NEXT MAN IN
Behind entering final quarter, No. 6 Lynx answer the bell
WEBSTER CITY — Wearing nothing more than a long-sleeved shirt under his pads and jersey and coated in sweat, Connor Hanson was too tired to even shiver as the frigid wind whipped around him late Friday night.
The Webster City sophomore was beyond exhausted and can you blame him? For the better part of three quarters he worked double duty at the two most strenuous positions on the field.
He thrived too.
Taking over for Lynx all-state tailback and middle linebacker Trey Mathis less than 3 minutes into the second quarter, Hanson — a regular starter at nose tackle — rushed for 116 yards and a touchdown, and also made 11 tackles to help No. 6-ranked WCHS dispatch Mason City, 41-29, in a Class 3A second-round postseason contest at Lynx Field.
“I’m really tired,” a glassy-eyed Hanson said. “But it’s next man up.”
WCHS (8-0) was forced to overcome mountains of adversity to beat the Mohawks for the second time this season, and it wasn’t even close to the lopsided first meeting, a 42-7 Lynx rout four weeks earlier.
Mathis, the No. 3 rusher in 3A and the team’s leading tackler, left the game with a strained hamstring following an 18-yard run early in the second quarter and didn’t return. That pushed Hanson into extensive duty and also forced others to move positions.
There were two bungled punts, one of them inside the WCHS 10, another fumble deep in its own territory that Mason City (3-4) cashed into points, and a botched kickoff return that left the Lynx at the 2.
It wasn’t pretty at times. The result was seven lead changes and a 23-20 deficit for WCHS entering the fourth quarter.
The Lynx answered the bell though.
WCHS reeled off 21 consecutive points in the final period, capped by a 36-yard run by Hanson down to the 4-yard line that he followed with a short jaunt to the end zone to increase the lead to 41-23 with 1:20 remaining.
Not bad for the back-up tailback.
“I was expecting Trey to come back, but after the half he told me ‘you can run harder than I can, you’ve got to finish it out.’ When Trey said that to me, I realized he’s got a lot of faith in me and I’ve got to get this done for him,” Hanson said.
Hanson’s WCHS teammates and head coach took notice.
“Connor did a hell of a job coming in and running the ball hard. He did great,” WCHS spinback Chase Rattenborg, who shined as well with 126 yards rushing and two touchdowns, a passing score, and an interception return for a TD, said.
“Connor Hanson sucked it up a heck of a lot because he hadn’t played middle linebacker either,” WCHS head coach Bob Howard said. “He did a nice job running the ball.”
WCHS went in front for good on a Bob Howard special — a 17-yard jump pass TD from Rattenborg to Tyler Olson with 8:52 left. But the backbreaker for the Mohawks came 21⁄2 minutes later when quarterback Kale Hobart attempted to throw a screen pass near midfield. Jamin Stuhr, a defensive end who shifted to nose after Mathis went out, blew into the backfield and batted the pass straight to Rattenborg, who sprinted 46 yards to the end zone to make it a two-score game with 6:22 left on the clock.
“We were all saying that we’ve got to step up and make a play,” Stuhr, who had 61⁄2 tackles including a sack, said. “I read (the screen) right away. It was so slow, so I just put my hand up and batted it.”
“The momentum definitely switched after that,” Rattenborg said after he made 71⁄2 stops with a sack in his first extensive defensive duties of the season. “It fell right into my hands. Jamin made that play and I was just lucky enough to catch it and run with it.”
Hobart threw his third TD pass of the game with 44 seconds remaining, but it was too little, too late. He completed 5 of 11 passes for 106 yards, but was picked off twice, the first going to Olson.
WCHS out-gained Mason City 326-223, with 300 of the Lynx yards coming on the ground. Rattenborg broke free on a 37-yard run up the gut to give his team a 7-3 halftime lead, and he added a 33-yard TD sprint to make it 13-10 WCHS in the third.
Mason City regained the lead, 16-13, on a 45-yard pass by Hobart, but CJ Hisler had the answer — a 99-yard kickoff return to the house. He fielded the ball with his heels nearly touching the goal line, took it straight up the left side, cut back near midfield and then outran everybody to the end zone.
“It’s just instinct and the footwork that coach Howard has taught us,” Hisler said. “I see a hole and I take it. I see another hole and I take that one.”
“CJ had some big plays in that game,” Howard said. “It was really a lot of kids stepping up. I thought Olson and (Devon) Stoakes blocked the edges really well, and Jack Van Diest sucked it up because he’s hurting. He hurts all game, every game. He has hips that 75 year olds don’t have, so he’s gutting it out and that’s really huge.”
Hisler also gained 31 yards on the ground, and Mathis churned out 33 yards on eight totes prior to his injury.
Connor Dalan led Mason City’s ground attack with 59 yards.
The WCHS defense was susceptible through the air, but it also made Hobart feel the pain. He was sacked four times, and there were three other plays that stayed in the Mohawk backfield.
Stoakes and Skyler Scott both made eight tackles with a sack and three others in the backfield. Van Diest finished with 51⁄2 tackles.
Relieved to survive, WCHS will now prepare to face Sergeant Bluff-Luton (6-2) in the third round — it’s officially the start of the playoffs — on Friday in Webster City. SB-L throttled Denison-Schleswig, 44-14, on Friday.
Mason City 3 0 20 6 — 29
Webster City 0 7 13 21 — 41
MC — Eric Lensing 34 FG, 2:18.
WC — Chase Rattenborg 37 run (Ty McKinney kick), 5:57.
MC — Carter Thomas 18 pass from Kale Hobart (Lensing kick), 10:30.
WC — Rattenborg 33 run (kick failed), 8:19.
MC — Jorge Rivera 45 pass from Hobart (kick failed), 6:26.
WC — CJ Hisler 99 kickoff return (McKinney kick), 6:09.
MC — Connor Dalan 1 run (Lensing kick), 1:02.
WC — Tyler Olson 17 pass from Rattenborg (McKinney kick), 8:52.
WC — Rattenborg 45 INT return (McKinney kick), 6:22.
WC — Connor Hanson 4 run (McKinney kick), 1:20.
MC — Reid Johnson 16 pass from Hobart (run failed), 0:44.
First downs 8 13
Rushing 6 11
Passing 2 1
Penalty 0 1
Rushes-yards 38-117 50-300
Passing yards 106 26
Comp-Att-INT 5-11-2 2-6-0
Return yards 82 195
Sacked-yards lost 4-30 0-0
Punts-Ave 5-39 2-55
Fumbles-lost 1-0 2-1
Penalties-yards 2-21 2-20
Time of Possession 22:22 25:38
Webster City Lynx
Player Att Yds TD
Chase Rattenborg 14 126 2
Connor Hanson 19 116 1
Trey Mathis 8 33 0
CJ Hisler 8 31 0
Player Com Att Yds TD
C. Rattenborg 2 6 26 1
Player Rec Yds TD
Tyler Olson 1 17 1
CJ Hisler 1 9 0
Player So Ast Tot
Connor Hanson 10 2 11
Devon Stoakes 8 0 8
Skyler Scott 8 0 8
Chase Rattenborg 7 1 71⁄2
Jamin Stuhr 5 3 61⁄2
Jack Van Diest 4 3 51⁄2
Kyzer Stanley 4 1 41⁄2
Trey Mathis 3 0 3
Ty McKinney 2 0 2
Trey Shannon 1 1 11⁄2
Tyler Olson 1 0 1
Mason City Mohawks
Player Att Yds TD
Connor Dalan 22 59 1
Jaylen Wynter 7 52 0
Kale Hobart 9 6 0
Player Com Att Yds TD
Kale Hobart 5 11 106 3
Player Rec Yds TD
Carter Thomas 3 45 1
Jorge Rivera 1 45 1
Reid Johnson 1 16 1