DANGER ZONE: Lynx face hungry group of Tigers looking for redemption

WEBSTER CITY – Two years ago it was a given – Webster City was going to roll. Last year was expected to be a different story, and yet it was dj vu.

Are we in for a third installment of lopsided football? That’s the $25,000 question.

Coming off its first shutout in almost four years – a 13-0 blanking of Ballard last Friday – the Webster City football team will head to Gilbert tonight to take on fellow unbeaten Gilbert at 7:30 p.m. The Tigers disposed of Collins-Maxwell-Baxter, 44-27, in Week 1.

WCHS (1-0) drubbed Gilbert 66-7 in 20011 and 55-13 a season ago. In fact, the Lynx have downed the Tigers (1-0) – ranked No. 8 in Class 2A by The Des Moines Register – three consecutive seasons by an average of 40.9 points per game.

Will this year be different?

“They’re better,” WCHS head coach Bob Howard said of the Tigers. “There’s a lot of hype surrounding them and there kind of has been all summer, and going onto a visitor’s field there will be lots of excitement. It would certainly get their season going if they can knock us off.”

Gilbert’s reason for optimism comes from a rejuvenated offense that generated 486 yards of total offense in its season-opening win. Junior quarterback Jared Gescheidler accounted for 250 yards and five touchdowns on the ground and through the air.

Gescheidler was the Tigers’ starting fullback a season ago and he went nowhere against the Lynx. He was thrown backwards for minus-8 yards on eight carries; WCHS limited Gilbert to 148 total yards and only 51 rushing a season ago.

“He’s a good-sized kid and he runs with power,” Howard said of Gescheidler. “It looks to me like they run the same stuff they ran last year. He runs the option and runs some quarterback sweeps, but they’ve got a good tailback, too, and they run a lot of (I-formation) plays with him.”

The tailback is Zach Becker, just a sophomore, who gained 110 yards in Week 1. Classmate Cole Drzycimski is also a threat; he chewed up 27.3 yards a clip on just three totes against CMB.

The WCHS defense proved it can be a force against Ballard though, so the onus could be on the offense to pick up its efficiency if the Lynx want to knock off the Tigers.

With a new offensive line getting its first taste of varsity football, WCHS was unable to break though against Ballard until the final quarter. The Lynx will need to step up their game in Week 2.

“The offensive line has been a big focus this week and hopefully we’ll see some improvement,” Howard said. “Ballard is a very good fundamentally tough defense and having played them will certainly help get the offensive line squared away. We played better in the third and fourth quarters the other night.”

Virtually the same cast of characters that accounted for 444 yards of offense against Gilbert a season ago will try to pound it down the Tigers’ throats once again.

Senior tailback Connor Larson went off for 129 ground yards and three scores last season; he’s coming off a 107-yard performance against Ballard. Senior wingback Alex Oswald compiled 170 yards of total offense – 100 coming on the ground on just seven carries – last fall while at spinback.

WCHS averaged 8.9 yards per carry in its last meeting with the Tigers.

The Lynx know they need to play well to build momentum for the Class 3A District 3 schedule, which will begin in Week 3 with a home date against Charles City.

“Our big concern obviously is, No. 1, us getting better and not turning the ball over (the Lynx had four turnovers against Ballard); playing better on the offensive line and continuing where we left off on defense,” Howard said. “If we play better than we did against Ballard, I think we’ll be able to hang in there with Gilbert.”