116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — You wondered how a football team that hardly ever loses in the regular season would respond to actually losing in the regular season.
The answer in Cedar Rapids Xavier’s case would be fine. Just fine.
The Saints were stifling defensively and pulled away from a tight game with a strong offensive second half to take apart Cedar Rapids Washington, 31-0, Friday night at Saints Field.
Xavier (4-1), ranked fourth in Class 4A, lost to No. 1 North Scott at home last week, 20-8. That was just its second loss in its last 53 regular-season games.
But the rebound was strong. The start to district play was strong.
“The kids had a good week of practice, but it was just a normal week of practice,” said Xavier Coach Duane Schulte. “It’s like we told them last week and the same thing this week, whether you win or lose, you come back to practice on Monday, keep grinding away and try to get better.”
“It was really just all of the same stuff. Just do your job well, read your keys, and just do everything the same to the best of your ability,” said Xavier linebacker Josef Lemker. “Nothing really changes. It’s the same thing.”
Those last couple of sentences aren’t totally true. Schulte admitted he lit into his boys in the locker room at halftime.
Xavier had a precarious 7-0 lead, but it was all Saints in half number two.
“I challenged the kids at halftime that you’ve got to step it up,” Schulte said. “We got a little excited at halftime, kind of an old-school type of halftime situation. Proud of the way they came out in the second half and got things done.”
“It was definitely motivating,” said Xavier quarterback Alex Neal. “You just need that. It got everybody in the zone. We came out and did it in the second half.”
Schulte was asked if his apparent fire-and-brimstone speech was reminiscent of stuff he heard from Tom Kopatich, his old coach at Cedar Rapids LaSalle, or perhaps Tom Good, the legendary former coach at Cedar Rapids Regis. Those two were known for their rather hard-nosed approaches.
“A little bit,” Schulte said with a grin. “But nobody could reach that level.”
Michael Cunningham’s 10-yard touchdown run gave Xavier a quick lead on its opening possession of the game. Neal had TD runs of 10 and 29 yards in the third quarter, fullback Christian Stanek added a 3-yard touchdown plunge and Trysten Vasquez a 29-yard field goal in the fourth.
Washington (2-3), which has lost three in a row, was held to just 90 yards of offense. That included but 28 rushing yards on 21 attempts.
The Warriors had one scoring opportunity, driving to the Xavier 15 late in the first quarter. But a costly holding penalty behind the line of scrimmage and an ensuing false-start penalty pushed Wash all the back to the Xavier 38, and the Warriors ended up punting.
C.R. Xavier 31, C.R. Washington 0
AT SAINTS FIELD
C.R. Washington 0 0 0 0- 0
C.R. Xavier 7 0 14 10-31
X-Michael Cunningham 10 run (Trysten Vasquez kick)
X-Alex Neal 10 run (Vasquez kick)
X-Neal 29 run (Vasquez kick)
X-Christian Stanek 3 run (Vasquez kick)
X-Vasquez 29 FG
FIRST DOWNS: Washington 8, Xavier 15. RUSHES-YARDS: Washington 21-28, Xavier 46-215. PASSING YARDS: Washington 62, Xavier 56. COMP.-ATT.-INT.: Washington: 11-25-1-62, Xavier 4-6-0-56. TOTAL YARDS: Washington 90, Xavier 271. PENALTIES: Washington 5-45, Xavier 2-20. FUMBLES-LOST: Washington 0-0, Xavier 1-0. PUNTS-AVG.: Washington 9-26.3, Xavier 5-34.2
RUSHING: Washington: Miles Thompson 10-46, Watts McBride 3-9, Romen Young 3-(minus) 2, Reid Ortiz 5-(minus) 25. Xavier: Will Hiserote 13-68, Alex Neal 13-67, Michael Cunningham 9-54, Christian Stanek 5-23, Aidan Henry 1-5, Aidan McDermott 1-2, Eddy Rodriguez 1-1, T.J. Cook 2-(minus) 3, Team 1-(minus) 2.
PASSING: Washington: Reid Ortiz 11-25-1-62. Xavier: Alex Neal 4-6-0-56.
RECEIVING: Washington: Michael Blank 6-40, Jaden Harris 4-15, Donovan Jagnow 1-7, Watts McBride 1-0. Xavier: Aidan McDermott 3-56.
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