Prep Football

Cedar Rapids Prairie stuffs Davenport North in 4A football second round

Hawks hold Wildcats to minus-5 yards rushing in 35-0 rout

CEDAR RAPIDS — It’s unknown until midday Saturday whether the Prairie Hawks will host or travel in the third round of the playoffs.

Either way, their Senior Walk is complete.

Ninth-ranked Cedar Rapids Prairie was impenetrable on the ground, limiting Davenport North to minus-5 rushing yards in a 35-0 Class 4A second-round playoff stroll Friday night at John Wall Field.

“Our defense was lights-out,” Prairie Coach Mark Bliss said. “That’s a team that played Bettendorf hard to the end. We knew they had some talent.”

The Hawks (5-2) won their fifth straight game. Afterward, Bliss and the seniors made their way to the south goal line, locked arms and made the 100-yard walk northward.

“We don’t know if this was the last home game or not,” Bliss said. “So our Senior Walk was tonight.”

Prairie’s next playoff assignment — opponent and site — will be released by the Iowa High School Athletic Association at noon Saturday.

This much is certain: The Hawks are peaking.

“That’s five in a row, and we want to keep it going,” said linebacker Maguire Jones, one of the many defensive standouts. “We lost our first two games, and that really woke us up.”

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North (3-4) ran the ball 24 times. Fourteen of those carries were no-gainers or losses. The Wildcats finished with 37 total yards and three first downs.

Meanwhile, Prairie amassed 381 yards, 336 coming from a balanced ground game. Nick Pearson is ordinarily the Hawks’ workhorse, and he accumulated 91 yards on 22 carries Friday.

The explosiveness came from Nick Fetters (four carries, 116 yards, including a 78-yard touchdown) and Adam Longwell (four carries, 79 yards, two TDs).

“It’s a credit to our offensive line,” Fetters said. “We have a great group of guys. One of the best things, a lot of guys can fill a spot. And our coaches had some great play calls.”

When they weren’t opening holes, the offensive linemen were confusing the Wildcats’ defensive front with their shifting. North was called offside seven times.

Prairie led 13-0 at halftime before blowing it open right after intermission.

After a 58-yard punt gave the Hawks the ball at their own 22, Fetters got loose down the right sideline for a touchdown. North fumbled on its first play from scrimmage following the kickoff, then the Hawks scored two plays later on Elijah Ward’s 25-yard touchdown reception.

Two scores in 26 seconds, and the way the Hawks were stuffing the run, victory was inevitable.

Comments: (319) 368-8857; jeff.linder@thegazette.com

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