Rivalry Wreckage: No. 10 Lynx use full arsenal to pummel Cadets
WEBSTER CITY – Sixteen plays. Eighty yards. A whopping 6 minutes, 4 seconds chewed off the clock.
It was music to the ears of Bob Howard – the most beautiful music the Webster City head football coach had heard all year.
“That’s the best thing I’ve seen all year by far,” Howard said of the mammoth touchdown drive that his team put together to start the second half in Friday’s 34-0 homecoming thumping of longtime rival Iowa Falls-Alden. “That was awesome and that’s what we need.”
The clouds cleared out and sunshine beamed on the Webster City offense for seemingly the first time all season over the final 24 minutes, as the 10th-ranked Lynx reeled off 27 points and piled up 268 of their 421 yards during the stretch. They owned the ball for more than 10 minutes in the third quarter while building their lead to 13-0 and then needed just 4 minutes of ball possession in the fourth quarter to rattle off 20 more points to turn what was a tight battle at halftime into a blowout.
“That felt amazing,” WCHS senior tailback Connor Larson said after churning out a career-high 226 yards rushing on 31 hard-nosed carries in the Class 3A District 3 victory. “The (offensive) line did great … that was all the line. I just had to follow their blocks, so it was easy.”
Larson scored three touchdowns. Senior wingback Alex Oswald picked up 56 yards and a touchdown on eight totes, part of the Lynx 345-yard ground output – 156 yards more than their previous season-high.
“We did a couple of things at halftime and then executed it on the field, and the line gained confidence as we went on,” Howard said. “Oswald had his best game by far … if we’re going to run single wing you have to have the wingback. (The Cadets) were overloaded so much on the other side that we were able to do some good stuff on the back side.”
WCHS (4-0, 2-0) sputtered in the first half – the Lynx failed to take advantage of four consecutive drives that began in IF-A territory – before Larson plowed through a sea of arm tackles to score from 26 yards out with 4:26 remaining in the second quarter.
But it was a different offense in the second half.
The Lynx marathon drive to start the third quarter included 15 runs. Larson lugged the ball nine times for 41 yards and Oswald claimed 28 of the yards on four attempts during the series that a helmetless Larson capped with a 1-yard dive across the goal line.
“Yeah, that hurt,” Larson said of losing his helmet mid-dive. “I got dinged a little bit, but I told coach to give me the ball there.
“The line smelled some blood there and if they do that every game we’ll have a lot more success.”
WCHS scored on its final three possession of the game.
The all-Larson two-play drive that pushed the lead to 20-0 with 8:14 to go included sprints of 58 and 29 yards.
The Cadets (1-3, 0-2) quickly turned the ball over on downs on their side of the field and Oswald made them pay. He slipped around the end on a wingback counter and then dodged three defenders on his way to the house from 15 yards out with 4:58 remaining.
Back-up spinback Jordan Moen added an excuse-me 1-yard touchdown run in the final minute.
Starting spinback Trey Tesdahl completed 5 of 13 passes for 76 yards. Tyler Lockwood hauled in two passes that covered 50 yards.
The offensive feast came as the WCHS defense turned in its second shutout of the season – the first time a Lynx team has done that since 1996. WCHS hasn’t put up three goose eggs in a season in 23 years.
Linebackers Brandon Patten and Nelson Ball both had eight tackles with an interception and fumble recovery, respectively. Tyler Lockwood also had a pick just before Larson’s one-man 87-yard drive, and Cooper Jaycox dropped on top of a fumble.
“Our defense is outstanding,” Larson said. “They’ve won us most of these games.”
Outstanding may be an understatement.
WCHS, which improved to 59-27-4 in the all-time series that dates back to 1904, sacked IF-A quarterback Ross Norem four times for a negative-32 yards; defensive end Gavin Dinsdale had two in the first half, while fellow end Jaycox and linebacker Rylee Lawson added second-half sacks.
Norem was tossed to the ground on nearly all of his 15 pass attempts. He completed seven for 82 yards.
“We went with a different scheme on the outside so we could just let those guys cut loose a little bit and use their wheels and strength,” Howard said. “Jaycox, Dinsdale and (Dylan) Fielder – those three kids were playmakers out there at end and that really helped.”
Bo Williams accounted for 39 of the Cadets’ 72 second-half yards on a halfback pass late in the third quarter, but the drive eventually stalled early in the final period when Lockwood picked off a deep pass.
Larson’s solo journey down the field took just 29 seconds.
IF-A amassed just 43 net rushing yards and 164 yards of total offense. Tailback Damon Dennis had 77 yards before the break and only one yard following.
“It was a lot of fun out there,” Patten said. “That’s the most hyped up we’ve ever been after a game.”
Defensive tackle Gus Gasca finished with four tackles, and Jaycox had 3.
WCHS now embarks on a critical section of the season that includes back-to-back road trips to Algona (1-3, 0-2) and No. 6-ranked Clear Lake (4-0, 1-0) before returning home for consecutive battles against Waverly-Shell Rock (2-2, 1-1) and No. 8 Humboldt (4-0, 2-0).
“It’s going to get a lot harder after this game, so we’ve just got to keep stepping it up,” Patten said.
Howard will travel to Algona looking for career victory No. 292, which would tie him for 12th on the state’s all-time hierarchy with the late Ed Thomas, who was a legend at Aplington-Parkersburg for 37 years.