CEDAR RAPIDS — Perhaps this is an oversimplification, perhaps it’s not. If Cedar Rapids Prairie wants to be talked about with the big boys of Class 4A, it’s going to have to improve.
Waukee, already one of those 4A big boys, plucked the Class 4A No. 6 Hawks, 33-6, Friday night at John Wall Field. Sometimes the score doesn’t really indicate play in a game, but this time it pretty much did.
“We just couldn’t get out of our way at times tonight,” said Prairie Coach Mark Bliss. “Just one of those things. Too many turnovers, poor field position and poor execution at times. Probably the biggest thing was we struggled at the line of scrimmage sometimes. They did a good job of getting hands on, controlled the trenches tonight.”
Running back Sam Yeaway rushed for 224 yards and two touchdowns, and quarterback Mitch Randall ran for a score and threw for two more for a Waukee team that lost to five-time defending 4A champ West Des Moines Dowling in Week 1 before rebounding with a win last week over Southeast Polk.
The Warriors racked up 471 yards of offense, as dual-threat QB Randall proved too much for Prairie (2-1) to handle. Both of his TD throws were to Zach Eaton.
Defensively, Waukee stacked the box against Prairie’s single-wing offense, not exactly stopping Hawks star running back Keegan Simmons but slowing him down. Simmons still had 155 yards rushing but 55 of those came on a pair of runs off fake punts.
“I thought our defense played amazing. Nothing better,” said Yeaway, who played defensive back as well as running back. “It all starts with the defensive side, giving momentum to the offense. We knew we had to control the line of scrimmage. Never seen an offense like that. If we played our keys right, they’ve never seen a defense like ours. We knew if we played things right, we would come out (on top).”
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Eaton’s 28-yard TD catch gave Waukee a 7-0 lead after a quarter, with a Simmons 7-yard scoring run making it 7-6 early in the second. The extra-point attempt missed.
Eaton again hauled in a touchdown pass, this time from 12 yards, to give Waukee a 13-6 halftime lead. A good return of the kickoff by Yeaway gave the Warriors the ball in Prairie territory to begin the second half, with the senior eventually scoring from 3 yards out.
Simmons’ 43-yard run off a fake punt moved Prairie into Waukee territory on the ensuing possession, but he fumbled inside the Warriors 10 later in the drive, one of two Hawks turnovers in the game. Waukee then began gouging the Prairie defense on the ground, with Yeaway breaking loose for a 40-yard TD run that made it 26-6 heading to the fourth.
“I have the utmost confidence in our kids,” said Bliss, pointing out a pair of injuries that occurred in the game that may have played a factor. “With a short week coming up and having to play (Cedar Rapids) Kennedy on Thursday, it doesn’t get easier. We’ve got a lot of work to do between now and then, and we’ve got to heal.”
Prairie running back Tariq Amir was ejected from the game in the second half for throwing a punch at a Waukee player and will miss Thursday’s game against Kennedy as a result.
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