CEDAR RAPIDS — Friday night had all the makings of a trap game for Class 4A No. 9 Cedar Rapids Prairie.
Rolling into their contest with Waterloo West, the Hawks sported a four-game winning streak, Class 4A’s leading rusher (Keegan Simmons), and were facing an opponent without a win in district play.
Oh, and a showdown with No. 3 Cedar Falls for the 4A District 3 title loomed just a week away.
The Hawks managed to put all of that to the side, taking a 70-14 win over Waterloo West. Although these distractions were out of sight for the Hawks, they certainly weren’t out of mind.
“They could have been looking ahead to next week,” said Prairie head coach Mark Bliss. “You don’t really know what’s in the minds of kids, they’re just pups.”
On the opening drive, the Wahawks marched down the field and took a 7-0 lead behind the arm of Carter Maske. The Prairie offense had a tough time answering. A dropped pass and a pair of penalties led to a Prairie punt.
“We’ve still got a lot of stuff to work on,” said Simmons. “We’re going to come into practice and work on it because next week is for all the marbles.”
Simmons answered later in the quarter with his 20th touchdown of the season. Simmons continued to add to that total with another touchdown early in the second quarter to give Prairie a 14-7 lead. The senior finished the night with 217 yards rushing and five touchdowns.
ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT
“He is truly fun to watch,” said Simmons. “I’ve had 23 Division-I athletes play for me and there is no question that he is the best running back I’ve ever coached.”
West answered with a 24-yard pass from Maske to Pollock, but that was the last time the Wahawks scored. The Prairie offense took off and scored 56 unanswered points.
“Our defensive staff at halftime made three adjustments in personnel and some adjustments in scheme,” said Bliss. “That worked and we were fortunate enough to keep them out of the end zone.”