MANCHESTER — They’re pod champs, which is kind of a weird title in a weird prep football season.
They’re in the round of 16 playoff wise. They got a banner from the Iowa High School Athletic Association for that.
And now the West Delaware Hawks finally get to play someone different after rotating the same two opponents for the last month. Maybe that was the biggest thing to come out of Friday night.
“I know, right?” laughed Coach Doug Winkowitsch, after his ninth-ranked team beat Western Dubuque, 55-20, in a Class 3A second-rounder at Brown Field. “The one thing I was a little disappointed in was they put us right back in our district. We’ve had two opponents in four weeks.”
West Delaware (9-1) ended the regular season with a win over Waterloo East, then turned right back around and played East again in the first round of the playoffs. The Hawks’ penultimate regular-season game was against Western Dubuque, and they got matched up again here.
Kind of weird. But West Delaware took care of business, getting 227 yards rushing and five touchdowns from quarterback Jared Voss, pulling away from a one-score game at halftime with the final 27 second-half points.
“We knew it was a close game,” Voss said. “We just said at halftime it was 0-0, and we had to come out swinging like we did. It was awesome.”
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“We had things, and we just weren’t executing them,” Winkowitsch said. “We switched up our formation a little bit, put one more guy at the point of attack and said we just had to get after them up front. We did a better job getting off the ball in the second half.”
West Delaware also got a pair of TDs from running back Wyatt Voelker. The Hawks pounded Western Dubuque (5-4) to the tune of 457 yards on the ground on 60 attempts.
It’s one big offensive line guys like Voss and Voelker get to run behind, with three 300-pounders.
“Just go out and play West Delaware football,” lineman Mitch Krogmann said, when asked about the halftime message. “Keep doing what we do well. Just stick to it.”
Quarterback Garrett Baumhover had 210 yards passing for Western Dubuque, last year’s 3A state champion. Tommy DeSollar accounted for 148 of those yards on nine catches, including a 58-yard touchdown in the first quarter.
Jacob Butcher had a pair of TD runs for the Bobcats, who beat a 4A third-round qualifier in Indianola this season and whose losses were to opponents that went into Friday night with a combined record of 21-2.
“Here’s the thing,” Coach Justin Penner said. “(Our seniors) had to answer very difficult questions about what did they learn from last year’s seniors. To be honest with you, I was very defensive about this group of guys because they had to answer such questions. I had a chip on my shoulder for them because I wanted them to show they were every bit as competitive.”
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