Prep Football

Cedar Rapids Prairie rolls past Linn-Mar, 42-0

CEDAR RAPIDS — They thought they had a replacement game lined up last week.

The original opponent for the Cedar Rapids Prairie Hawks was Iowa City High, but that didn’t happen, as the three Iowa City public schools have had pauses on their seasons that will end this week.

So Prairie Activities Director Rocky Bennett went searching for someone, anyone in the same predicament as his school and thought he had an agreement with Dallas Center-Grimes to fill the schedule void. But Class 3A’s top-ranked team decided kind of at the last second, according to Prairie Coach Mark Bliss, not to play the Hawks.

Thus, Prairie didn’t play.

“It was weird,” linebacker Jackson Decker said Saturday afternoon, after his team returned to action with an impressive 42-0 win over Linn-Mar at John Wall Field. “We didn’t take practice super hard last week, and we were able to heal. We got guys back we needed to be healthy. But, overall, it was a weird sensation not to be playing on a Friday night in the fall.”

“We did a very good job today. I was very impressed with their effort. Couldn’t be happier,” Bliss said. “Coming off a bye week, you didn’t know how the kids would react. But the kids played very well, and hopefully this is something to continue to build on.”

Prairie (2-2) lost its first game this season by a point in overtime and its second by three points. It rebounded two weeks ago with a big win over a ranked Cedar Falls club and dominated here.

Linn-Mar (0-3) was coming off a two-week COVID-19 quarantine, hadn’t played since Sept. 4 and just returned to practice Wednesday. Prairie agreed to give the Lions an extra day to practice, which is why its homecoming game was moved from Friday night to Saturday afternoon.

Nick Pearson had three first-half touchdowns and rushed for 116 yards for the Hawks. Quarterback Dionte Fliss hit Elijah Ward with a 22-yard TD pass and Ceondae Adams recovered a blocked punt by Ward in the end zone as Prairie rolled to a 35-0 halftime lead, the continuous clock being in play the entire second half.

Nick Fetters had the lone second-half points with a 36-yard touchdown run.

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“I was one of the guys that needed to heal up, had a sprain on top of my foot, so I took some time off practice,” Pearson said. “I was actually a little questionable to play today. But I took a lot of ibuprofen and stretching and played through it.”

Linn-Mar was held to just 128 total yards, just 22 on the ground.

“We were well prepared with the bye week,” said Decker, who got his team early momentum with an interception on Linn-Mar’s first possession. “We had a good week of practice, everyone was focused and keyed in. Luckily everyone did their job like we were supposed to, and we were able to make plays in the end. That’s what helped us win the game.”

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

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