CEDAR RAPIDS — Tested last week. Titanic this week.
Cedar Falls looked every bit the second-ranked team in Class 4A in a 28-0 win over Cedar Rapids Jefferson Thursday night at Kingston Stadium.
The Tigers (6-0) needed a goal-line stand in the final minute to overcome Dubuque Hempstead in their District 3 opener. Not many dramatics here, as CF physically dominated and rolled.
“We needed to be sharper, and we were at times tonight,” said Cedar Falls Coach Brad Remmert. “Last week, we learned you have to play every play. We got a hustle play at the end to beat Hempstead, and I think our kids learned a lot from that this week.”
Running back Ryan Ostrich, as hard a runner as you’ll see, had 192 punishing yards on 32 carries for Cedar Falls. That included touchdown runs of 1 yard in the second quarter and 9 yards in the fourth.
He came into this game with 336 yards in his team’s previous five games, splitting carries with Bo Grosse. But Grosse is banged up, which made Ostrich the man.
“Our offensive line knew who to block and where to be,” Ostrich said. “They get that done, and we move the ball.”
Quarterback Cael Loecher also scored for the Tigers on a 1-yard sneak and threw a TD pass of 19 yards to Treyton Campbell. Cedar Falls enjoyed an enormous time-of-possession advantage, essentially playing keep away from Jefferson (3-3, 1-1) with long drive after long drive.
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Midway through the fourth quarter, Ostrich had his 32 carries, while Jefferson had run 28 plays as a team. The first half ended with a 21-0 score, with Cedar Falls having run 48 plays to Jeff’s 14.
The Tigers had the ball 17 minutes and 16 seconds to the J-Hawks’ 6:44. The yardage in the game finished 367-133 in favor of CF, with Jefferson never getting any closer than the Tigers 39.
“We saw a lot of 21 (personnel) tonight. One tight end and two backs, and that’s not what they had put on film much,” said Jefferson Coach Chris Buesing. “I didn’t expect that, but you never know. I was just disappointed with the way we responded. It’s not complicated, we have defended it well before. We didn’t tonight. Then our first couple offensive series, we didn’t give our defense a break.”
Honestly, the final score could have been much worse. Cedar Falls had its opening drive of the game end on downs at the Jefferson 11, missed a short field goal early in the second quarter and had a third-quarter drive thwarted on an end-zone interception by Jeff’s Gabriel Coyle.
The Tigers didn’t punt until there was 35 seconds left in the game.
The J-Hawks were a beaten-up bunch and not just on the scoreboard. Leading rusher Ezeki Leggins left the game after an apparent neck injury in the first half, quarterback Jacob Coyle missed some plays with an injury and time had to be called at various points for at least another handful of Jefferson players who were hurt and down on the field.
“It was a comedy of errors on our part, and they played really well,” Buesing said. “They played sound football. Didn’t turn the ball over, had good special teams, didn’t have a lot of penalties. I came in after the game and told our kids we have to do those things to win.”
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