116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
PLEASANT HILL — Iowa City West endured a long sophomore game, an extended halftime, scoreboard malfunctions and a late finish.
The Trojans even withstood an early 14-point deficit.
None of it was enough to keep Class 4A fourth-ranked West from an opening-week victory, beating Southeast Polk, 37-27, Friday night on the road.
West Coach Garrett Hartwig said the Trojans notched a nice win, but some aspects showed the rust that often comes with the first game.
'I was proud of the boys,' Hartwig said. 'We got punched in the mouth right out of the gate.
'They responded and made adjustments.'
The Rams used some effective play from quarterback Shane Starcevich and running back Gavin Williams, while exploiting the Trojans' focus on the sophomore rusher to get others the ball and build a 14-0 lead to start the second quarter.
The Trojans turned to the veteran players and experience from last year's 4A state runner-up team to get back into the game, outscoring the Rams 20-3 in the second quarter and producing 17 straight points to pull away in the second half.
Traevis Buchanan's 26-yard TD run gave West a 20-14 edge at the break.
'Our leadership showed,' Hartwig said. 'Nobody panicked.'
West quarterback Evan Flitz made a huge impact, connecting on two first-half touchdown passes. Flitz began to pick apart the Rams defense. He converted on opportunities that were available.
Flitz had touchdown runs of 2 and 14 yards in the first half. He also connected on a 38-ayrd pass to Dillon Doyle to set up a 12-yard Trumell Roberts TD run to make it 27-20. Flitz hit Buchanan on a 31-yard pass that led to an Andrew White 9-yard TD run, making it 34-20 with 11 minutes left.
'Evan made some great decisions,' Hartwig said. 'He's an accurate passer.
'We started taking advantage of what they were giving us. It opened things up downfield.'
White contributed to the offense's success, using his hands and feet to eat up yards.
'He did a good job receiving the ball,' Hartwig said. 'He got some tough yards running inside.'
The celebration, as was the turnaround from Friday night's win, was short. The Trojans were back at it Saturday morning, lifting weights. Hartwig said they can play harder, despite a strong Week 1 effort. The focus is to play better, preparing for district play.
'It's going to be tough,' Hartwig said. 'That's the mentality we have to have.
'This is a great first step to take.'
West hosts Muscatine Friday. The Muskies lost to Cedar Rapids Kennedy, 50-6, in their opener.
SNITKER RUNS WILD
Waukon's Mitchell Snitker picked up where his all-state season from a year ago finished, helping the Indians trounce MFL MarMac, 56-0, at home.
Snitker only touched the ball five times on offense, but that didn't stop him from compiling video game style numbers. He finished with 218 yards and five total touchdowns.
The junior rushed for 146 yards on three carries, which amounts to a 48.7-yard average. He ran for two scores, including a 97-yarder.
Snitker, a versatile threat who amassed more than 1,500 yards of offense last season, added 68 receiving yards and scored on catches of 48 and 20 yards. He also returned an interception 30 yards for a TD, tacking on an extra point and two-point conversion for 33 points.
EAST SNAPS STREAK
Waterloo East snapped a 37-game losing streak with a decisive 38-0 home victory against Des Moines North. The Trojans hadn't won since a 33-14 win at Davenport Assumption on Oct. 24, 2012 in the first round of the playoffs. East finished 6-5 that season, starting the losing skid against eventual state finalist Cedar Rapids Xavier.
The feat is more impressive consider the Trojans forfeited last season's regular-season finale to Cedar Falls due to low numbers. The Trojans still only have 19 players listed on the roster posted to quikstatsiowa.com.
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