NORTH LIBERTY — In an odd night all the way around, it took Iowa City West awhile to get started.
The Trojans and Iowa City Liberty opened the 2020 prep football season before no fans due to the recent rash of COVID-19 cases in Johnson County. With the lack of usual energy coming from the fans, West had to generate some on its own.
When that is needed, it helps to have an all-state quarterback to get things going. After a slow first half, West senior Marcus Morgan accounted for three second-half touchdowns as the Trojans blanked the Lightning, 27-0.
Morgan, a multi-sport star at West, struggled some in the first half, throwing an interception and missing on a couple of throws.
The Trojans did lead 6-0 at the break on a nifty 11-yard scoring run from Trey King on the first play of the second quarter. West had two other chances to score, only to fall short on a fourth-down attempt and not convert a 43-yard field goal try from Owen Smith on the final play of the first half.
However, that 6-0 lead, looked large as Liberty couldn’t muster much against the Trojan defense.
West gave its fellow Iowa City Community School district member a rough indoctrination to Class 4A football. Coach Jeff Gordon’s team made the Class 3A playoffs last season, but struggled mightily on offense against an aggressive West defense. It didn’t make a first down until the final two minutes of the first half, and had just six overall for the game.
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The second half was all Morgan. Working against a game, but tiring Liberty defense, Morgan scored on a 13-yard run following a Lightning fumble early in the third quarter. He then added a pair of scoring tosses, a 2-yarder to Boaz Abrahoff on a 22-yard fade pass to Grahm Goering in the fourth quarter.
West had 340 yards of total offense while Liberty was held to 97, all on the ground. The Lightning didn’t even attempt a pass. They had a few pass plays called only to see quarterback James McKinney, Jr. either scramble for yardage or get sacked behind the line.
Morgan finished 18-of-27 for 201 yards and two scores. He rushed 11 times for 78 yards. Goering caught five passes for 93 yards while King finished with five catches for 56 yards.
West returns home next Friday, hosting City High in the Battle for the Boot. Liberty hits the road for a Thursday night game against Cedar Rapids Jefferson.
AT NORTH LIBERTY
First downs 21 6
Rushes-yards 33-139 39-97
Passing yards 201 0
Comp-Att-Int 18-27-1 0-0-0
Punts-Avg. 2-40.0 8-38.6
Fumbles-lost 4-1 3-1
Penalties-Yards 6-45 9-56
Iowa City West 0 6 14 7 — 27
Iowa City Liberty 0 0 0 0 — 0
ICW — Trey King 11 run (run failed)
ICW — Marcus Morgan 13 run (Owen Smith kick)
ICW — Boaz Abramoff 2 pass from Morgan (Smith kick)
ICW — Grahm Goering 22 pass from Morgan (Smith kick)
RUSHING - I.C. West: Marcus Morgan 11-78, Trey King 9-61, Fabian Brown 6-(minus 1), Boaz Abramoff 2-3, Grahm Goering 3-13, Conor O’Neil 2-5. I.C. Liberty: Max Tafolla 15-24, Darius Willis-Newell 10-56, James McKinney Jr. 13-6, Michael Miller 1-9
PASSING - I.C. West: Marcus Morgan 18-27-1-201. I.C. Liberty: none.
RECEIVING - I.C. West: Grahm Goering 5-93, Damarion Williams 3-25, Trey King 5-56, Boaz Abramoff 1-2, Mikey Crutcher 4-25. I.C. Liberty: None.