MARION - Even through the disappointment of defeat, there is no denying the significant progress made by the Marion Indians.
After a winless 2015 season and 18-straight defeats, Marion leapt into the Class 3A playoff picture with five wins ... »
MARION — Bryan Kunde went into Friday night with passing statistics that weren’t exactly sparkling.
The junior quarterback from Cedar Rapids Washington had completed 43 percent of his throws with a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 5-to-4 in three games. That’s OK, but not great.
He saved the “great” part for the first quarter here. Kunde completed all six of his passes, four for TDs, as third-ranked Washington mauled Linn-Mar, 49-14, at Linn-Mar Stadium.
It has got to be comforting for the Warriors to know they head into Class 4A district play next week with an improving passing game and confident QB. He added a 25-yard scoring run early in the fourth quarter as well.
“I believe I’ve been doing decent,” Kunde said. “But I know I could still be doing a lot better. I’m still getting used to varsity football.”
“Offensively, we hadn’t shown up consistently throughout a game,” Washington Coach Paul James said. “That’s what we were asking of our players, was to be consistent and show up right from the get-go.”
They did that. Kunde connected with Drew Dostal for a 26-yard score on a stop route to cap the opening offensive possession of the game. Dostal caught the ball at about the 5-yard line and broke a tackle en route to the end zone.
Washington’s second possession began at its own 45 and had plenty of fits and starts. But Kunde hit Dostal on a 53-yard bomb on 3rd-and-19 for another TD and a 14-0 Warriors lead.
Wash would score twice more before quarter’s end.
Kunde and sophomore Brayden Wright hooked up for a 40-yard score deep down the left sideline. CRW’s Seth Semrau recovered a fumble on Linn-Mar’s next play at the Lions 16, and Kunde completed a pass to tight end Parks McBride in which McBride broke a tackle at about the 10 and ran to the end zone.
Kunde’s first-quarter numbers were crazy: 6-for-6 for 157 yards and the four TDs. He completed 11 of 16 passes in the game for 228 yards and two interceptions.
“They played their corners up really close,” Kunde said. “The (second) one to Drew, that kid was close, and he’s the main target I like to hit on the deep route. He beat him, and I just tossed it up there and he caught it over the shoulder. The one to Brayden, we ran another deep route. That was a designed route, like a tag route almost. He just beat the linebacker with his speed. That helped out a lot, the speed (advantage) we had over him.”
“It was a great team win,” McBride said. “We finally came out with some offense. We’ve been a little bit lacking in the offensive part of the game this year. We finally kind of flexed our muscle on the offensive side of the ball.”
Linn-Mar (1-3) went to the air, specifically wide receiver Kirby Kerr, to get on the scoreboard early in the second quarter. Kerr caught four passes for 50 yards from QB Reese Phillips on the drive, with Phillips scrambling for a 6-yard touchdown.
A short punt set up Washington (4-0) with a short field later in the quarter. Beginning at the L-M 43, Connor Malcolm ran a counter play for 17 yards, then O’Rien Vance bulldozered his way 26 yards on a fullback trap for the touchdown and a 35-7 halftime lead. Linn-Mar had minus-11 yards rushing in the first half, mostly due to a plethora of sacks.
Washington got a continuous clock rolling 1:12 into the third quarter when sophomore linebacker Travis Metzger intercepted a Phillips pass and ran it back 31 yards for a touchdown. Metzger is the son of former Washington boys’ basketball head coach Brad Metzger.
Linn-Mar stopped that continuous clock a short time later when Kerr scored on a 51-yard TD pass from Phillips. He caught a 20-yard pass and broke down the sideline to the end zone.
Kerr was wonderful in this game, catching nine balls for 153 yards.
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