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Iowa City High keeps the Boot with playmaking defense

No. 5 Little Hawks defeat No. 10 Iowa City West, 20-7

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Jason Brummond, correspondent

IOWA CITY — The Boot is staying on the east side.

Dan Sabers opened up his defense this week to put pressure on one of the state’s most dynamic offenses. It paid off in a big way.

No. 10 Iowa City High forced four turnovers and held fifth-ranked Iowa City West to 155 total yards in a 20-7 win in the Battle for the Boot Friday night at Trojan Field.

“The way our defense played was pretty darn special to control that offense the way we did,” Sabers said. “Our secondary was just awesome. We were able to get some good pressure on the quarterback and I think that helped us.”

Bryce Frantz rushed for 143 yards and two touchdowns to help the Little Hawks capture the Boot in consecutive years for the first time since 2010-11.

City High’s students rushed the field after the game to celebrate with the team, jumping and yelling with the rivalry trophy.

“It’s indescribable,” quarterback Nate Wieland said. “All this hard work paid off and we got to celebrate in a huge way.”

City High (3-1), which gave up 30 points in an overtime loss last week to Ames, focused on playing more loose and aggressive on defense.

The Little Hawks intercepted two passes and forced two fumbles against West (3-1). Standout receiver Oliver Martin was held to five catches for 41 yards while being matched up one-on-one against City High’s Zach Jones most of the night.

The Trojans, who averaged 30 points in their first three games, didn’t score until midway through the fourth quarter.

“Coming off of last week, we asked the kids to keep believing in what we’re doing and they did,” Sabers said. “They deserve to feel great and they do.”

Wieland ran for a 1-yard TD on the opening drive of the second half. Frantz added his second TD at the end of the third quarter for a 20-0 lead.

West finally got on the board with quarterback Evan Flitz’s 15-yard pass to Brennon Keen.

The teams combined for six turnovers in a sloppy first half.

The Little Hawks turned a first-quarter sack-fumble into a 10-play, 63-yard drive that ended with a 10-yard touchdown run from Frantz.

The Trojans managed only 67 total yards in the first half. Flitz threw two interceptions and lost a fumble on a sack.

West reached the red zone twice in the first half. The first ended in a lost fumble; the second time the Trojans pushed a 28-yard field goal to the left of the uprights.

Both teams start district play next week. City High travels to Clinton. West opens at Cedar Rapids Prairie.

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