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City High responds well in season-opening football win

HS journalism: Little Hawks are at Pleasant Valley this Friday

Iowa City High, led by quarterback Nate Wieland, takes the field before its game against Linn-Mar in Iowa City last Friday. The Little Hawks won August 26, 2016. The Little Hawks won, 26-6. (Justin Torner/freelance)
Iowa City High, led by quarterback Nate Wieland, takes the field before its game against Linn-Mar in Iowa City last Friday. The Little Hawks won August 26, 2016. The Little Hawks won, 26-6. (Justin Torner/freelance)

IOWA CITY — City High came into last Friday’s football game a ranked team and, even if it did not look like one for much of the first half, the Little Hawks found a way to pull away late in a convincing, 26-6, victory.

The game was the first for senior quarterback Nate Wieland after coming back from a knee injury that kept him out of the end of the 2015 regular season and the entirety of the playoffs last year. After Linn-Mar got the ball and drove down the field to kick a field goal, Wieland responded with a 70-yard touchdown run to put the Little Hawks on the board.

“I just had a ton of green in front of me, and the feeling when you see all that green, you get a lot of adrenaline and it’s off to the races,” Wieland said of his touchdown run.

Following the touchdown, the Little Hawks made a lot of mistakes before the break. They fumbled the snap on the PAT after Wieland’s touchdown run, they had turnovers and had more difficulties with snaps, especially out of shotgun formations.

City High’s defense helped keep the Little Hawks in the game despite the offensive miscues. Senior Vance Dillon had a pick in the end zone to stop a Linn-Mar scoring threat in the second quarter. Then, right before halftime, City had a goal-line stand, once again keeping the Lions out of the end zone to make it a 6-3 game at the half.

“We were able to run the ball some, but we had snap issues and turnovers,” City High Coach Dan Sabers said after the game. “Those are some things that obviously we have to clean up.”

City’s defense continued to play well in the second half, forcing two turnovers, including a 66-yard pick six by Dillon late in the fourth quarter. Senior Chuck Johnson also came up with a pick after the Linn-Mar quarterback threw short into tight coverage. City’s only offensive touchdown of the second half came in the fourth quarter when senior Bryce Frantz punched it in on fourth-and-goal from about a foot out.

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“It gets a little easier when you get in closer; I think our secondary and our outside linebackers did a pretty good job and our D-line just got better as the game went on,” Sabers said. “They came at us with a lot more power football than we were expecting.”

Despite the mistakes, Sabers thinks his team responded well and was able to make adjustments.

“I think overall (we responded) very well (to the mistakes we made),” he said. “I liked our toughness, even when it was 13-6 and still undecided, I still felt pretty good about things.”

City High plays at Pleasant Valley on Friday.

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