CEDAR RAPIDS — Cedar Rapids Washington Coach Maurice Blue isn’t one to mince his words.
He is as straightforward as they come and he resorted to a direct approach with the Warriors after a second straight lopsided loss to start the prep football season.
“It wasn’t a lot of yelling,” Blue said. “More than anything, it was blunt truth. We have to get better. There are some things we can do well (and) we have to keep doing them well. There are things we aren’t doing so well we have to keep getting better at.”
Dubuque Hempstead managed the rebound victory this week, scoring 33 first-half points and handling the Warriors, 47-14, in non-district play Thursday night at Kingston Stadium.
The game started bad and turned worse quickly as Hempstead scored on its first five possessions, including the first four that started in Washington territory.
Washington opened the game with a three-and-out and followed with a punt for no net yardage. Hempstead took over at the 21 and scored three plays later. Jalen Smith broke a 17-yard run, diving over the final defender from the 3 to reach the end zone.
It was the first of three TD runs for Smith, who added scores of 3 and 33 yards in the second quarter. Smith led Hempstead with 79 yards rushing.
Hempstead’s worst field position in the first quarter was the Washington 38. It parlayed that into Ben Jaeger field goals from 37 and 38 yards and an Aidan Dunne 1-yard plunge for a 20-0 edge.
The Warrior defense tried to hold the Mustangs, but was working with small fields and just three plays of rest as Washington earned just one first down before the break and three straight punts of 19 yards or less.
“It’s tough to do defensively,” Blue said. “You have to be better in the kicking game, if you want to flip field position.”
Hempstead needed just two plays to force a running clock in the second half. Kamari Stanford rushed for a 59-yard score to make it 40-0 with 11:07 to go in the third. Stanford finished with 69 yards and the Mustangs amassed 190 yards on the ground.
Washington (0-2) continued to fight. The Warriors battled back for two fourth-quarter scores. Henry Clymer hit Trenton Strom for a 49-yard catch-and-run TD down the far sideline. Clymer also hit Mason Ward for a 17-yard TD with a little more than a minute to go.
Clymer finished with 152 passing yards, including 44 to Ward. LayC Tucker led Washington with 66 rushing yards.
“Our willingness to compete isn’t an issue,” Blue said. “They’ll compete. We have to raise the level of how hard we compete and we had some guys do that tonight. It’s hard to tell when it’s 47 to 14.
“Mason Ward only has one speed. Now, he might only be 5-foot-9, 147 pounds, but you’re going to get all of it. Once we get more guys putting that kind of understanding of how hard to push themselves every play, that is when we’ll be able to get the boat going the right way.”
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