Turnovers plague No. 6 Lynx in quarterfinal loss to BHRV
WEBSTER CITY — His jaw locked to keep his bottom lip from quivering, Chase Rattenborg clutched the state participation trophy as he slowly walked off the field with tears in his eyes Friday night. Jack Van Diest walked right behind him, an outreached arm planted in the middle of Rattenborg’s back, almost as if he was steadying his teammate for their finally journey together.
They were the leaders for Webster City all season, the players everyone else looked to for motivation, guidance and support. In the face of physical disadvantages nearly ever week, they made everyone believe that anything was possible.
And that made the end that much more difficult to accept.
“Later on we’ll realize what we did and be proud of it, but right now it stings because we thought we’d be going to the dome (for the state semifinals),” Van Diest said following No. 6-ranked Webster City’s 23-14 loss to upset-minded Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley in the Class 3A state quarterfinals at Lynx Field. “We were out-matched in every game, you saw that, but we all worked hard and bought in. I’m proud of everybody.”
Bigger, faster and more physical than the Lynx, BHRV (8-2) advanced to the UNI-Dome for the state semifinals later this week by taking control early with a touchdown on its opening possession, forcing five turnovers throughout the game, and delivering the knockout blow with a 73-yard scoring drive that ate nearly four minutes off the clock midway through the fourth quarter.
WCHS (9-1) never gave up. It never threw in the towel. But knowing they had to be as close to perfect as possible to advance, it simply wasn’t the Lynx night.
“We got beat by a better team physically and I didn’t have us prepared enough,” WCHS head coach Bob Howard said. “They are way too good to turn the ball over against and we had five of them. Now, good teams can force that stuff too, and when you have that and are still in the ballgame at the end, that’s saying something. The kids played their hind ends off. They should be very proud of the season they had.”
BHRV led 14-0 15 minutes into the contest and owned a 17-7 advantage following a 32-yard field goal by Gael Enciso that just cleared the crossbar and snuck inside the left post with 9:26 remaining.
With its season on life support on fourth-and-10 at the Nighthawk 47 with just over 8 minutes remaining, WCHS went to its bag of tricks. Wide receiver Tyler Olson took the pitch on the reverse and then quickly turned and tossed the ball downfield to a wide open Chase Rattenborg, who sprinted the rest of the way to the end zone for a touchdown to close the gap to 17-14.
But BHRV never released its grip on a game it had controlled from the opening kickoff. A 41-yard pass from quarterback Caleb Kats to Cody Vander Zwagg on the ensuring possession sucked the wind out of the Lynx sails, and the Nighthawks methodically marched the remainder of the way down the field and delivered the dagger — a 4-yard touchdown run by Kody Noble — with 4:12 remaining.
“They just made more plays than we did,” WCHS junior Devon Stoakes, one of four Lynx players with six tackles, said. “That’s a sad fact, but we just have to live with that.”
Kats, who was sacked four times in the contest, was masterful on the game-clinching drive. Continually rolling out of the pocket and away from pressure, he completed all three of his passes for 54 yards. He finished 9 of 17 for 171 yards, including a 60-yard TD pass to Bryson Van Grootheest less than 3 minutes into the game.
“We played really well against the run (WCHS limited the Nighthawks to 80 yards on the ground) and pressured (Kats) pretty well,” Howard said. “But the quarterback did a nice job of throwing on the run and they had three or four big catches.”
WCHS had its own problems running the ball. The swarming Nighthawks’ defense limited the Lynx to a season-low 112 yards, 47 of which came on a long CJ Hisler jaunt in the first half. All-state tailback Trey Mathis was held to just 49 yards on 19 carries.
Rattenborg connected on 6 of 12 passes for 110 yards, 41 of them coming on a TD toss down the sideline to Mathis that closed the gap to 14-7 with 1:46 to go in the first half. Stoakes and Olson both caught a pair of balls, and Hisler had a 21-yard reception.
It easily could have been tied at the half had WCHS been able to cash in midway through the second quarter. But a long drive that lasted nearly six minutes ended on fourth-and-goal at the 3 when Mathis was cut off and shoved out of bounds at the 2.
“It was really a back breaker in the first half when we got down inside the 5 and didn’t score,” Howard said. “But that’s football.”
WCHS started to get a push from its offensive line and consistently move the ball in the third quarter, but fumbles on both possessions in Nighthawk territory — once at the 32 and once at the 20 — kept the Lynx in catch-up mode.
“We made plays the entire year, but sometimes stuff happens,” Van Diest said.
BHRV took advantage of the Lynx second turnover of the game — a Rattenborg interception snatched out of the air by Landyn Van Kekerix at the Lynx 34 — early in the second quarter. Noble broke loose for a 30-yard gain down to the 4 on the next snap, and two plays later he shoved his way across the goal line from the 2 for a two-touchdown lead.
Noble churned out a game-high 94 yards rushing, mostly coming out of wildcat formations. Van Grootheest had a game-high 100 yards receiving.
Van Diest, Connor Hanson and Jamin Stuhr all joined Stoakes with six tackles for the Lynx. Van Diest had 21⁄2 sacks and Hanson collected one sack and another tackle for loss.
Rattenborg and Skyler Scott added 51⁄2 tackles each. Hisler had 41⁄2, two of them in the backfield.
BHRV will face No. 2 Harlan (10-0) on Thursday in the semifinals.
Webster City Offense: C-
The No. 1 reason for this grade is simple: Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley’s defense was really good. The Nighthawks limited Webster City to a season-low 112 yards rushing and 3 yards per carry. BHRV was fast, physical and determined to stop the Lynx ground game. But … and this is a big but … WCHS didn’t do itself any favors either. You’re not going beat any team in the state quarterfinals with 5 turnovers. At the end of the day, it’s that simple.
Webster City Defense: B+
There’s no way to fault Webster City’s defense in Friday’s 23-14 loss to Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley in the Class 3A state quarterfinals. The Lynx limited BHRV to 80 yards rushing and sacked quarterback Caleb Kats four times. The offense sputtered, but the defense kept the Lynx in the game for 3-plus quarters. BHRV has a diverse, fast offense and when the game was on the line the Nighthawks simply made some plays. Credit them for that, and also praise the WCHS defense for hanging tough for as long as it did. This was one of the best units in 3A all season and it played like it on Friday.
Webster City Special Teams: A
The special teams were good, strong even, on Friday. Absolutely no complaints. Punter JJ Moore boomed a couple punts, Ty McKinney made his PATs, and the coverage teams didn’t allow any big plays. Special teams were a strength.
BHRV 7 7 0 9 — 23
Webster City 0 7 0 7 — 14
BHRV — Bryson Van Grootheest 60 pass from Caleb Kats (Gael Enciso kick), 8:40.
BHRV — Kody Noble 2 run (Enciso kick), 9:10.
WC — Trey Mathis 41 pass from Chase Rattenborg (Ty McKinney kick), 1:46.
BHRV — Enciso 32 FG, 9:26.
WC — Rattenborg 47 pass from Tyler Olson (McKinney kick), 8:06.
BHRV — Noble 4 run (kick failed), 4:12.
First downs 13 9
Rushing 8 4
Passing 5 5
Penalty 0 0
Rushes-yards 37-80 37-112
Passing yards 196 157
Comp-Att-INT 10-19-0 7-13-2
Return yards 91 27
Sacked-yards lost 4-23 3-23
Punts-Ave 6-28 2-38
Fumbles-lost 0-0 5-3
Penalties-yards 4-17 3-15
Time of Possession 25:29 22:31
Webster City Lynx
Player Att Yds TD
Trey Mathis 19 49 0
CJ Hisler 6 49 0
Chase Rattenborg 12 18 0
Player Com Att Yds TD
C. Rattenborg 6 12 110 1
Tyler Olson 1 1 47 1
Player Rec Yds TD
Chase Rattenborg 1 47 1
Trey Mathis 1 41 1
Tyler Olson 2 28 0
CJ Hisler 1 21 0
Devon Stoakes 2 20 0
Player So Ast Tot
Jack Van Diest 6 0 6
Devon Stoakes 5 2 6
Connor Hanson 5 2 6
Jamin Stuhr 5 2 6
Chase Rattenborg 5 1 51⁄2
Skyler Scott 5 1 51⁄2
CJ Hisler 4 1 41⁄2
Ty McKinney 4 0 4
Trey Mathis 3 0 3
Kyzer Stanley 2 1 21⁄2
Jaxon Cherry 2 0 2
Tyler Olson 1 0 1
Truman Klein 1 0 1
Player Att Yds TD
Kody Noble 23 94 2
Landyn Van Kekerix 2 3 0
Cade Fisher 4 -5 0
Caleb Kats 8 -10 0
Player Com Att Yds TD
Caleb Kats 9 17 171 1
Kody Noble 1 2 26 0
Player Rec Yds TD
Bryson Van Grootheest 4 100 1
Cody Vander Zwaag 2 48 0
Caleb Kats 1 26 0
Cole Huyser 1 18 0
Mason Rozeboom 1 6 0
Kody Noble 1 -1 0