CEDAR RAPIDS – It’s not the most complicated play in the Cedar Rapids Xavier Saints’ playbook.
It’s not a highlight-reel run, but a simple handoff up the middle worked wonders for the Saints (4-0) in a 35-7 win over Charles City (1-3) at Saints Field on Friday.
“We were very well prepared,” said fullback Evan Rodriguez. “We have a lot of returning starters on the line and you can put a lot of trust in those guys.”
Maliki Wilson snagged a first-quarter pitch from quarterback Bryce Schulte, executed a spin move, and rumbled 28 yards to the Comets 2-yard line. Wilson ran over a Charles City defender along the way, and two plays later, the Saints had a 20-0 lead over Charles City.
“I was happy to get the win,” said Saints head coach Duane Schulte. “We saw Charles City on film and they have some really good players.”
Rodriguez, who normally leads the way for Wilson, saw his workload increase against the Comets. The senior picked up 66 yards on five carries for the Saints.
“Erik is kind of an unsung hero,” Duane Schulte said. “He deserves a little bit of sugar.”
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Charles City found a little rhythm late in the first half. Drew Mitchell found Jaden Foster on a 17-yard strike for a first down. On the next play, Mitchell connected with Dalton Cleveland for a 15-yard gain to midfield. However, John Rocca sacked Mitchell, and the Comets could not recover their momentum.
Foster used his size to get the Comets on the board late in the third quarter. Mitchell found the 6-foot-5 senior for an 83-yard touchdown pass down the right sideline.
“The biggest challenge is getting pressure on the quarterback,” Rocca said. “Then he starts making bad throws. If we have an athlete out there running around, we try to answer by putting pressure on the quarterback.”
Rocca and the Saints got to Mitchell most of the night, sacking him five times. Rocca accounted for a pair of sacks and several tackles for loss for the Saints.
“We have a great coaching staff,” said Rocca. “They know where to put us and we just try to execute.”