Prep Football

Iowa City West back to Class 4A playoffs with 58-14 blowout of Muscatine

Iowa City West quarterback Marcus Morgan passes the ball during a home game earlier this season. (Kara Wagenknecht/Iowa City West senior)
Iowa City West quarterback Marcus Morgan passes the ball during a home game earlier this season. (Kara Wagenknecht/Iowa City West senior)

IOWA CITY — You wanna know the really crazy thing about this Iowa City West football team?

It went into its Week 8 game Friday night against Muscatine with its leading rusher having accumulated a mere 172 yards. For the season.

No Trojans runner had picked up more than 85 in a game. That was sophomore quarterback Marcus Morgan a couple of weeks ago.

This isn’t some scrub club. West is 7-1, ranked seventh in Class 4A and clinched a district championship and corresponding playoff berth with a 58-14 blowout win here.

There is no dominant offensive player, though wide receiver Jalen Gaudet is close and Morgan is emerging into one. A ton of guys get touches, and it works beautifully.

“We want to get everybody the ball,” Gaudet said. “We want to spread the ball around. It’s harder for defenses to stop, so that’s what we want to do.”

Morgan threw two touchdown passes and had one rushing in one half of work, Gaudet had a TD receiving and another on a punt return, fullback Owen McAreavy had a touchdown rushing and receiving ... You get the idea.

West scored on the second play of the game (a 62-yard pass from Morgan to Gaudet), picked up a safety just 30 seconds later and added 21 points each in the second and third quarters to simply roll Muscatine (4-4). The Trojans finished with 517 yards offense: 266 in the air and 251 on the ground.

That’s balance. Eleven different players had carries, five caught passes.

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“Everybody has to contribute,” Morgan said. “This is a very team-oriented team. We know we can’t do it without everybody.”

Morgan replaced senior Joey Kuehn as the starter for West’s third game of the season and has eye-popping ability. The brother of former Northern Iowa basketball standout Jeremy Morgan, son of former Iowa basketball player Michael Morgan and grandson of longtime former Urbandale football coach Denny Frerichs has a big-time arm (he hit 85 miles per hour with his fastball this past baseball season) and is highly elusive with quick feet.

His future is bright in whatever sport he ultimately chooses. He also plays hoops

“Marcus has a hell of an upside,” Coach Garrett Hartwig said. “He’s a tough kid, comes from a good family with competitive genes certainly. He’s not afraid of the moment. He’s got talent, too. We just let him work. He made some mistakes that may not be obvious from the stands that he’s got to get cleaned up to help us. Getting us get in better positions, as far as formations and play calling. But he’s a talented kid. He’s not perfect, he’ll be the first to tell you that. But he shows up and works every day.”

West lost in last year’s 4A title game, graduating some tremendous players like QB Evan Flitz and linebacker Dillon Doyle. But it has reloaded and not rebuilt.

l Comments: (319) 398-8259; jeff.johnson@thegazette.com

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