CHASE IS ON: Rattenborg shines in starting debut, Lynx D stingy in win
Spencer limited to 69 yards of offense, Hisler scores 2 TDs for WCHS in season opener
WEBSTER CITY — Chase Rattenborg spoke in a gravely whisper, his voice a casualty of 21⁄2 hours spent barking out commands Friday night at Lynx Field.
This was all new to him — the bright lights, all eyes on him, directing an offense. But if the 160-pound senior spinback was nervous, he masked it well.
Rattenborg accounted for 135 yards of offense — a team-high 89 on the ground and 46 through the air with a touchdown — and, maybe more importantly, looked like a veteran conductor in Webster City’s season-opening 21-7 victory over Spencer.
“I was more excited than nervous,” Rattenborg, who runs with attitude, said after the team finished celebrating the win. “I just waited my turn, and with the line we have it should be pretty good this year.”
Just getting to play was a victory, a fact that wasn’t lost on the Lynx after the final horn sounded. The novel coronavirus pandemic has been a dark cloud hanging overhead for months, but for one week anyway it stayed in the periphery.
“It’s a 10 out of 10 feeling to get the win, love that, especially after not thinking we were even going to get to be able to play before the season started,” WCHS senior linebacker Jack Van Diest said.
WCHS (1-0) amassed 264 yards of offense and scored once in each of the first three quarters to comfortably keep Spencer (0-1) at bay. The Lynx defense was stingy throughout, as Spencer had just 34 first-half yards and 69 in the game. The unit actually pitched a shutout; Spencer’s only touchdown came on a 99-yard kickoff return by Karter Petzenhauser to open the third quarter.
Nose tackle Connor Hanson and middle linebacker Trey Mathis took care of the interior and combined for 13 tackles, and the Lynx speed on the perimeter shackled Spencer’s veer scheme. The Tigers averaged just 2.2 yards per carry and gained a meager five first downs.
“Defensively we made some plays,” WCHS head coach Bob Howard said. “There were a lot of positives … it was a good opener.”
Hanson and Mathis feasted on Spencer’s dive plays and essentially took the fullback out of the game. And Spencer completed just one pass for eight yards, as quarterback Jackson DeWitt was under attack all night and was sacked once by Kyzer Stanley.
“Our goal in the middle was to keep the dive back from running all over us and I think we shut him down early,” Hanson said. “Their line was freaky fast, but we practiced all week to read motion. We read our keys and went after it.”
Spencer owned a significant size advantage on both sides of the ball and WCHS didn’t initially adjust offensively. The Tigers focused on Mathis, an all-state tailback, and limited him to 88 yards, but that allowed Rattenborg to take advantage on trap plays up the gut.
“They were physical and they played the sweep and the off tackle to the strong side pretty well,” Howard said. “We’ve got a couple of new linemen and there were some growing pains there, but there were a lot of improvements in the second half.”
Sophomore wingback CJ Hisler made his first start and churned out 41 yards with a pair of touchdowns.
All three of the Lynx backs carried the ball at least 13 times, and the ground-and-pound style led to a better than 11-minute time of possession advantage. WCHS also piled up 18 first downs.
“We know CJ is going to run the ball well and his blocking will get better and better,” Howard said. “Chase runs the ball well and he’s physical. If we can have somebody up the middle with (Hisler and Mathis) going the other directions, that makes the offense tough to stop.”
The first pass completion of Rattenborg’s career went for 6 late in the first quarter and put WCHS in front to stay. With Spencer loading the box, he rolled to his right and hit Tyler Olson perfectly in stride for a 32-yard touchdown.
WCHS increased its lead to 14-0 just before the end of the half on an 8-yard burst by Hisler around the left end. He put his head down at the 2 and plowed his way across the goal line to cap a 12-play, 61-yard drive with 33 ticks left in the half.
Petzenhauser’s burst to open the third quarter briefly gave Spencer life, but WCHS silenced the Tigers with a 12-play, 75-yard answer that included 11 plays on the ground. Hisler made it a two-score game again through the middle, as he pancaked one defender and gave another a ride on his back into the end zone from 6 yards out.
“It was exciting because this has been my dream to play on this team,” Hisler, who also had a pair of tackles on defense, said. “It was pretty fun.”
WCHS leaned on its defense to shut the door in the fourth quarter. Following a muffed punt that set Spencer up at the Lynx 36, WCHS stuffed a fourth-and-1 from the 5, and then later forced another turnover on downs from the 19.
“We just wanted to dig in deep,” Van Diest, who had 21⁄2 tackles including one for a loss, said. “We wanted to break them when they were in the red zone.
“It helps us being faster because we’re going to be undersized in almost every game. But if you keep your head in it and don’t let one bad play turn into another, that’s what we need to do.”
The offensive line imposed its will down the stretch and allowed WCHS to eat the final 6:20 off the clock. The Lynx took over at their own 19 on the final possession and journeyed all the way down to the Spencer 2 when time expired. Rattenborg appeared to have an open lane to the end zone on the final play, but was undercut and went down short of the goal line.
The WCHS defense finished with six tackles for loss, two of them by junior end Jamin Stuhr. Mathis’ 81⁄2 stops led the way.
Fullback Cadence Hofmeyer was Spencer’s leader with 26 yards.
WCHS will be back on its home field this Friday for a non-district date with Carroll at 7:30 p.m. Carroll opened its season by winning a defensive slugfest against Bondurant-Farrar, 7-0.
Spencer 0 0 7 0 — 7
Webster City 7 7 7 0 — 21
WC — Tyler Olson 32 pass from Chase Rattenborg (Ty McKinney kick), 1:04.
WC – CJ Hisler 8 run (McKinney kick), 0:33.
SP — Karter Petzenhauser 99 kickoff return (Ian å kick), 11:43.
WC — Hisler 6 run (McKinney kick), 6:11.
First downs 5 18
Rushing 5 15
Passing 0 1
Penalty 0 2
Rushes-yards 28-61 52-218
Passing yards 8 46
Comp-Att-INT 1-8-0 2-3-0
Return yards 134 25
Sacked-yards lost 1-6 1-10
Punts-Ave 4-31 4-32
Fumbles-lost 2-1 2-0
Penalties-yards 2-30 1-10
Time of Possession 18:07 29:53
Webster City Lynx
Player Att Yds TD
Chase Rattenborg 19 89 0
Trey Mathis 20 88 0
CJ Hisler 13 41 2
Player Com Att Yds TD
C. Rattenborg 2 3 46 1
Player Rec Yds TD
Tyler Olson 1 32 1
CJ Hisler 1 14 0
Player So Ast Tot
Trey Mathis 8 1 81⁄2
Connor Hanson 4 1 41⁄2
Skyler Scott 3 0 3
Jamin Stuhr 3 0 3
Evan Estlund 2 0 2
Devon Stoakes 1 2 2
CJ Hisler 2 0 2
Jack Van Diest 1 1 11⁄2
Tyler Olson 1 1 11⁄2
Kyzer Stanley 1 0 1
Neven Dorothy 0 1 1⁄2
Player Att Yds TD
Cadence Hofmeyer 4 26 0
Karter Petzenhauser 1 18 0
Michael Jordan 1 5 0
Jon Nissen 5 5 0
Jackson DeWitt 15 1 0
Kenny Rasch 2 -3 0
Player Com Att Yds TD
J. DeWitt 1 8 8 0
Player Rec Yds TD
Kenny Rasch 1 8 0