116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
INDEPENDENCE — West Delaware can add district title to its season resume.
Third-ranked West Delaware received two touchdown runs by Kyle Cole and Wyatt Voelker in the fourth quarter to pull away for a 25-14 victory over No. 6 Independence Friday night at Lyle Leinbaugh Field.
“It was a tough first half and third quarter,” Voelker said. “In the fourth quarter, we stepped on their throat and didn’t let off. We’re a second-half team and we kept it going. We have a pace like crazy.”
The Hawks captured the Class 3A District 3 title.
“It was the next one on our schedule,” West Delaware Coach Doug Winkowitsch said. “We’re going to go get the next one and then go get the next one. That’s our mentality. I love that these kids have a quiet focus about them.
“They aren’t a lot of rah-rah. They just go play the game. They continue to get better every week. I have to credit them.”
Independence seemed to have West Delaware where it wanted, producing a 21-play drive that reached inside the Hawks’ 10 and eclipsed more than 9 1/2 minutes off the clock.
The Mustangs managed a 27-yard field goal attempt that was denied by a Voelker block.
“It was wide open,” Voelker said about switching gaps and bolting through off-center. “I blocked it. I’ve done it a few times before. It’s sort of my thing.”
West Delaware received the boost it needed.
“The defensive stop was huge,” Winkowitsch said. “That was a big moment for us to get the ball back off that nine-minute drive.”
Cole scampered for TD runs of 13 and 71 on the Hawks’ first two second-half possessions.
Cole finished with 124 yards rushing and just 15 through the air since the Hawks didn’t throw a second-half pass.
“I thought tonight in the second half was the best he’s seen the field from the run,” Winkowitsch said. “We felt all year that maybe he had some moments. Tonight, he took advantage of them.”
Independence’s Mitch Johnson hit sophomore Brady McDonald for a 27-yard TD pass to pull within 19-14 with 7:08 left.
West Delaware (7-1, 4-0) answered quickly. On the third snap of the ensuing drive, Voelker broke a 70-yard TD run with 6:09 left.
He finished with 169 rushing yards on 22 carries and surprised himself on the late burst.
“I didn’t realize I was that fast,” Voelker said. “I usually get caught after about 20 yards.”
Independence’s Marcus Beatty rushed for 105 yards and Johnson threw for 111. The Mustangs nearly matched West Delaware in total yardage with 226.
The game started as a defensive slug fest, forcing punts through the first four series in a scoreless first quarter.
West Delaware was the first to put points on the scoreboard. On the Hawks’ third series, they served Independence a steady diet of runs but used it to set up a little trickery to cap a 64-yard, 12-play drive.
West Delaware quarterback Cole’s backward pass was hauled in by Will Ward, who hit Luke Kehrli, dragging across the defense for a wide open 17-yard catch and run for a touchdown.
Independence was held to a three-and-out, initially, on the ensuing possession. The Mustangs capitalized on a Hawks miscue, pouncing on a fumbled punt at the West Delaware 44.
The Mustangs tied the game five plays later when Johnson hit Keegan Schmitt for a 23-yard TD with 3:26 remaining in the second quarter and it was a 7-7 game at the half.
First Downs 14 12
Rushes-Yds 43-196 41-115
Pass Yds 32 111
Comp-Att-Int 3-6-0 11-24-1
Total Yds 228 226
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 0-0
Punts-Avg. 3-37.3 3-32.3
Penalties-Yds 6-51 0-0
West Delaware 0 7 0 18—25
Independence 0 7 0 7—14
RUSHING – W. Delaware: Wyatt Voelker 22-169, Kyle Cole 17-124, Will Halverson 1-7, Will Ward 1-1. Independence: Marcus Beatty 37-105, Mitch Johnson 4-10.
PASSING – W. Delaware: Cole 2-5-0-15, Ward 1-1-0-17. Independence: Johnson 11-24-1-111.
RECEIVING – W. Delaware: Luke Kehrli 1-17, Ward 1-8, Halverson 1-7. Independence: Keegan Schmitt 8-91, Brady McDonald 1-27, Jacob Sidles 1-(-3), Beatty 1-(-4).
WD – Kehrli 17 pass from Ward (Conner Funk kick)
IND – Schmitt 23 pass from Johnson (Sawyer Wendling kick)
WD – Cole 13 run (conversion failed)
WD – Cole 71 run (run failed)
IND – McDonald 27 pass from Johnson (Wendling kick)
WD – Voelker 70 run (kick failed)