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CEDAR RAPIDS — Cedar Rapids Washington put together an out-of-nowhere rally at the end of the second quarter to take a lead into halftime Friday night against Waterloo West.
But that was nothing compared to what West did at the end of the game. Absolutely nothing.
Adijan Muhamedagic kicked a 49-yard field goal with 1.5 seconds left to give the Wahawks a shocking 38-35 win over Washington in the regular-season finale at Kingston Stadium. West scored 18 points in the final 1:13.
Let that final line sink in for a moment.
'I had to do it for my guys,' said Muhamedagic about the biggest, clutchest kick of his four-year varsity career. 'They called me out there, and I just had to do what my job was. I had to get it done. It was my senior year.'
Washington (5-4) had this one completely in the bag, holding a 35-20 lead and possession of the football inside the West 30 with under five minutes to go. But somehow West (5-4) escaped from that bag.
An interception was followed by a Wahawk touchdown. Then it was an onside kick recovery, a TD pass deflected off the hands of two Washington defensive backs and a corresponding two-point conversion.
One more interception gave West the ball right back. A 10-yard pass completion set up Muhamedagic for his kick, which hooked from right to left just inside the right goal post and just over the crossbar.
'Our season has been like this. Ups and downs all year long, just like this game,' said West Coach Lonnie Moore. 'We didn't ride the roller coaster, our kids continued to keep playing. I'm excited for our seniors. It was our mission to send them out with a win, and we did that.'
'It's called being able to play pass defense, and we didn't do a good job of that,' lamented Washington Coach Mo Blue. 'Probably should have taken a knee and just taken it to overtime instead of give them a chance to score a field goal. You don't want to take your foot off the gas, you want to stay aggressive. But that's my fault. We should have just kneed it out and gotten it to overtime.'
West quarterback Cade Dodd threw for 400 yards and four touchdowns, including that fortuitous 13-yarder to Kalen Burt with 27.6 seconds left. Dodd was picked off five times, but Washington's inability to secure interception number six was crucial.
Both Ty Johnson and Lincoln Riley appeared to be on the verge of grabbing an underthrown pass at the left front corner of the end zone, but they converged and had the ball go off both sets of hands and behind them to Burt.
'Luck plays into it,' Blue said. 'We make that pick, and everybody is feeling a lot different right now. You don't make the pick, and this is how you feel.'
West suffered a surprising loss last week to Mason City, a team Washington beat the week before by 39 points. That made this game meaningless from a Class 4A playoff standpoint, with the Warriors knowing coming in they were District 5's runner-up.
Blue figures his team will draw top-ranked Iowa City West in a 4A first-rounder next week.
'Absolutely, we've got to flush this,' he said. 'We've got to be done with it tomorrow. We'll get into the film room and watch it at 3 o'clock after school. See where the mistakes were, see what we've got to do to shore those up and get ready for whoever.'
Outplayed most of the first half, Washington scored a pair of touchdowns in the final 2:07 of the second quarter for a 21-20 halftime lead. That included a pretty 20-yard pass from quarterback Bryan Kunde to Keiyon Smith-Allen with six seconds left.
Kunde threw for 264 yards and three TDs but suffered three interceptions, including the untimely late two. West's Caleb Dodd also Pick-6ed him in the second quarter, a ball deflected by a lineman and to the linebacker.
Haven Henningsen rushed 30 times for 141 yards and a touchdown for Wash. West receivers Burt and Mario Wright combined for 14 catches for 249 yards.
'The kids played hard, we just made too many mental mistakes,' Blue said. 'Not really even mental mistakes. We had a couple of physical mistakes. They had some receivers that were a matchup problem for us, and we knew that coming in ... Their big receptions, their big plays in the passing game were just a couple of good plays by them.'
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