Prep Football

Offensive line paves way for West Delaware's potent attack

Senior QB Jared Voss ranks among state leaders in yardage and touchdowns, entering quarterfinal with No. 8 North Scott

West Delaware's Wyatt Voelker charges through a gap for a touchdown in the second quarter at a high school football game
West Delaware’s Wyatt Voelker charges through a gap for a touchdown in the second quarter at a high school football game with Western Dubuque at West Delaware High School in Manchester on Friday, Oct. 2, 2020. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
/

MANCHESTER — West Delaware quarterback Jared Voss has produced some flashy numbers this season.

The Hawks senior signal caller has rushed for 1,265 yards and 28 touchdowns. He has also added 1,102 yards through the air with 10 more scores. Backfield mate Wyatt Voelker has produced 1,131 yards and 15 TDs for an offense that averages nearly 50 points per game.

Even Voss is quick to credit the body movers and lane makers up front. You know, the ones showing most of the guts without the glory.

“They give Wyatt and me really good holes to run through and we’re really grateful that we get to be behind them,” Voss said. “Even when we break through, our wide receivers Kyle Kelley, Logan Woellert and Kyle Cole have their guys pinned. They make it easy for us.”

Ninth-ranked West Delaware cruised by most opponents all season, scoring nearly 550 points before Friday’s Class 3A state quarterfinal football game against No. 8 North Scott at Eldridge. The Hawks lead the entire state with 3,523 rushing and 5,198 all-purpose yards.

“We have some very talented skill guys, but the kids up front on both sides of the ball here lately have certainly been the difference,” West Delaware Coach Doug Winkowitsch said. “They are controlling the line of scrimmage.”

The veteran offensive line includes four seniors. They vary from quick and athletic to mountain-like bulldozers that could tip the field toward guard Carson Petlon’s and tackle Mitch Krogmann’s 6-foot-6, 300-pound frames on the right side.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

Left tackle Kieran Monaghan and left tackle Cody Monaghan double as ends, helping lead the defensive front with Christian Nunley. The shot caller for the unit is center Elias Tibbott, who comes in at 5-10 and 191. He’s actually listed smaller than both Voss and Voelker.

“The guy that runs the show in the middle is Elias,” Winkowitsch said. “He makes our offensive line calls for us. He tends to be the brains of the operation.”

Chemistry is a key trait for successful lines. Tibbott said the tight-knit group enjoys spending time together away from football. They come together for a single cause when they don pads.

“Every single one of us is friends on and off the field,” Tibbott said. “We’ll see each other every day outside of practice and we like to keep it real with each other and still be friends. We keep it light, be fun guys and have fun playing the game that we love.”

Voss said he seen the transition from funny to fierce when they snap on chin straps and step between the lines.

“It’s really funny to see the change between them getting after it and the side we see in practice and stuff,” Voss said. “They are really good competitors.”

Something they learned when they started playing together in middle school. Now, they’re helping the Hawks amass more than 320 rushing yards per game and almost 7.2 yards a carry.

The feat of two 1,000-yard rushers isn’t lost on them either.

“We take some pride in it,” Tibbott said. “We get a lot of love from Jared and Wyatt, and Kyle Cole making plays downfield. We know they’re weapons. We just try to do what we have to do to let those guys have some fun, too.”

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

Voss has been a major factor in West Delaware’s attack. He leads 3A with 38 TDs. His 28 rushing scores are good for second. He is fourth in 3A with 2,367 offensive yards.

The biggest improvement from last year might be mentally and his ability to forgive his own mistakes.

“He’s a perfectionist,” Winkowitsch said. “He’s grown up a lot in the sense of understanding how to manage the game much better than a year ago. He’s having a lot of fun. He’s playing loose and relaxed and really enjoying it. He’s letting the game happen.

“He’s a great leader. He’s extremely supportive and energetic with the guys. He’s really managed stuff for us really well, offensively.”

Voss and Voelker, both state medalist wrestlers, complement each other well. Voss runs well on the edge. Voelker, at 6-0 and 209, is a punishing runner between the tackles. Winkowitsch compared them to a traditional tailback at QB and an old-school fullback.

“Wyatt kind of sets up everything,” said Winkowitsch, noting that North Scott poses the toughest defense the Hawks have faced all season. “It’s a 1-2 punch inside there. When you have a dynamic, dual-threat quarterback that certainly helps. You look at all the teams that we have faced that have been successful at the end. They all have that quarterback that can run and throw it. We think we have a pretty good one.”

The Hawks defense has been just as impressive. They have allowed just 8.8 points per game with 98 tackles for loss and 22 sacks. Both are second-best in 3A.

Winkowitsch said the secondary has made big strides. West Delaware has held opponents to 78 rushing yards a game and just 184 total. The defense has assisted the offense, giving it extra possessions and short fields.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

“Honestly, I’ve been more impressed with our defense and the way they’ve been playing,” said Voss, who praised the special teams contributions as well. “They’ve been stopping everybody and getting the ball back in the offense’s hands.

“At Washington, I actually got a little gassed because our defense was getting the offense on the field so much. You like to see that.”

West Delaware is looking for its first semifinal appearance since 2015. Many of the current players attended as fans and have had their sights set on that feat.

“It would be amazing,” Tibbott said. “I think we all remember being in the UNI-Dome watching them. Being in their shoes would mean a lot to us. All the hard work would have paid off for us.”

The line will need to lead the way.

Comments: (319) 368-8679; kj.pilcher@thegazette.com

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.