IOWA CITY– The West High Trojans celebrated Homecoming and Senior Night with a 71-14 vanquishing of the Cedar Rapids Jefferson J-Hawks. The win handed the Trojans the Mississippi Division Title and kept the team a perfect 8-0 (overall) and 5-0 (MVC) in the eighth week of the regular season.
The J-Hawks stunned the Trojans though, scoring in the opening minutes of the first quarter after intercepting a Nate Boland pass and setting up a quick drive to the end zone. Down 7-0, Ezra Reiners scored on a 1-yard run, backed up with a Jeremy Morgan extra point kick to tie the game. Morgan intercepted a Jefferson pass and made it to the J-Hawks’ 2-yard line. Sam McLeran hauled it in from there for the lead. Morgan again nailed the kick and West had the 14-7 lead.
The Trojans picked up a boost when Reid Bonner took a punt return 64 yards to score in the closing minutes of the quarter. McLeran ran the ball in on a 2-point conversion to give West a more comfortable 22-7 lead going into the second quarter.
Reiners struck again with 1:04 left in the half on a 28-yard run, and again Morgan put up the extra point for a 29-7 lead. However, the J-Hawks again surprised the lackluster Trojans with a 27-yard touchdown pass with 14 seconds left to play. A good kick made it 29-14 at the half.
During the break, as the 300-member strong West High Marching Band performed selections from “Rock of Ages,” the Trojans underwent a rapid overhaul in the locker room.
Whatever was said must have worked as a rejuvenated and more focused Trojan squad took the field for the second half, a half they owned without any doubt.
Dondre Alexander took a 28-yard pass from quarterback Nate Boland to score. Shortly after, the Trojans recovered a fumble setting up a drive that ended with Reiners’ 2-yard run to score his third touchdown of the night. West was up 43-14.
The carnage continued as Morgan took a 28-yard pass from Boland in to score. West had a 36-point lead and a continuous clock on their side. Yet another fumble recovery set up West with good field position, and McLeran dived across the goal line on a one-yard scramble to score. Jacob Frisbie stepped in for the extra point and nailed it for a 57-14 lead.
Xavier May took over as quarterback for Boland, part of a wholesale substitution by coach Brian Sauser. May kept the ball for an 8-yard run to score for a 63-14 lead. Frisbie’s kick made it 64.
With five seconds left on the clock, the Trojans scored again as Alex Bradshaw scampered for one yard and the 10th touchdown of the night for West. Frisbie booted the ball one more time and the Trojans had the win.
West closes out the regular season on the road Friday, Oct. 19, at Waterloo East (5-3 overall, 3-2 conference). The Trojans are the only unbeaten team in the division. On the Valley side, only Cedar Rapids Xavier is perfect at 8-0.