IOWA CITY– “We got our butts kicked.”
That was Coach Brian Sauser’s assessment of Friday night’s match-up between his West High Trojans and Cedar Rapids Washington at home. The Warriors pounded on the Trojans for a 66-37 win on senior night.
The Warriors began their first drive on West’s 47-yard line. Two first downs later, Washington was on the 7-yard line. The Trojan defense stopped them three times, but on fourth and two to go, the Warriors scored. Coupled with a good PAT, the visitors were up 7-0.
Rogers answered three plays later as he dived into the end zone to score on a keeper. Troester’s PAT flew straight and true to tie the game with 4:13 left in the first quarter.
The Warriors wasted no time scoring on their next possession, with a 53-yard run. Again the PAT was good, and Wash was up 14-7.
Washington scored three more times in a row with a 10-yard run, a field goal, and a 28-yard return following an interception. As a result, West was down 31-7 with 4:52 left in the first half. A Trojan fumble recovered by the Warriors, and a costly penalty added to West’s woes in the second quarter. Another setback came as Rogers fired a high flyer to Dondre Alexander in the end zone. As Alexander went up, the ball smacked off of his hands for an incomplete pass on fourth down.
Wash took the ball over, got a first down on a measurement, and followed with three consecutive incomplete passes before punting the ball away. The kick went out of bounds, and West started on its own 43-yard-line with 10 seconds left in the half. Rogers threw again to Jeremy Morgan, who caught the pass in the end zone as time ran out. A two-point play failed and the teams headed off the field with Wash up, 31-13.
The third stanza found West forcing its guests to go three and out on the opening possession. West took the kick and started the half at its own 33-yard line. A personal foul on the Warriors moved West to the 48, and a Rogers keeper got them to Wash’s 25 where the drive stalled. Troester came in for a field goal attempt, nailed it, and West was down 31-16.
Wash scored again with 3:39 left in the quarter to make it 38-16. Rogers kept the ball and scampered one yard to score in the final minute. A two-point conversion scored and the Trojans were only down by two touchdowns at 38-24.
The final 12 minutes opened with the Warriors in possession, and just over two minutes into the period, the Warriors struck again to go up 45-24. West took the kickoff but the first play of the drive ended in disaster as a Rogers-to-Alexander pass was intercepted. Two minutes later, Washington was in the end zone again and up 52-24 with 7:41 left in the game.
For a moment, it looked like the Trojans were going to put another catch-up touchdown on the board as Rogers hit Williams to score. But, another costly penalty bit the Trojans and the badly needed goal was erased. On the re-do, Rogers hit Morgan for another touchdown, one that wasn’t called back. But, with 4:28 left to go, the guys in green were still down, 52-31.
West caught a break after kicking off to Wash as the Warriors fumbled, and the Trojans recovered and began a drive capped off by Rogers scoring on a keeper. Troester’s kick failed however, making it a 52-37 ballgame with four minutes remaining.
The Warriors may have been looking for revenge from last year’s loss at Kingston Stadium in Cedar Rapids and they continued to pound away at the Trojans. With 3:09 to go the Warriors scored on a long run down their sideline. The good PAT made it 59-37. With 2:19 to go, The Warriors found themselves starting first and goal on West’s 9-yard-line. The Trojans held them twice, but the final insult came on third and five with a 5-yard run to score.
The loss dropped West to 6-2 overall, but they maintained their perfect 5-0 in the MVC Valley Division. Wash improved to 5-3 overall and 2-3 in the MVC Mississippi Division with the upset win. West faces Cedar Falls (8-0 overall, 5-0 MVC) for the Valley Division title Friday, Oct. 21, in the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls to end the regular season.