CEDAR RAPIDS — More balanced? For sure.
Just as productive? Early indications lean that way.
Cedar Rapids Prairie exploded for seven first-half touchdowns — from four different players — and buried Cedar Rapids Washington, 56-7, in a Metro non-district football game Friday night at John Wall Field.
“Our best season-opener in our five years together,” Prairie Coach Mark Bliss proclaimed. “Our special teams were solid. Our offense and defense, just some very, very minor mistakes.”
Keegan Simmons had been Prairie’s featured back the past two seasons, in which he rushed for more than 3,800 yards. He has graduated, but his void was more than filled Friday.
“Last year was the Keegan show,” said Nicholas Pearson, who rushed for 150 yards and scored on three lengthy touchdown runs. “This year, our chemistry is outstanding, and it shows on the field.”
Tariq Amir added three touchdown runs of his own. Hunter Williams connected with Johnny Joens for a 42-yard scoring strike, and Nick Freel added a 68-yard scoring jaunt.
“We’re going to spread the ball out a lot,” said Amir, who added 122 rushing yards. “I like it when we pass the ball, and we can still run.”
Prairie (1-0) scored on seven of eight first-half possessions and led 49-7 at intermission. The second half was played under a continuous clock as the Hawks defeated Washington (0-1) for the third straight year.
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The Hawks were surgical in the opening half, racking up 376 yards (281 rushing, 95 passing) on 30 plays from scrimmage. The first drive was an eight-play, 69-yard march that ended in Amir’s 1-yard scoring dive.
Most of the other marches were more explosive than methodical.
“Our linemen were working really hard. They were getting out on (Washington’s) linebackers,” Pearson said. “That helped a lot.”
Pearson scored on TD runs of 23, 63 and 32 yards.
“As soon as I crossed the line of scrimmage, I saw open green,” he said. “I just went straight ahead.”
The Hawks’ defense was just as impressive. Washington got 182 passing yards from Henry Clymer (including a 56-yard touchdown throw to Carter Bell), but it took his 40 attempts to get there.
“Jim (Dostal) and the defensive staff did a tremendous job, putting things in,” Bliss said. “And the kids retained everything.
“We’re going to be the smallest team on our schedule, but the kids have incredible hearts.”
Prairie is at Pleasant Valley next week; Washington hosts Dubuque Hempstead.
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