West High senior Nate Boland played the role of dual-threat quarterback close to perfection Friday.
Boland rushed for 117 yards and scored four touchdowns and passed for 160 yards to lead the third-ranked Trojans to a 41-14 victory over Cedar Rapids Kennedy at Trojan Field. Boland only threw four incomplete passes in 15 attempts as West improved to 3-0 on the season. Kennedy fell to 2-1 and saw its six-game winning streak in regular-season games dating back to last season come to and end.
“I don’t have any reservations in saying he’s the best quarterback in the state of Iowa,” West coach Brian Sauser said. “He’s an underrated kid. He’s a 4.0 student and a great leader for us and really understands what’s going on.
“He’s as much as involved in the game plan as anybody else. He sees things out (on) the field and he says, ‘Coach, when we do this. They do that. And let’s do this.’ He had some great ideas and suggestions tonight. And he took some shots. For him to keep picking himself up off the grass and stay in the game like that is just a testament to his character.”
Boland spent most of the game rolling out of the pocket and choosing whether to run or throw. The Cougar defense didn’t have an answer for his arm or his legs.
His 26-yard touchdown run, which was his third of the game, expanded West’s lead to 34-7 with 8 minutes 42 seconds left to play in the fourth quarter. He also scored on a 5-yard run barely three minutes later.
“I’m just trying to do what my team needs me to do, whether that’s running or passing,” said Boland, who passed for more than 2,000 yards as a junior last season. “Holes open up with our different types of plays that we have. And holes open up for the quarterback as they lock on to our tendencies.”
Boland showed his touch by completing several passes into tight windows. His favorite target was speedy senior Anthony Batie, who finished with four catches for 95 yards. Two of Batie’s receptions came on passes in which Boland led him perfectly on deep fade routes.
Boland also was helped by a strong rushing attack that included 74 and 72 yards, respectively, by seniors Kevin Dowell and Devin Raffensperger. Dowell scored on a 37-yard run to expand West’s lead to 28-0 with 10:35 left in the third quarter.
“All of our backs and all of our receivers, they’re all outstanding players,” Boland said. “They all can make plays, and they all can run the ball hard when they’re told to.”
West had the game’s first big play when 215-pound senior fullback Micah Kelsay took a screen pass from Boland and raced 42 yards down the Kennedy sideline. But it also led to the game’s first turnover when Kelsay was hit, causing the ball to pop loose. Kennedy recovered at its own 15-yard line.
The Cougars drove to the West 13 but then self-destructed with back-to-back penalties that moved the ball back to the West 29. The drive then ended with back-to-back incomplete passes.
West only needed four plays and barely one minute to march 71 yards for the game’s first touchdown on a 16-yard run by Boland with 4:16 left in the first quarter.
Kennedy forced West to punt near the end of the first quarter, but senior Famiek Cook mishandled the punt and the Trojans recovered at the Kennedy 4.
Boland then scored his second touchdown on a 3-yard run with 38 seconds left in the first quarter.
West expanded its lead to 21-0 when Kelsay broke through a huge hole on the right side of the line of scrimmage and scored on an 18-yard run with 4:14 left in the second quarter.
Boland completed 8-of-11 passes for 104 yards in the first half. He also led the Trojans with 46 rushing yards in the first two quarters.
Kennedy self-destructed throughout the game, losing three fumbles and having two passes intercepted, both by West senior defensive back Aaron Bleil.
Junior running back Logan Wedo provided a spark off the bench for Kennedy by rushing for 145 yards, with most of it coming in the second half.
Friday’s game was a special Gold Out game to benefit Iowa City West Dance Marathon in an effort to combat childhood cancer.
The festivities started at 4:30 p.m., about three hours before kickoff when participants ran from the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital pediatric oncology unit to West High with a special football. More than 1,400 T-shirts with the words “Beat Cancer” also were sold.
Two footballs, one signed by Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz and another signed by former West, UI and NFL kicker Nate Kaeding, were raffled off.
A lasagna dinner also was at West High for the general public in which both schools participated.
W – Nate Boland 16 run (Connor Gordon kick)
W – Boland 3 run (Gordon kick)
W – Kelsay 18 run (Gordon kick)
W – Kevin Dowell 37 run (Gordon kick)
CRK – Logan Wedo 28 run (Mark Schulz kick)
W – Boland 26 run (kick failed)
W – Boland 5 run (Gordon kick)
CRK – Wedo 1 run (Schulz kick)
|Total Nets Yards||342||467|
RUSHING: Kennedy: Logan Wedo 23-145, Miles Moa 9-55, Derek Jacobus 11-46, Terrence Hall 6-29. West: Nate Boland 12-117, Kevein Dowell 5-74, Devin Raffensperger 10-72, Micah Kelsay 3-23, Anthony Batie 1-18,.
PASSING: Derek Jacobus 7-16-2-67. Boland 11-15-160-0.
RECEIVING: Kennedy: Jay Blank 3-34, Jacob Shannon 3-33. West: 4-95, Kelsay 2-54, Oliver Martin 3-23, Raffensperter 2-minus-20.