Prep Football

Iowa high school football rewind: Washington stuns Bettendorf

Demons grab 3 interceptions in 19-10 victory

Washington players celebrate a touchdown in the first quarter against Solon, Oct. 4, 2019. (The Gazette)
Washington players celebrate a touchdown in the first quarter against Solon, Oct. 4, 2019. (The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — It had its original first-week opponent cancel.

You couldn’t blame Marion for doing so. The derecho that crushed the Metro area almost three weeks ago left the Indians without a home stadium and a week less of practice time.

So when that game went bye bye, Washington’s football team had two choices: try to find another opponent or go with a maximum six possible regular-season games instead of seven. The Demons chose the former, even though that opponent was Class 4A traditional power Bettendorf.

Awful decision, right? Yeah, for Bettendorf.

Three timely interceptions, including a pick-6 from Trashaun Willis with under four minutes to go, allowed Washington to post a 19-10 win, without question the most eye-opening score of Week 1. The Gazette had Bettendorf, a playoff semifinalist last season, ranked eighth in 4A.

Washington is a 3A school.

“Marion calls and cancels because of the derecho and that they aren’t going to be ready to play,” Washington Coach James Harris said. “I was discussing it with our AD, Brent Van Weelden, and we were sending out feelers. There weren’t very many options out there. Finally it was ‘Well, Bettendorf’s looking for a game.’ Clearly, Bettendorf is an elite 4A-cultured team. At the same time, obviously, we wanted to play.

“I feel like something we’ve kind of lacked in the past is our early-season games haven’t been measuring-stick games for us, which maybe has cost us to come up short against some of the better teams we face in the middle of the season.”

Spencer Sotelo’s interception late in the third quarter set up a Wilx Witthoft touchdown run that put Washington in front for good, 12-10. Bettendorf scored the game’s first 10 points but couldn’t overcome turnovers.

After Washington went ahead, Bettendorf drove the field but threw another pick in the end zone. Willis’ interception return was 35 yards.

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As inspirational a story as you’ll see, Willis was born without the bottom portion of his left arm but plays athletics at a high level. He also is the team’s quarterback.

“I’ve told people before ‘He’s got a disability, but he’s not handicapped,’” Harris said. “He can do a lot more than the rest of us can with one hand than we can with two. He can tie a fishing line with one hand, can do all kinds of stuff. He’s just incredible, and it’s never excuses with him. I think that permeates through the rest of the guys.”

Washington finished with just 99 yards of total offense, but its defense made up for that and then some. Quite a statement from a team that made the 3A playoffs last season but lost dynamic all-state QB Luke Turner to graduation

“It was obviously bleak. We were down 10-0,” Harris said. “The chips were down, and our guys hung together ... Our guys were cramping up left and right. We were down to our second and third-string guys at times. But they just kept hammering. Pretty awesome.”

South Tama ends losing streak

South Tama ended a 24-game losing streak Friday night with a 55-6 victory over Saydel at home.

The Trojans were 0-9 in both 2019 and 2018. They lost their last six games of the the 2017 season.

South Tama’s previous win was against Charles City, 29-20, on Sept. 8, 2017.

Head coach Nate Doran took over for Jay Hoskey in 2016, after Hoskey retired. Hoskey is an assistant coach for South Tama.

Doran is the rare art teacher/football coach. He heads South Tama’s visual arts department at the high school and middle school.

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A loss that’s really a win

Tri-County dropped its season opener Friday night, 44-8, to Winfield-Mount Union. That the Trojans played is the big story.

Tri-County did not field a varsity football team last season because of low numbers. This year’s team has 16 members, including five seniors.

Sophomore quarterback Eli Molyneux accounted for Tri-County’s points with a touchdown pass to Dylan Icenbice. Icenbice added the two-point conversion.

Tri-County is scheduled to play this week at home against Colo-Nesco.

Voss is the boss

West Delaware has a very large offensive line, and Jared Voss has been among those taking advantage.

The Hawks senior quarterback ran for 91 yards and three touchdowns in his team’s 35-0 win over Dubuque Wahlert. Voss leads the state with eight TDs in two games: six rushing and two passing.

His ability to run WD’s read-option attack combines with three starters on the offensive line that weigh at or near 300 pounds, giving West Delaware a dynamic offense that has scored 101 points in two games.

On the flip side, the Hawks’ defense has yet to give up a point. West Delaware is scheduled to play this week at Clinton.

Week 1 wonders

• Oelwein’s Gage Voshell rushed 34 times for 258 yards and a touchdown in his team’s 30-16 win over Union Community. The Huskies ran for 372 yards in the game, getting TDs from four different players.

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• Marcus Beatty was a busy, busy dude for Independence, rushing 30 times for 248 yards and three TDs in his team’s 34-7 win over Center Point-Urbana. The junior had all but five of his team’s rushing attempts and actually out-rushed it. He had 248 yards, Indee 247 as a team.

• Iowa Hawkeyes recruit Cooper DeJean got off to a flying start to the season, rushing for three touchdowns and throwing for three more in Class 1A No. 1 Ida Grove OABCIG’s 42-0 win over Ridge View. DeJean, whose college position is undetermined, had 379 yards passing, completing 19 of 31, though he did throw two interceptions. Receiver Trust Wells had 10 catches for 133 yards.

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

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