116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
MARION — It's not often Linn-Mar's Carter Henderson gets tackled on first contact from opposing defenses.
In fact, it often takes two and sometimes three waves of tacklers to bring the Lion junior to the turf.
Ottumwa witnessed that first hand on Friday night at Linn-Mar Stadium. Henderson rushed for 140 yards on nine carries, scoring three times as the No. 9 Lions (6-1) closed in on a Class 5A playoff berth with an impressive 56-0 win over the Bulldogs (1-6).
Henderson, a 6-foot, 190-pounder, scored on runs of 20, 30 and 5 yards, but his most impressive run was a non-scoring run of 63 yards where he appeared to be tackled at least three or four times by Bulldog defenders.
"I'm not sure how many tackles I broke on that run, maybe five, six or seven," he said. "I just really try to keep my feet going and never go down and it seems to be working."
Lions Coach Tim Lovell said Henderson has all the qualities needed to be a good running back.
"He's just shifty and fast," said the first-year Lions coach. "He's super athletic, he is as strong as an ox and he has really good vision. I think he has surprised a lot of people but he hasn't surprised us because we have seen it all along.
"(Carter) is a freak athletically and he is humble as the day is long. We're lucky to have him and we're going to keep feeding him the rock."
With his performance Friday night, Henderson has rushed for 756 yards on 112 carries, scoring 12 touchdowns.
"All the credit goes to the offensive line," Henderson said. "I can't do a thing without them opening up holes."
It also was a big night for senior quarterback McKade Jelinek. He completed 5 of 6 passes for 128 yards and three touchdowns. He hit Cam Guenther for an 82-yard score in the first quarter. Owen Lamb (7 yards) and Jack Robertson (5 yards) also hauled in scoring passes from Jelinek.
Guenther also returned a punt 35 yards for a score.
The final Lion score came on a 17-yard pass from Reid Recker to Hayden Thoms.
Friday's win almost assuredly will get the Lions a spot in the 16-team 5A playoff field.
"It's a testament to everybody in the program," Lovell said. "We talk about trust with our guys. We trust them to do their jobs and hopefully they trust us to do ours. We're just excited to see where this program can go."
Linn-Mar hits the road next week for a game against Davenport Central (3-4) at Brady Street Stadium.