IOWA CITY — To watch the Iowa City High Little Hawks celebrate Friday night, one might have thought they had won a Class 4A state title, not simply a first-round game.
After last week’s crushing defeat to end the regular season against Iowa City Liberty, City High came out and played with purpose, posting a 41-16 win Class 4A over Ottumwa on a cool, crisp night at Bates Field.
Now 2-3, the Little Hawks get another shot at rival Iowa City West next Friday night in a second-round game at West.
Ottumwa closes its season at 0-7.
“We took better care of the ball and that always helps,” said City High Coach Dan Sabers. “We were able to impose our will on them a litte bit once we figured out we shouldn’t be looking in the backfield so much and we got our defense in pretty good shape too.”
City High had four drives in the first half, three of which resulted in scores. Raph Hamilton opened the scoring with a 15-yard run up the middle on a quarterback sneak. Joe Bacon capped a long drive with a 2-yard run on the next series and it looked like the Little Hawks were on their way to an easy win.
However, the visitors came back with a touchdown drive, capped on a 16-yard pass from Adam Denniston to Colton McKinnon, who made a beautiful diving catch in the end zone.
Hamilton finished City’s next drive with a 21-yard scoring toss to Gable Mitchell, who also went to the ground to haul it in. Ottumwa countered with a double handoff that saw McKinnon tightrope the sideline for a 51-yard score with less than a minute remaining before the break.
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City had a score wiped out on the last play of the half when officials ruled that Hamilton was just over the line of scrimmage when he let go a 43-yard pass that Mitchell hauled in near the back of the end zone.
The second half was all Little Hawks as they added three more scores for their second win of the season.
Sabers was proud of the way his team prepared coming off the tough loss to Liberty.
“They had a pretty good week overall,” he said. “I was proud of the way they responded and the guys got excited. They begged me to get the black jerseys out and I said we’d do whatever we have to and they responded and came out and did a great job.”
Joey Bouska led a ground attack the finished with 327 yards on 55 carries. He had 136 yards on 23 carries and a score. Hamilton, a 6-foot-4, 232-pound quarterback, added 97 yards on nine carries and a score.
Ottumwa was led by Kie Glosser with 106 yards on 21 carries.
Sabers knows the next challenge will be tougher. Fifth-ranked West beat City High, 56-20 in Week 2.
“There’s no question, they’re good,” he said of the Trojans. “(Cedar Rapids) Kennedy has a solid program and they just took them apart. (Quarterback Marcus) Morgan is unbelievable and they have a good supporting cast. We’ve got our hands full, but I’ve told the kids that this is a crazy game. We’re going to show up, that’s for sure.”
AT BATES FIELD
First downs 15 24
Rushes-yards 39-198 55-327
Passing yards 43 72
Comp-Att-Int 3-13-1 7-13-0
Punts-Avg. 3-42.3 0-0.00
Fumbles-lost 3-2 3-1
Penalties-Yards 2-10 5-25
Iowa City High 7 13 8 13 — 41
Ottumwa 0 14 0 2 — 16
ICH — Raph Hamilton 15 run (Kongalo Mwenemkamba kick)
ICH — Joe Bacon 2 run (Mwenemkamba kick)
O — Colton McKinnon 16 pass from Adam Denniston (Bryan Carapia kick)
ICH — Gable Mitchell 21 pass from Hamilton (kick failed)
O — McKinnon 51 run (Carapia kick)
ICH — Joey Bouska 11 run (Hamilton run)
ICH — Bacon 1 run (Mwenemkamba kick)
O — Safety, snap over punter’s head out of end zone
ICH — Paul Waikel 36 fumble return (kick failed)
RUSHING - Ottumwa: Kie Glosser 21-106, Colton McKinnon 2-51, Andy Palma 11-57, Adam Denniston 3-10, Austin Fountain 1-4 Team: 1-(minus 21). IC High: Joey Bouska 23-136, Raph Hamilton 9-97, Joe Bacon 4-24 Gabe Orris 2-12, Gable Mitchell 2-16, Ben Kueter 7-53, Sam Carlson 3-11, Drew Kolzumi 1-0, Carter Seaton 1-(minus 6) Team 3-(minus 16).
PASSING - Ottumwa: Adam Denniston 4-14-1-43. IC High: Raph Hamilton 7-13-0-72.
RECEIVING - Ottumwa: Trae Swartz 1-12, Kie Glosser 1-8, Colton McKinnon 1-16, Andy Palma 1-7. IC High: Gable Mitchell 4-50, Kolby Kucera 3-22.