Lynx physically beat up Spencer and ruin Homecoming
SPENCER — Jaxon Cherry never let them see him grimace Friday night.
Picture it: A simple off-tackle run to the right midway through the first quarter. With the hole closed off, the Webster City sophomore tailback was stuck in place when he was hit from behind at the knees. As he was going to the turf, he took a freight train shot to the chest, and with his legs pinned it sent him flying backward at the waist, sort of like an accordion being folded up.
“I felt that one, oh my gosh,” Cherry said. “I got hit hard.”
Cherry got up though. And two plays later he took a hand-off around the left end and sprinted 58 yards down the field to set up Webster City’s first touchdown.
And then he returned the favor for the vicious hit. Over and over … and over again for 40-plus minutes. He wasn’t the only Lynx player to get in his licks either.
Playing a physical brand of football it had yet to unleash this season, WCHS beat on and beat up Spencer at Dale Norton Field in a clash between Class 4A District 1 leaders and the result was a 21-7 Lynx victory that put them in the driver’s seat for the district title with two weeks remaining in the regular season.
Cherry rushed for 103 yards, CJ Hisler tacked on 93 more highlighted by a 48-yard scoot to the house with 5:29 remaining to put the Tigers away, and Ty McKinney barreled his way to 63 yards and a pair of scores to give WCHS (5-2, 3-0) the signature victory it sought.
And the defense. Oh boy, was it good.
Spencer (5-2, 2-1), which saw its four-game winning streak go by the wayside, entered the tussle averaging 277 rushing yards per game. WCHS limited the Tigers to only 65 and threw them for a loss eight times. Spencer finished with just 97 yards of total offense and six first downs.
“It was one of the better defensive games we’ve probably played in a long time,” WCHS head coach Bob Howard said. “I’m very happy … the kids did their jobs.”
WCHS, winners of four straight since a 1-2 start to the season, allowed just one gain of more than nine yards, that on a gadget reverse wide receiver pass that went for 27 early in the fourth quarter. And it delivered more than a couple teeth-chattering hits that Spencer’s backs were still likely feeling Saturday morning.
Cherry de-cleated Tigers’ fullback Cadence Hofmeyer twice in the opening half. Charlie Stansfield constantly lived inside the helmet of quarterback Evan Johnson on option plays, and Hisler delivered the stick of the night on speedy Taron Green on a sweep toward the WCHS sideline. Hisler hit Green at full-speed and deposited him five yards out of bounds by the time both finished sliding.
“Those kinds of hits lift the other guys spirits up and brings us together as a team,” Hisler, who had 21⁄2 tackles, said. “We knew that all of their backs were really good players and we needed to stop that outside run. We worked on that all week.”
Just how good was the WCHS defense? Green entered the night averaging 16.6 yards per carry. He got just four totes for minus-2 yards on Friday.
“We ran a little different defense this week and it was more physical,” Stansfield said after collecting 31⁄2 stops. “We just really came to win.”
Cherry’s first-quarter jaunt down to the Spencer 2 gave WCHS the momentum for good. McKinney took the next play into the end zone to give the Lynx a 6-0 lead, and they pushed the cushion to two scores courtesy of a 16-play, 66-yard drive that gnawed 7:12 off the clock and left just 34 seconds remaining in the first half.
Cherry converted on a fourth-and-1 on the long drive, and twice Hisler broke free for sizable gains on third-and-11. Staring at third-and-goal from the 7, McKinney took the snap and raced toward the line for an apparent jump pass. Instead, he brought the ball down and then took off left for a touchdown run. He added the two-point conversion to make it 14-0 at the break.
Because it was Homecoming at Spencer, the school put on a fireworks display for the large crowd at halftime that would make any small town Fourth of July celebration proud. But that was one of the few things the Tigers had to celebrate.
“It was their Homecoming and we thought, let’s ruin this thing,” McKinney, who also passed for 33 yards to go along with 31⁄2 tackles, said. “This is by far the best we’ve played, especially our defense and offensive line.”
The reverse pass helped Spencer push the ball inside the WCHS 1, but Johnson was stuffed on fourth-and-goal to keep the shutout intact.
That ended a few minutes later though.
Forced to punt out of its own end zone, WCHS got a nice boot by JJ Moore to near midfield, but Spencer’s Gavin Timmer eluded one tackler after another en route to a 47-yard TD return to trim the Lynx lead to 14-7 with 7:09 remaining.
No worries though.
Starting near midfield on the ensuing possession, Hisler took a hand-off on third-and-four and saw a gaping hole. He hit the seam and never looked back on the long TD jaunt that made it a 14-point game with 5:29 to go.
“The was the icing on top and it was extremely well blocked,” Hisler said. “There was a big hole and you could have driven a semi truck through it.”
Austin Mason, who was starting at linebacker for the injured Skyler Scott, ended any hope Spencer had for a late rally when he jumped a Karter Petzenhauser pass for an interception with 3:31 remaining.
“It’s pretty hard to believe we’re in position to be the district champs after the way we started out,” Howard said. “What we are doing is a great testament to those kids because when you look at those teams physically … we were outweighed by 30 or 40 pounds every spot across the front. So to control the line of scrimmage the way we did, the kids played very well.”
Devon Stoakes made a team-high eight tackles. Cherry, the Lynx middle linebacker, finished with 51⁄2 tackles, Mason had five and Evan Estlund registered 31⁄2.
Webster City 6 8 0 7 — 21
Spencer 0 0 0 7 — 7
WC — Ty McKinney 2 run (kick failed), 3:21.
WC — McKinney 7 run (McKinney run), 0:34.
SP — Gavin Timmer 47 punt return (Izak Peterson kick), 7:09.
WC — CJ Hisler 48 run (Levi Mussman kick), 5:29.
First downs 14 6
Rushing 11 4
Passing 2 1
Penalty 1 1
Rushes-yards 55-252 32-65
Passing yards 33 32
Comp-Att-INT 2-4-0 2-7-1
Return yards 35 144
Sacked-yards lost 0-0 0-0
Punts-Ave 4-41 4-40
Fumbles-lost 0-0 4-1
Penalties-yards 2-20 3-25
Time of Possession 29:51 18:09
Webster City Lynx
Player Att Yds TD
Jaxon Cherry 17 103 0
CJ Hisler 12 93 1
Ty McKinney 18 63 2
Connor Hanson 7 -5 0
Team 1 -2 0
Player Com Att Yds TD
Ty McKinney 2 3 33 0
Devon Stoakes 0 1 0 0
Player Rec Yds TD
Kyzer Stanley 1 17 0
Devon Stoakes 1 16 0
Player So Ast Tot
Devon Stoakes 5 8 8
Jaxon Cherry 4 3 51⁄2
Austin Mason 4 2 5
Connor Hanson 2 5 41⁄2
Ty McKinney 3 1 31⁄2
Evan Estlund 2 3 31⁄2
Charlie Stansfield 2 3 31⁄2
Keegan Hisler 2 2 3
CJ Hisler 2 1 21⁄2
Kyzer Stanley 0 2 1
Player Att Yds TD
Evan Johnson 14 31 0
Cadence Hofmeyer 8 26 0
Karter Petzenhauser 4 7 0
Calvin Tighe 1 5 0
Taron Green 4 -2 0
Team 1 -2 0
Player Com Att Yds TD
K. Petzenhauser 1 2 27 0
Evan Johnson 1 5 5 0
Player Rec Yds TD
Gavin Timmer 1 27 0
Karter Petzenhauser 1 5 0