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Trojans roll Little Hawks 30-6 in annual battle

Yeshuwa Hicks spent some time hauling the ball Friday, Sept. 19, at home against City High in the annual Battle of The Boot. Here, Hicks tries to keep City’s Charles Johnson at bay.

By Chris Umscheid
North Liberty Leader
IOWA CITY– They got it back.
Last year, cross-town rival City High won the traveling trophy known as “The Boot” with a 14-7 win at City. The loss was the first of only two in what became a 9-2 season for the Trojans.
This year, the West High crew already had two losses (27-6 against West Des Moines Valley and 28-0 to Cedar Rapids Washington) in the books ahead of facing the Little Hawks in a bid for bragging rights and the coveted Boot. On the other side of the ball was a Little Hawk crew looking for its first win of the 2014 season.
With a dominating performance in the first half, and a withering defensive effort in the second, the Trojans earned the right to proudly display the golden boot with a 30-6 win Friday, Sept. 19 on the home turf.
“It feels great,” coach Garret Hartwig said of the win. “It’s a testament to just how hard we continue to work and play.” The coach said the team had worked on making a strong start. “We haven’t had very good starts, and it’s about getting off to better starts,” he said.
The lessons appeared to have been learned as West took the opening kick-off and in two fast plays was in striking distance of the Little Hawks’ goal. The team would settle for a field goal, however, and a 3-0 lead with 9:43 left in the first quarter.
West’s second drive culminated in a pass from Aaron Bleil to Oliver Martin, who made a quick dash down the City sideline and into the end zone to score. Connor Gordon sent the ball through the uprights for a 10-0 lead with 4:15 remaining in the period.
The Trojans struck again as Bleil hit Kevin Dowell for touchdown late in the quarter. Again Gordon’s kick was true and the period ended with West High ahead 17-0.
Dowell made a short run with 7:48 left in the half to score, and with Gordon’s good kick the Trojans took a comfortable 24-0 lead.
That comfort would be shaken a little as the Little Hawks regrouped and assaulted the Trojans’ territory, driving ever closer to the goal line.
However, the West High defense held and the Hawks found themselves having to settle for a field goal, which veered left and ended the half with City High still scoreless.
Hartwig spoke about the first-half effort saying, “tonight we executed like we needed to, and the guys just played hard, they were ready to go and they didn’t let anything phase them. And I’m proud of them.”
The second half showed a momentum shift with the Little Hawks avoiding a shutout with a touchdown late in the third quarter. A two-point conversion attempt failed, putting the score at 24-6. “City High is a good program. They’re never gonna quit, they’re never gonna stop,” Hartwig said. “We knew it was gonna be a 48-minute battle.”
Tyler Eads fired the final shot in the battle for West with 6:30 remaining as he ran around the right side for a touchdown making it 30-6.
With a tough schedule in Class 4A District 7 (City High is in District 6),s Hartwig said the team focuses less on who they’re playing and more on how they’ll play on a given night. “If we take care of ourselves, the final outcome will be what we want it to be. Tonight worked out. We just look at the next play, we don’t look at the score.”
The Trojans take their show on the road Thursday, Sept. 25, with a trip to Davenport Central before returning home on Friday, Oct. 3, to take on Bettendorf.