116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
North Linn is off to its best start in more than two decades.
The Lynx have fielded a stingy defense and a potent offense. Coach Jared Collum said the team hasn’t discussed the early success.
“The kids probably don’t even know,” Collum said with a laugh. “It took a table full of alumni to figure it out Friday night.
“We’re just one week at a time.”
North Linn improved to 5-0 for the first time since 1999, beating South Winneshiek, 20-6, Friday at Troy Mills.
“We’ve started well,” Collum said. “For us, it starts on the defensive side. Our defense has been outstanding all year.”
The Lynx have shut down opponents, allowing an average of four points a game. They have given up just three total scores, including the opening touchdown before shutting the Warriors out the final three quarters.
Collum said coaches have untethered the defenders in the 4-3 scheme that has produced three shutouts. The results have surpassed expectations.
“It’s better than what we thought,” Collum said. “It’s a matter of the coaches getting out of the way and letting them play.”
Depth has helped as well. They have been able to get more players on the field and allowed some to focus solely on defense, like defensive tackles sophomore Landen Paul and McClane Rauch. Landon Miller has stepped in and done well as the Mike linebacker.
“We have five guys (on defense) who are one-way players,” Collum said. “We’re always getting fresh bodies in there.”
Offensively, the Lynx average almost 34 points a game and have surpassed 20 in each contest. Last season, North Linn reached the 20-point plateau four times.
Tate Haughenbury has passed for 572 yards and seven scores. He has hit six receivers this season. Austin Hilmer leads the way with 321 yards and five touchdowns on 22 catches. Lance Miller has six receptions for 117 and Cael Bridgewater comes in at nine catches for 67 yards and a score.
“We have so many weapons — on the edge, running backs, receivers,” Collum said. “We have four receivers that can make plays. Tate Haughenbury can spread the ball around.”
The Lynx travel to Starmont (2-3) next Friday. Collum said the Lynx will face another tough task.
“Starmont is tough,” Collum said. “I think they’re a very good team.”
Iowa City High’s trophy haul
Iowa City High will need to clear some space in its display case. The Little Hawks have secured all three of their rivalry trophies, including a 56-7 home victory over Iowa City West Friday night in the “Battle for the Boot.”
City High snapped a five-game losing streak to the Trojans.
“It feels amazing, especially for all of the seniors,” sophomore quarterback Quinton Tran told The Gazette’s Jeff Linder after the game. “This is all for them.”
The Little Hawks won the “Battle for the Zeus Trophy” in the season opener against Iowa City Liberty. They also beat Ames, 43-5, for the Little Cy-Hawk Trophy.
City is 5-0 and one of three unbeaten teams in Class 5A, joining second-ranked Cedar Rapids Kennedy and No. 9 Linn-Mar. The Little Hawks face Davenport North next week.
East Buchanan’s power rush and picks
East Buchanan rolled Maquoketa Valley, 40-0, Friday night to move its record to 4-1. The Buccaneers used their trademark run game and a turnover-hungry defense.
East Buchanan rushed for 429 yards, including 137 yards and two touchdowns from Adam Hackett. The Buccaneers tallied six TDs and 17 first downs. Tanner Thurn scored twice and Connor Williams and Chase Fults added one.
“The key to us rushing the ball last night was patience,” East Buchanan Coach Jerry Alden said. “Maquoketa Valley was really overloading and cutting to our strong side of the line over top of Iowa commit Cody Fox. We were able to base on their alignments (and) run weak side quite a bit for quite a few yards. Our running backs had some big holes to run through on both sides, running power and counters to keep Maquoketa Valley guessing.”
East Buchanan also intercepted five passes, allowing just 77 passing yards, and increased its season total to 12. Aiden Cook led the way with three. Keaton Kelly added two.
“Our back seven are always looking for turnovers every day in practice and it has become contagious taking it into games and that’s a credit to our defensive line, making quarterbacks make quicker decisions than they want and (with) our back seven just being athletes flying around and being in the right position to make the play,” Alden said. “It’s exciting watching their confidence grow as they just expect to get interceptions and disappointed if they don’t.”
West Liberty’s Galvan-ized win
West Liberty earned its first win of the season Friday, toppling Monticello, 41-35, at home. All-state running back Jahsiah Galvan had a huge night.
Galvan rushed for 203 yards and two touchdowns and threw for a score. He produced on special teams as well. Galvan returned a kickoff for an 83-yard TD and blocked a punt.
Galvan has rushed for 553 yards and six TDs the last two weeks.