IOWA CITY — The Boot is staying on Melrose Avenue for a third straight year after Iowa City West beat crosstown rival Iowa City High, 36-32, in a wild, seesaw battle Friday night at Bates Field.
After not running a single offensive play in the third quarter, the Trojans marched down the field to take the lead for good with 6:39 left in the game. Quarterback Marcus Morgan, who finished 9 of 13 for 109 yards, found Grahm Goering for the game-winning 29-yard touchdown pass.
City High opened the second half with a bruising, nine-minute, 62-yard drive. After senior running back Tonka Hickman carried the Little Hawks to West’s 10-yard line, Hamilton kept the ball and won a race to the pylon to give City the lead, 26-22.
It was short-lived, however, because Goering returned the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown to put the Trojans on top again, 29-26.
City retook the lead, 32-29, at the beginning of the fourth quarter when Gable Mitchell made a diving catch in the end zone to complete at 22-yard connection from Ralph Hamilton.
In the first quarter, City High’s offensive line opened gaping holes in West’s defense for Hamilton and Hickman. Hickman ran the ball into the end zone from 3 yards out to open the scoring and then added a 2-point conversion to give City an early 8-0 lead.
City High’s defense sacked Morgan four times in the first quarter, but the Trojans’ signal caller was able to regain all the yards lost with passes to Tate Crane and Goering.
A 2-yard touchdown run from Fabian Brown and a successful 2-point conversion tied the game at 8.
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Before the half, West extended the lead with a 1-yard TD run by Brown, but City answered with a 30-yard touchdown connection between Hamilton and Mitchell to make the halftime score 22-20.