Prep Football

4A No. 7 Iowa City West football jumps on Southeast Polk, 31-17

Sophomore Marcus Morgan debuts at quarterback for victorious Trojans (2-1)

IOWA CITY — Faced with a 4th-and-1 at his own 32-yard-line and momentum in the hands of the opponent, Garrett Hartwig made the call of the game.

Clinging to a 14-10 lead on the first possession of the second half, the fourth-year Iowa City West football coach looked at senior Jason Strunk and said, “Get it.”

On the field as protection for the West punter, Strunk fielded the snap and charged upfield for 44 yards. Seven plays later, 1-yard TD by Landon Green gave the Class 4A seventh-ranked Trojans a double-digit lead it never relinquished in a 31-17 victory over Southeast Polk Friday night at Trojan Field.

“We practiced it in practice and we just executed,” Strunk said. “It was extremely important. We needed that momentum to get the game going, put it away and we did it. That’s what we needed.”

After a narrow three-point loss last week at No. 4 Bettendorf in which West scored just seven points, sophomore Marcus Morgan started his first varsity game at quarterback and played well. His 40-yard touchdown strike to senior Justin Thomas gave the Trojans a 7-0 lead with 4:43 left in the first quarter. Morgan completed 16 passes in 27 attempts for 204 yards without an interception.

“At the beginning that first touchdown just sort of broke the ice,” Morgan said. “I felt a lot more comfortable after that.”

West (2-1) pushed the lead to 14-0 in the second quarter when junior Will Hoeft found the end zone from a yard away. Southeast Polk (0-2) rallied for 10 points in the final six minutes of the first half, highlighted by a 71-yard TD run by junior tailback Gavin Williams, who already holds college scholarship offers from Iowa, Iowa State, Michigan and Nebraska.

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Aside from two long TDs, the West defense held the Rams in check for much of the game and forced three turnovers, none bigger than a leaping interception of a screen pass by Strunk that he returned 7 yards for a TD and a 28-10 lead with 1:19 left in the third quarter.

“Defense is playing pretty well, pretty smooth,” Strunk said. “We’ve just got to keep working hard and getting better every day.”

Junior Tate Crane led the Trojans in receiving with six catches for 65 yards, while senior tailback X Lubuelo added 39 rushing yards.

Williams finished with 87 rushing yards, while quarterback Josiah Cole ran for 114, which included a 76-yard TD for Southeast Polk (0-3). All three Rams losses are to 4A football powers in top-ranked West Des Moines Valley, Waukee and now West.

The Trojans will visit Dubuque Senior next Friday before opening district play Sep. 21 at home against another rugged opponent in Pleasant Valley.

“It feels good to get back in the win column,” Hartwig said. “That’s the hardest thing about football, waiting a week to play again. These boys played hard.”

AT TROJAN FIELD

Class 4A No. 7 Iowa City West 31, Southeast Polk 17

Southeast Polk 0 10 7 0—17

Iowa City West 7 7 14 3—31

ICW — Justin Thomas 40 pass from Marcus Morgan (Josh Jasek kick)

ICW — Will Hoeft 1 run (Josh Jasek kick)

SEP — Gavin Williams 71 run (Logan Sunvold kick)

SEP — FG Logan Sunvold 43

ICW — Landon Green 1 run (Josh Jasek kick)

ICW — Jason Strunk 7 interception return (Josh Jasek kick)

ICW — Will Hoeft 1 run (Josh Jasek kick)

SEP — Josiah Cole 76 run (Logan Sunvold kick)

ICW — FG Josh Jasek 40

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RUSHING — Southeast Polk: Gavin Williams 16-87, Josiah Cole 11-114, James Simon 1-6, Jackson Schneider 2-1, Isaiah Wagner 1-1; I.C. West: Tate Crane 1-0, Marshall Blatz 1-(-2), Marcus Morgan 6-12, Will Hoeft 2-3, X Lubuelo 13-39, Landon Green 3-0, Jason Strunk 1-44, Peter Breitbach 6-14, Jalen Gaudet 1-1.

PASSING — Southeast Polk: Josiah Cole 14-28-2-92; I.C. West: Marcus Morgan 16-27-0-204.

RECEIVING — Southeast Polk: Dylan Travis 4-31, Jackson Schneider 5-35, Jay Combs 3-19, Jace Christenson 1-8, Justin Brindley 1-(-1); I.C. West: Jalen Gaudet 2-30, Tate Crane 6-65, Justin Thomas 3-59, Noah Aanestad 3-22, Will Hoeft 2-28.

l Comments: douglas.miles@thegazette.com

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