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Iowa City West plasters Linn-Mar, 50-7

Football: Trojans score on first 5 possessions, enhance 4A playoff hopes

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MARION — Iowa City West wasn’t perfect, Garrett Hartwig insisted.

The Trojans were in the ballpark, though.

West dominated Linn-Mar every which way possible in a 50-7 Class 4A District 8 rout Friday night at Linn-Mar Stadium.

“We had a few penalties,” said Hartwig, the Trojans’ head coach. “We still have to get some things corrected. But we’re hitting our stride. We always seem to save our best football for October.”

West (6-2 overall, 3-1 district) can assure itself a postseason berth if it defeats winless Ottumwa next week and if Prairie defeats Cedar Rapids Kennedy. If Kennedy pulls a minor upset, the three teams will finish in a stalemate atop the district, and the two playoff teams will be determined by point differential.

After Friday’s games, Prairie is at plus-68, Kennedy plus-37, West plus-31.

“We don’t totally control our own destiny,” said quarterback Evan Flitz, who made a sparkling return after missing the last two games with a knee injury. “But we have to perform next week as if we do.”

The Trojans were sharp and inspired Friday. They scored on their first five possessions, and Linn-Mar (2-6, 1-3) was never in the game.

West outgained Linn-Mar by a 247-18 margin in the first half, and the final margin was 331-103.

Devontae Lane scored the Trojans’ first three touchdowns, on runs of 11, 4 and 10 yards, and it was 21-0 after one quarter.

Flitz, who was cleared Monday, was efficient in his return, completing 10 of 12 passes (with one interception off a tipped pass) for 124 yards. He connected with Jason Strunk for a 28-yard TD pass, then hit Oliver Martin for a 5-yard score to make it 34-0.

“It was nice to get cleared so early in the week so I had a whole week to prepare,” Flitz said. “I certainly had a lot of emotion and adrenaline. I just got the ball to our playmakers.”

Martin tacked on a 76-yard punt return shortly before halftime for a 41-0 margin.

Meanwhile, the West defense was just as impressive. The Lions punted on their first seven possessions before giving it up on downs deep in West territory just before halftime.

Lane carried the ball eight times — all in the first half — for 83 yards. Martin, who is being courted by several upper-level Division-I programs, had four catches for 37 yards.

Reese Phillips scored Linn-Mar’s lone touchdown on a 5-yard run late in the third quarter.

Linn-Mar (2-6, 1-3) closes the season next Friday at Burlington.

l Comments: (319) 368-8857; jeff.linder@thegazette.com

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