Prep Football

Linn-Mar puts it all together in win over Iowa City High

Alex Hess rushes for 226 yards in 49-14 home victory

MARION — The Linn-Mar football team might look back at the 2018 season and wonder what might have been.

Coach Paul James’ Lions lost a pair of 1-point decisions in non-district play and were sitting at 1-5 entering last week’s game at Muscatine. In the rain against the Muskies, Linn-Mar found its running game en route to a 28-10 win.

That running game, namely the fleet feet of Alex Hess, followed them home to Linn-Mar Stadium for Friday night’s game with Iowa City High.

Hess again topped 200 yards, carrying 18 times for 226 yards and three touchdowns as the Lions broke away late for a convincing 49-14 win on chilly Senior Night.

Linn-Mar (3-5, 2-2 in Class 4A District 4) led just 21-14 midway through the third quarter before pulling away with four touchdowns in the final 15 minutes of play.

“It would be great to go back and replay some things, but you just can’t do that,” James said. “That’s the nature of the game. I’m just proud of the way they have responded.

“Being 1-5 and knowing you are not going to the playoffs, the situation is all in your hands,” he continued. “It’s just been awesome to see them come together and play like this.”

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Hess has put up big numbers the last two weeks and James pointed to the improved play of the offensive line.

“The big difference the last two games is that we have been staying on blocks,” James said. “We have been getting into people and blocking until the play is over and we are communicating better and it has shown.”

Hess opened the scoring on 1-yard run after Bridger Aucutt’s interception put Linn-Mar in position. Marcus Orr followed with a 26-yard run early in the second quarter and the Lions looked to be on their way.

However, Coach Dan Sabers’ Little Hawks had other ideas. JayDaVonyae Hickman cashed in on a 4-yard run. The Lions responded before half on a 13-yard pass from Orr to Will Zahradnik to lead 21-7 at intermission.

City High (2-6, 0-4) went on a long drive in the third quarter and cut the lead to 21-14 on a Raphael Hamilton 1-yard run with 2:56 remaining in the third quarter.

From then on, it was all Lions. Orr hung tough against a blitz and hit Coy Sarsfield over the middle for a 45-yard score. The Lions defense rose up and stopped the Little Hawks on downs. The next play saw Hess take a delayed handoff and scamper into the end zone from 45 yards out. He added a 7-yard run in the fourth quarter.

“On (the 45-yard score), I just moved over and their linebackers just dropped in coverage,” he said. “I was able to get to the outside and get to the end zone.”

Reserve Tanner Frank scored the last Linn-Mar TD on a 54-yard run with just over a minute to play.

Hickman led City High with 119 yards on 30 carries.

Hess, one of the seniors honored Friday, said he wishes there was more than one game left.

“I just love these guys,” he said. “I don’t care what the record says, we have kept playing hard and never quitting. I know we will give another good effort next week.”

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Linn-Mar closes next week at Pleasant Valley. City High has the Battle for the Boot at No. 7 Iowa City West.

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We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

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