Garret Hartwig spent three years learning all the football he could from Bob Forsyth.
Now Hartwig will put what he learned to use when faces his former college coach today.
Forsyth coached Hartwig for three season as defensive backs coach during the West High head coaches’ days as a safety at the University of South Dakota.
Now the head coach at Linn-Mar, Forsyth will face one of his former defensive captains when the sixth-ranked Lions host West High (6-4) in a 4A second round matchup at 7 p.m. at Linn-Mar Stadium.
“He was my coach for three years and I learned a lot from him,” Hartwig said of Forsyth. “He’s a good guy. I know him outside of football and I have a lot of respect for him and what he’s done and the work he’s put in at Linn-Mar.”
Forsyth has helped Linn-Mar complete the biggest turnaround in 4A this season.
A year after finishing 2-7 the Lions are 9-1 and have won six straight entering tonight’s matchup with West High.
“They are 9-1 ball club that is a number one seed and they should be,” Hartwig said. “They play incredibly hard, they have a lot of talent offensively and they are very sound defensively so it’s going to take our best effort.”
Forsyth doesn’t just know Hartwig, he knows plenty about West High as well.
A former City High player, Forsyth began his coaching career on Larry Brown’s City High staff before moving on to the college ranks.
The two Mississippi Valley Conference rivals met in the season opener for both teams last year with West High cruising 67-28.
“They are a totally different team now,” Hartwig said. “We’re a different team too, so we didn’t look at that game at all. It’s two totally different teams.”
PLAYOFF PUSH: When you are as impressive as Regina was during the regular season it is not easy to improve on that performance in the playoffs.
However, that’s exactly what the Regals did last week.
After outscoring opponents by an average of 43.1 to 10.6 during the regular season, top-ranked Regina opened its state title defense with a 66-7 win over Alburnett in the opening round of the 1A playoffs.
The Regals rolled up a season-high 518 total yards including a season-best 378 yards on the ground.
DUAL THREAT: Regina senior quarterback Drew Cook is probably best known for his ability to cause defensive coaches nightmares with his ability to throw the football.
This season Cook is showing he’s as capable of beating teams with his legs.
The 6-foot-5, 220-pound Cook has run for 100 yards in back-to-back games and has run for 543 yards and a team-high 13 touchdowns this season.
Cook has scored a rushing touchdown in seven straight games and is second on the team in rushing yardage behind senior tailback Jake Brinkman.
A LOOK AHEAD: Quarterfinals in all classes are Friday while semifinals are set for Nov. 13, 14 and 15.
Quarterfinal pairings will be released by the Iowa High School Athletic Association following the completions of tonight’s second round games.
All semifinals are in the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls beginning with 3A on the 13th, Class 4A on the 14th and Class 1A on the 15th.
Reach Ryan Murken at 339-7369 or firstname.lastname@example.org.