West Marshall wallops CR Jefferson after late schedule change
STATE CENTER — This game wasn’t even supposed to be taking place.
The plan was originally for the West Marshall Trojans (4-1) to host Forest City Friday night in State Center. Unfortunately, though, the plans had to change and Forest City was not able to play. It wasn’t until Thursday that the Trojans found out they would be playing Class 4A Cedar Rapids Jefferson (0-5) at 7 p.m.
One quick practice session and film breakdown later, the Trojans went out and beat CR Jefferson 46-6 thanks to a comprehensive offensive performance.
Head coach Cody Hackett said the Trojans showed a good ability to play against a team they didn’t have much time to learn about.
“As long as we get a game, I didn’t care who it was against,” Hackett said. “The kids deserve it, and they came out and showed they play every play hard and you just never know when that last play is going to be. I give a lot of credit to our guys.”
The Trojans embarked on a nine-and-a-half minute drive to open the game, taking chunks of yardage and wearing out the J-Hawks defense before a one-yard touchdown was scored by Preston Pope, who came into the game tied for second in rushing yards in Class 2A with 781 yards on 100 carries. He got 26 more carries against the J-Hawks and finished with 170 yards and four scores — three of them from the one-yard line.
The extra point was missed, but it seemed like WM’s intentions were clear — that is, until a fumble forced and recovered by Grahm Nason turned into a 40-yard touchdown pass from Peyton Hart to Brayden Evertsen the very next play.
Evertsen was everywhere against the J-Hawks, leading the team in receptions and receiving yards as well as tackles (9.5) and sacks (four).
Hackett said football is easier when players like Evertsen are on the field.
“Brayden’s very versatile, teams key on [Pope] offensively and now they’re going to have to start keying in on Brayden a little bit more,” Hackett said. “He’s a freak on defense too, he makes a lot of things. He’s very technically sound, fundamentally sound.”
The Trojans are a very run-heavy team, and the 10 passes they threw today — seven completions for 132 yards and two touchdowns, all to Evertsen — might be enough to make some teams think twice about packing the box and going all-out to stop the run. It was part of the strategy from Hackett’s group to keep CR Jefferson on its heels.
The second of Pope’s four touchdowns pushed the Trojans’ lead to 18-0.
Pope said he likes playing the role of West Marshall’s inside back.
“I like to just go right at them in the first half,” Pope said. “In the second half it opens up and I”m able to get those big runs in.”
After giving up a score on a fourth-and-goal run from Dkhai Pope and with the score 18-6, Hart dialed up a connection to Evertsen and the Trojans went into the half up 25-6.
Hart had 132 passing yards and 105 rushing yards on 16 carries, scoring on an 11-yard scramble to push the score to 39-6 early in the fourth quarter.
Moments later the Trojan defense set up the Trojan offense again, with Parker Reese recovering a fumble and Pope scoring his fourth touchdown on a 37-yard scamper to put West Marshall up 40 points.
Up next for the Trojans is a home matchup with Clear Lake Friday night. Clear Lake is having a difficult season but Hackett said he wasn’t taking anything lightly.
“We can’t get a big head and start getting arrogant,” Hackett said. “We just gotta go game by game.”