INDEPENDENCE - For Independence, the prep football season opener bore little resemblance to its winless 2016 campaign.
Even in defeat, a clear message was sent that there are brighter days ahead for the Mustangs.
Independence nearly matc ... »
DAVENPORT — Cedar Rapids Prairie punted on its first two possessions Thursday night. The Hawks never faced another fourth down the remainder of the game.
A depleted Davenport Central football team kept pace with Prairie for about a quarter, but the Hawks scored touchdowns on seven straight offensive trips to race past the Blue Devils 49-7 in a non-district contest at Brady Street Stadium.
The Hawks wore down and overwhelmed a Blue Devil squad which had only 22 players in uniform and nine players going both ways.
“We came out a little slow, looked around and got it kicked into gear,” said senior Zachary Ganske, who tallied three touchdowns. “Everything clicked once we got it going.”
Prairie (3-1) tried to attack the middle of Central’s defense early. It didn’t work.
Once the Hawks worked the outside, the Blue Devils had no answer.
Prairie amassed 351 yards in the opening half — 195 on the ground and 157 through the air.
“(Central) had everything compressed inside,” Prairie Coach Mark Bliss said. “They were pinching and slanting everybody, taking away all of our gaps — A, B and C.
“They were daring us to run to the edge.”
Dakota Simonsen completed 6 of 8 passes for 157 yards. Joseph Meyer had 115 yards on just 10 carries, and Levi Usher had three receptions for 104 yards — including a 54-yard touchdown. Prairie scored four times in a 9 1/2-minute span in the second quarter to turn a 7-7 contest into a 35-7 halftime cushion.
“I got to hand it to our offensive line,” Ganske said. “They did a great job up front.”
Other than allowing a 76-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter, Prairie’s defense was stingy. The Hawks held a run-oriented Blue Devil attack to 65 yards rushing on 33 carries. Central mustered only two first downs in the opening half.