END ON A HIGH
Lynx defense pancakes Boone, Olson breaks INT?record
WEBSTER CITY — In some ways, Tyler Olson learned from the master. And on Friday, the Webster City junior free safety told the master to step aside.
With an acrobatic second-quarter interception during a 34-0 pasting of Boone at Lynx Field, Olson stepped onto the same rung as former WCHS all-state free safety and 2019 graduate Dylan Steen with his 10th interception of the season.
Just a little over two minutes later, Olson jumped another pass by Boone quarterback Morgan Smith for his 11th pick, which broke the single-season school record.
And one minute into the third quarter? Yep, Olson did it again, this time in a one-on-one situation on a deep ball for No. 12, which left Steen choking on his dust. And think about this — Olson intentionally batted down what would have been a 13th INT in the opening game of the season.
“He caught one (Friday night) and I yelled out ‘he’s good at football!'” WCHS junior Jack Van Diest said of Olson. “He’s been doing this since he was an eighth grader.”
Olson’s 12 INTs are tied for the fourth-most in a single season in Iowa 11-player history, and he will take 14 into his senior campaign next fall. Suddenly, Steen’s career school record of 22 — No. 3 on the state’s all-time leaderboard — doesn’t look that far off. But for now, Olson says he’ll happily hold the season mark over his friend and former teammate’s head.
“I’ve looked up to Dylan for a long time,” Olson, who had an 83-yard pick-6 called back on a block in the back penalty on his second INT against Boone, said. “Him making calls, knowing where to go and he has a sense of what’s going to happen next. I try to copy him sometimes.”
A cornerback as a sophomore, Olson moved over to Steen’s spot in the middle this fall and hasn’t missed a beat.
“He’s got great athletic ability and now he’s playing where Steen played, so you get more match-ups,” WCHS head coach Bob Howard said of Olson. “He goes after the ball when it’s in the air … and several of his interceptions have been deflected stuff, or his body is in a goofy spot, but he’s still athletic enough to catch the ball.”
WCHS (6-3) won six games for the seventh time in 10 years by suffocating Boone (1-8) defensively. The unit forced six turnovers, including five INTs, and limited the Toreadors to only 119 yards of total offense.
Running the ball proved to be fool’s gold for Boone, which was thrown backwards for minus-18 yards on 16 attempts. The Toreadors added a seventh turnover courtesy of a fumble on a kickoff return as well.
“The defense held it together,” Van Diest, a linebacker, said. “We wanted to be able to stop the run and pressure the quarterback, and we really did.”
Elijah Killian and Ty McKinney joined the INT party spearheaded by Olson. Kyzer Stanley recovered a fumble deep in Boone territory following a strip sack by Alex Ford in the second quarter.
The Lynx needed the defense to leave a mark because the offense had its share of struggles. All 34 points were scored off turnovers or fourth-down stops by the defense.
“The defense played very well and instead of 14-0, it was 34-0,” Howard said. “(Offensively) it was the same inconsistencies that we’ve had all year. We’ve had some really good moments where we’ve played really well, but then we’ll have a play where we put the ball on the ground or have a procedure penalty, and then we get behind the chains.”
Trey Mathis, a junior tailback, rushed for 133 yards and two touchdowns on first-half gallops of 35 and 5 yards in the shutout –the first for WCHS since a Week 7 55-0 blowout of Perry during the 2016 season, a span of 33 games. Mathis rushed for a 3A best 25 TDs during the regular season. His 1,333 yards won the District 2 rushing title and puts him No. 3 on the 3A leaderboard.
Wingback Garrett Whitmore added 82 rushing yards, highlighted by a 28-yard sprint to the house in the second quarter that gave WCHS a 22-0 halftime lead. Spinback Gabe Humphrey completed the backfield trio with 65 more ground yards and a 1-yard plunge across the goal line early in the third quarter.
Van Diest also scored a TD in the third quarter when he dove on a ball that had been fumbled into the end zone.
WCHS finished with 303 yards of offense, 276 of them coming on the ground. Humphrey completed 1 of 4 passes; his 27-yard hook-up with Olson moved the ball to the Boone 5 and set up Van Diest’s score.
Connor Hanson, a freshman nose tackle, had a team-high five tackles in the win. Van Diest and Mathis were both in on a sack; Hanson, Will Tasler and Jamin Stuhr all had a tackle for loss.
Smith completed 12 of 29 passes for 105 yards to lead Boone, but he was responsible for four of the picks. The Toreadors biggest play came on a 32-yard wide receiver pass by Tegan Bock late in the first half.
WCHS missed the playoffs for the second consecutive year, but six wins is nothing to sneeze at, not for a team that lost almost all of its offense and most of its tackles to graduation a season ago.
“We came into the season and a lot of people doubted us,” Tasler, one of 10 seniors on the roster, said. “They didn’t really think we could do much, but we put in the work and we never gave up on the field. We made sure we were remembered well.”
Howard says it’s not an insult to say his team surpassed expectations, although he also said the successful season didn’t come as a complete shock to everyone.
“I will say there was one person who said all along that we might be able to do this and it was me,” Howard said while smiling. “But I would say this is a real pleasant surprise. We had some seniors that really came through and we’ve got a lot of good young kids.”
Boone 0 0 0 0 — 0
Webster City 0 22 6 6 — 34
WC — Trey Mathis 35 run (kick blocked), 10:39.
WC — Mathis 5 run (Mathis run), 5:53.
WC — Garrett Whitmore 28 run (Mathis run), 0:37.
WC — Jack Van Diest fumble recovery in end zone (kick blocked), 6:34.
WC — Gabe Humphrey 1 run (run failed), 9:30.
First downs 5 13
Rushing 1 11
Passing 4 1
Penalty 0 1
Rushes-yards 16-(-18) 60-276
Passing yards 137 27
Comp-Att-INT 13-33-5 1-4-0
Return yards 84 76
Sacked-yards lost 2-19 0-0
Punts-Ave 3-33 5-27
Fumbles-lost 3-2 4-0
Penalties-yards 5-57 9-75
Time of Possession 16:29 31:31
Webster City Lynx
Player Att Yds TD
Trey Mathis 27 133 2
Garrett Whitmore 12 82 1
Gabe Humphrey 17 65 1
Parker Rossing 4 -2 0
Player Com Att Yds TD
G. Humphrey 1 4 27 0
Player Rec Yds TD
Tyler Olson 1 27 0
Player So Ast Tot
Connor Hanson 4 2 5
Jack Van Diest 4 0 4
Tyler Olson 3 1 31⁄2
Ty McKinney 3 0 3
Chase Rattenborg 2 0 2
Trey Mathis 2 0 2
Jamin Stuhr 1 1 11⁄2
Will Tasler 1 1 11⁄2
Elijah Killian 1 0 1
Carter Neuroth 1 0 1
Alex Ford 1 0 1
Malachi Montes 1 0 1
Parker Rossing 1 0 1
Skyler Scott 1 0 1
Player Att Yds TD
Ryan Hulse 5 13 0
Ryan Ungs 3 0 0
Jacob McIntire 1 0 0
Morgan Smith 7 -31 0
Player Com Att Yds TD
Morgan Smith 12 29 105 0
Tegan Bock 1 1 32 0
Ryan Hulse 0 3 0 0
Player Rec Yds TD
Tegan Bock 3 47 0
Marcus McPartland 2 43 0
Quali Sporaa 7 39 0
Garrett McKnight 1 8 0