116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — They’ve had 10 different players score touchdowns this season. Eleven guys have scored points.
From a Class A football team.
This has been a true collective effort, without question, for the Lisbon Lions. They’re ranked fourth, went 7-1 in the regular season and hosted a first-round playoff game Friday night against Bellevue because of it.
“We’ve played pretty good ball,” said Lisbon Coach Phil Whitman. “We’re still learning, and that’s the name of the game. Continue to get better every week, and I think we’ve done that so far. Whether it be some really good opponents, like Wapello, that we’ve faced, or even Week 3 with Alburnett, when we knew they were going to play us tough. They’re coached really well.
“And even last week with Starmont, they were a physical team, and we knew that going in. We’ve had to rise to the occasion every game and continue to work hard to get better. I think our kids have done a pretty good job of that.”
Now back to the whole TD-by-committee thing.
Lisbon had six different ball carriers pick up at least one of them in the regular season. The leaders were Gavin Wollum with nine and Jamien Moore with eight.
Wollum’s 81 carries led the team, as did Max Kohl’s 471 yards. Again, that’s not many, especially for a good club.
Aiden Hansen didn’t have a rushing touchdown, but had five receiving. Will Bennett and Matthias Kohl are other players who had TD receptions instead of rushing.
“Our offense has come a long ways,” Whitman said. “We run a little option stuff, we run a two-quarterback system. We’ve had a bunch of guys with a bunch of yards. Nothing outstanding … Nobody that has 100 carries, and that’s less than 10 carries a game. But we’ve got a bunch of different guys that can take it to the house anytime.”
Wollum, a senior, and junior Cohen Kamaus have rotated duties at quarterback.
“(It’s) by series, back and forth,” Whitman said. “We kind of go with who’s rolling. If one of them kind of is rolling, we’ll stick with him. They each get two series in the first half, maybe three, then we’ll see where we’re at. Quite honestly, it depends on what the defense is giving us.”
Speaking of defense, Whitman said that was his team’s strength in the regular season. Lisbon gave up just 8.25 points per game, with a pair of shutouts.
Again, back to the team theme there, as a dozen players recorded between 10 1/2 and 39 1/2 tackles. A 3-4 set has good athletic outside linebackers that help funnel opposing ball carriers to good middle linebackers Kohl and Moore.
“I think our defense has played pretty solid ball,” Whitman said. “We’ve got a lot of speed on the defensive side of the ball, and that plays to our strength. We try to put pressure on offenses up front, and we’ve got some really athletic D-linemen, our three down D-linemen. Then we bring some athletic outside linebackers pretty consistently from the outside that are two of our better athletes on the team.
“I think we have some pretty darned good athletes, too. We try to funnel everything to the middle to what I call our thumpers, Kohl and Moore, who are pretty solid linebackers for us.”
Lisbon lost its season opener way back in August to Class 1A playoff qualifier West Branch, 12-6. It has been nothing but victories since then.
The Lions went 6-0 to claim the District 5 championship. Wapello finished second at 5-1, Alburnett third at 4-2, with all three of them qualifying for the playoffs as a result.
Whitman said he figured his team would be solid this season because of its returnees. “Return” has been another theme for Lisbon considering it went back to playing home games at the school this season after having to spend last season playing home games at Cornell College in Mount Vernon.
“Just being at home … ” Whitman said. “Don’t get me wrong, Cornell was a great facility. But not having to get in a bus and go even just 10 minutes is so nice. Routine. Routine is really nice to have.”
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