IOWA CITY — The first step has been completed.
No. 2 Iowa City West secured its return to the Class 4A playoffs for a seventh straight year with an impressive 42-7 win over Linn-Mar Friday night at Trojan Field on a record-setting night for senior quarterback Evan Flitz.
The Trojan standout equaled a school single-game record of five touchdown passes. He finished the night completing 18 of 20 passes for 234 yards. He added a 55-yard scoring run on the first series of the second half.
Coach Garrett Hartwig’s team lost to four-time defending state champion West Des Moines Dowling in last year’s final and looked like a team hungry for a long playoff run. Flitz was 16 of 18 in the first half. One pass was dropped and the other was a receiver not able to keep his feet in while making the catch.
Three of Flitz’s scoring passes went to senior Traevis Buchanan in the first half.
The Lions moved the ball well early in the game, but a Ben Delagardelle fumble after he had picked up a first down inside the West 30 was recovered by Dillon Doyle.
On the next play, Flitz hit speedster Austin West in the flat and West went untouched 73 yards to make it 14-0.
That proved to be a backbreaker. Flitz hit on three more scoring passes before the halftime break, the final one with just 14 seconds remaining on a 17-yard fade pass to Jalen Gaudet.
After Flitz’s TD run to open the second half, Hartwig emptied his bench on Senior Night.
West (8-0, 3-0 District 8) can secure an outright district championship by winning next Friday on the road against 0-8 Ottumwa.
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The Lions (1-7, 1-3) scored late on a 16-yard TD pass from reserve quarterback Carter Arcea to Zach Gerlach.