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EARLY EXAM

Lynx look to end 3-game slide against Carroll

WCHS tailback Trey Mathis (32) slips a tackle during the first half against Spencer last Friday. The Lyn will host Carroll this evening at 7:30 p.m. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

WEBSTER CITY — Disciplined football is what Webster City head coach Bob Howard craves, and in Week 1 that’s exactly what he received from his team.

The Lynx didn’t turn the ball over in a 21-7 victory over Spencer and they were flagged for just one penalty. The offense sputtered some, but it never took itself out of a drive. And defensively, WCHS never allowed Spencer to break off a big play to seize momentum.

That’s what Howard wanted the last time his squad faced Carroll. But the Tigers’ 28-13 victory last September was, quite honestly, the exact opposite. WCHS was penalized seven times for 78 yards, it fumbled twice, it had 11 negative plays and, oh yeah, it had a punt blocked and returned for a touchdown.

Those things can’t happen again.

WCHS (1-0) will attempt to erase last season’s bad taste this evening when it hosts Carroll (1-0) at 7:30 p.m.

WCHS defensive backs Ty McKinney (10) and Evan Estlund (back) converge on Spencer receiver Karter Petzenhauser (1) on an incomplete pass last Friday at Lynx Field. The WCHS defense limited Spencer to 69 yards of total offense. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

The Tigers, winners of three straight over WCHS dating back to 2016, are coming off a 7-0 victory over Bondurant-Farrar last week, a defensive slugfest that featured just 213 yards of offense. Carroll was limited to 71 total yards and relied on a long interception return to set up the game’s only touchdown — a 1-yard plunge by Kellin Jones.

What did Howard glean from Carroll’s season opener? He’s really not sure.

“I really don’t know how good Bondurant-Farrar is, so it’s hard to take a lot from it,” he said. “But Carroll is huge up front and they’ve got the big running back (Ryan Johnston) back for last year. He’s a man.”

Johnston, Carroll’s 6-foot-2, 230-pound fullback, pounded his way between the tackles for 74 yards and three touchdowns against WCHS a season ago. The Tigers’ advantage on the interior a season ago allowed them to control possession and eat time off the clock.

Can Johnston dominate again? Howard hopes not.

“Johnston got going late in the game when we wore down last year, to be honest,” Howard said. “I don’t think we’ll wear down this year.”

The WCHS defense was stingy a week ago. Nose tackle Connor Hanson and middle linebacker Trey Mathis took care of Spencer on the interior, and linebacker Jack Van Diest, as well as ends Jamin Stuhr and Kyzer Stanley were there to shackle the Tigers on the perimeter.

Spencer managed just 69 yards of total offense. But Carroll will present new challenges with various formations, and quarterback Slade Sibenaller will test the Lynx through the air.

“Their quarterback is tough,” Howard said. “They run a lot of formations and they want to do some spread stuff. They had an awful hard time protecting the passer against Bondurant-Farrar and hopefully it will stay that way this week.”

Mathis, the Lynx all-state tailback, shredded Carroll for 141 yards and two scores a season ago. He was held somewhat in check by Spencer and finished with less than 100 yards rushing for just the third time since he became the starter at the start of the 2019 season.

Howard says his offensive line showed improvements from the first to second half a week ago, and he’d like to see the unit take that next step this evening.

“We’ve got a long way to go on the offensive line,” he said. “There’s a lot of promise there and they got better (Tuesday night) in practice. And we’ll have to be better because everybody we play is going to be bigger than we are.”

CARROLL AT WEBSTER CITY

Where: Lynx Field.

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Records: Carroll 1-0, Webster City 1-0.

Last year: Carroll beat Webster City 28-13.

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