Saturday, October 17, 2009

FOOTBALL PREVIEW: 6th win, bounce back on Lynx agenda

WC can lock up no worse than No. 3 seed with road victory over Cadets

By Troy Banning, DFJ Sports Editor

WEBSTER CITY - With a golden ticket to the postseason already in its back pocket, the Webster City football team will head out on the road Friday night looking to match last season's regular-season win total.

A sixth win would be big for a number of reasons when the Lynx jump into the trenches with Class 3A District 2 and North Central Conference rival Iowa Falls-Alden at 7:30 p.m. For starters, it would clinch the No. 3 seed in the district and still give them an outside chance of winning the district championship. It would also erase that bad taste in the players' mouths following last week's 24-7 loss to Charles City Webster City's first setback in more than a month.

"Six wins is a heck of a lot bigger than five wins," Webster City head coach Bob Howard said. "And getting beat by Charles City is one thing, but Iowa Falls is a conference school and (our kids) are going to see these kids all the time, so they should be excited to play."

The Lynx (5-2, 4-1 District 2) currently sit in a second-place tie in the district standings with Charles City (4-3, 4-1), but the Comets own the tiebreaker because of the head-to-head win. Both are chasing second-ranked Clear Lake (7-0, 5-0), which boasts a 21-game regular-season win streak heading into its match-up this week with Hampton-Dumont (4-3, 3-2).

Webster City and Clear Lake will meet in Week 9, just five days before the postseason will begin.

Iowa Falls-Alden (3-4, 1-4) is not in the postseason picture, but that doesn't mean the Cadets won't be motivated when they step onto the field Friday night. After starting the year with a pair of non-district wins, IF-A took steps backwards in each of the first three weeks of the district season before finally getting in the win column against Algona. It dropped a 42-0 decision to Clear Lake last week.

Howard expects to see a solid offense from the Cadets and he hopes his squad will be able to bounce back after it was handled by Charles City a week ago.

"We had a real good week of practice. They didn't come out flat or pouting about (the loss)," Howard said. "(IF-A) is pretty good on offense. They've got a good offensive line and a good back that runs behind them.

"We do not want to back into the Clear Lake game or the substate game. We need to be playing good football."

The Cadets rely on sophomore running back Scott Hartema (673 yards, 8 touchdowns) to move the chains. Hartema - a speedy and powerful back - had four consecutive 100-yard games during one stretch this season, one of those a 200-yard effort.

Quarterback Nate Adams (57 of 96, 703 yards, 5 TDs, 5 interceptions) also has to be respected. But his favorite target when the season began - senior speedster Mitch Wagoner - has been out since Week 3 with a broken arm. Wagoner still leads the Cadets' receiving group in receptions (20), yards (260) and touchdowns (3).

The Cadets problems haven't been on the offensive side of the ball though. They averaged nearly 30 points per game in their first four district games, yet lost three of them. District foes are scoring 37 points per game against them.

That could play right into Webster City's hands with its single-wing scheme and balanced rushing attack. If things are going well, then expect to see tailback Ben Rasmussen (791 yards, 10 TDs), spinback Dalton Keane (469 yards, 6 TDs) and wingback Clay Nessa (320 yards, 2 TDs) all receive ample carries.

The Lynx rushed for 409 yards in last year's 50-14 beating of the Cadets. Known for its aggressive and stunting defense, IF-A may change things up this week, Howard said.

"They may completely change their defense for the single-wing, and I hope they do," he said. "I hope they put all their kids in positions they're not used to playing."

This will be the 96th all-time meeting between the two programs, dating back to 1904. Webster City holds a 65-26-4 upper-hand.


The Daily Freeman Journal

P.O. Box 490

Webster City, IA 50595


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