A fine regular season granted West High the right to face the No. 13 seed in the opening round of the Class 4A playoffs. When the pairings were released, the Trojans didn’t find an ordinary 13 seed.
West needed a last-minute week six drive to fend off Dubuque Hempstead 39-35. Fast forward four weeks and you find a much different story.
West completely dominated all phases of the game, dispatching the Mustangs 69-7 Wednesday night at West.
Hempstead (4-6) came into the night with four losses by a combined 18 points. Anyone expecting a furious fight to the finish was in for a shock as West, in Barry Switzer terms, dropped a half a hundred by halftime.
The wind and rain scared off the fans and much of the passing game, but the Trojans’ offensive line blew the Mustangs off the ball from the get-go. West wracked up 465 first half yards compared with 23 for Hempstead. Quarterback Nate Boland’s night was finished with 205 rushing yards and three scores at the break.
“Two years ago, when we lost to Bettendorf on this field in the mud, we were a fast, athletic team,” West coach Brian Sauser said. “Our whole game was focused on getting to the edge. We came out of that game that night saying we’re not going to be caught again being one dimensional. I saw the forecast, I thought for two years we were kind of building for a night like this.”
The Trojans started quick, moving 80 yards in five plays on their opening drive. Boland used read option keepers for 23 and 29 yard bursts. Boland took another keeper into the end zone from 4 yards out just 58 seconds into the game.
Hempstead’s opening drive was decidedly different. In what would become a theme, the Mustangs went three-and-out as Bailey Paulsen was sacked for the first of six times on third down.
“We focused on keeping our feet under us,” West defensive lineman DeVaughn McCullough said. “In other games, we kind of get caught not being aligned. We got that figured out, so that was good for us.”
West (9-1) struck quickly for another score. Boland ripped off a 16-yard run and Devin Raffensperger took off for 25. From the Hempstead 17, Raffensperger took it to the house for a 14-0 lead.
West shut the Mustangs down again. Clint Frazier’s first punt was allowed to roll for 49 yards. This time, West sent two deep.
Anthony Batie fielded the ball on a hop and took off down the left sideline. Batie zigged back toward the middle of the field and eventually right on his way to a 68-yard score.
The early punch forced the Mustangs out of their comfort zone. Hempstead took to the air to no avail. Looking at third-and-10 at their own 30, Frazier tried to get loose on a fake punt but got nowhere.
Penalties kept the Trojans off the board for the remainder of the quarter.
The Trojans’ dominance continued in the second quarter. With the wind at their backs, Boland hit Batie for 20 yards. Facing third-and-seven from the Hempstead 38, Boland faked a hand-off up the middle and sprinted forward for an uncontested touchdown.
Following another three-and-out, fullback Micah Kelsay plowed into the line, stalled and then kicked into gear for a 64-yard score as the route was officially on.
Boland added a 41-yard touchdown run before the half for a 49-0 advantage. Hempstead did not notch a first down until there was 1:06 left in the half.
“We really went back and evaluated what we were doing, especially on defense, last time,” coach Sauser said. “We really needed to get more movement in our (defensive) line. We really thought we could get in their backfield and make them cut before they wanted to.”
“We got some our guys back,” McCullough said. “We got some of that leadership back and got everybody doing what they’re supposed to be doing.”
With things getting chippy toward the end of the half, Hempstead let out some frustration on the first play of the third quarter as Talon Zimmerman found a hole and sprinted for an 80-yard touchdown.
West added three more touchdowns as the defense smothered Hempstead the rest of the way.
The Trojans advance to face Bettendorf on Monday night.
ICW – Nate Boland 4 run (Connor Gordon kick).
ICW – Devin Raffensperger 17 run (Gordon kick).
ICW – Anthony Batie 68 punt return (Gordon kick).
ICW – Boland 38 run (Gordon kick).
ICW – Micah Kelsay 64 run (Gordon kick).
ICW – Raffensperger 1 run (Gordon kick).
ICW – Boland 41 run (Gordon kick).
DH – Talon Zimmerman 80 run (Clint Frazier kick).
ICW – Clay Moel 4 run (Kick failed).
ICW – Michael Krupp 4 run (Zach Ranshaw kick).
ICW – Mason Koch (Ranshaw kick).
|Total Nets Yards||109||589|
RUSHING – Dubuque Hempstead: Matt Zenner 4-5, Bailey Paulsen 10-minus-31, Carter Daack 4-26, Chris Francis 1-0, Peyton Imhoff 2-14, Chase Bushaw 1-minus-1, Julian Runde 3-1, Talon Zimmerman 5-82, Blake Thurston 2-3, Lucas Hodge 1-0, Garrett Trilk 1-14. West: Nate Boland 11-205, Devin Raffensperger 11-98, Micah Kelsay 5-87, Conner Greene 1-20, Clay Moel 8-53, Mason Koch 8-20, Michael Krupp 3-19, Tyler Eads 2-19, Donovan Doyle 1-14, McKinley Battle 2-4, Jacob Sanderson 1-5, Yeshuwa Hicks 1-9.
PASSING – Dubuque Hempstead: Paulsen 2-5-10-0, Runde 0-1-0-0. West: Boland 3-6-55-0.
RECEIVING – Dubuque Hempstead: Brad Kramer 1-4, Daack 1-6. West: Oliver Martin 1-11, Anthony Baite 2-44.