (Youngdahl kick), 1:52.
First downs 22 10
Rushing 17 9
Passing 3 1
Penalty 2 0
Rushes-yards 60-265 30-140
Passing yards 40 143
Comp-Att-INT 3-4-0 4-8-1
Return yards 39 80
Sacked-yards lost 1-6 0-0
Punts-Ave 1-52 1-45
Fumbles-lost 2-1 2-2
Penalties-yards 3-25 7-68
Time of Possession 32:15 15:45
Webster City Lynx
Player Att Yds TD
Trey Mathis 27 136 3
Garrett Whitmore 16 133 0
Parker Rossing 1 1 0
Gabe Humphrey 15 -3 0
Player Com Att Yds TD
G. Humphrey 3 4 40 0
Player Rec Yds TD
J.J. Moore 1 16 0
Malachi Montes 1 15 0
Tyler Olson 1 9 0
Player So Ast Tot
Jack Van Diest 6 4 8
Trey Mathis 5 0 5
Will Tasler 4 2 5
Chase Rattenborg 3 0 3
Alex Ford 3 0 3
Tyler Olson 2 2 3
Kyzer Stanley 0 4 2
Connor Hanson 2 0 2
Malachi Montes 1 1 11⁄2
Parker Rossing 1 0 1
CJ Hisler 1 0 1
Skyler Scott 1 0 1
Casey Kolbeck 1 0 1
Nevin Dorothy 1 0 1
Jamin Stuhr 0 2 1
Garrett Whitmore 0 1 1⁄2
Player Att Yds TD
Jonathon Nissen 14 78 1
Gage Garnatz 11 39 0
Kenny Rasch 3 20 0
Griffin Garnatz 2 3 0
Player Com Att Yds TD
Gage Garnatz 4 8 143 2
Player Rec Yds TD
Karter Petzenhauser 2 123 2
Kenny Rasch 1 11 0
Griffin Garnatz 1 9 0