Trojans trample Centerville, 60-0
STATE CENTER — Head coach Cody Hackett has impressed upon his offense since the season started that it was designed for long drives that drag opposing defenses into the end zone after a double-digit-play possession.
In Friday’s case, he was OK with being proven wrong.
The 10th-ranked West Marshall football team broke one big play after another to put away Centerville (5-4) in Friday’s Class 2A playoff pairing, dispatching the Big Reds from the second round with a 60-0 shellacking.
The Trojans (7-1) needed no more than five plays to convert 6-of-7 first-half possessions into touchdowns before stringing together three “longer” drives to score in the second half. West Marshall made it to the end zone on 9-of-10 possessions, including the grueling final push that covered 44 yards on nine plays and ended with senior fullback Jaesen Evans’ first touchdown of the season.
Still, Hackett didn’t mind the big-play potential his Trojans put on full display in their seventh consecutive victory one week after their first-round bye.
“I’ve always told our guys we’re a long-drive team, 12 or 15 plays or more a drive,” Hackett said. “Tonight was a little bit different. We broke some tackles and made some big yardage on the outside, but I’ll take it.
“Our offensive linemen always like those drives where it’s one or two plays. We’ve got some big guys and they like coming off the field after one or two plays where they don’t have to chase our running back down to the end zone. They like that and if we can get some big plays here or there it just feeds into the other guys and it’s fun to watch.”
West Marshall’s offensive front, consisting (left to right) of Luke Pinnick, Grant Nason, Sam Schaper, Brock Bonschmit and Jacob Walton, cleared paths for all angles of the Trojans’ attack. Junior running back Preston Pope piled up 182 yards and three touchdowns on just 13 carries, while sophomore quarterback Peyton Hart had 113 yards and one touchdown on only eight carries.
Brayden Evertsen’s only carry covered 82 yards to paydirt, Jarrin Goecke punched one in from 10 yards out, and Evans’ 7-yard touchdown run accounted for the final points of the game.
Hart even hit on a pair of touchdown passes, both to tight end Kaden Davis, as the Trojans tallied 510 yards of total offense on just 41 plays.
“It was different [having a week off] but we had a great week of practice,” said Hart. “[The offensive line] did amazing, I’m so proud of them. They love scoring fast like that, they just hate to run down the field.”
West Marshall’s offensive line allowed for the Trojans to rush for an average of more than 13 yards per carry, and the backs’ ability to break tackles served them well, too. Pope’s first tote appeared to end at the point of attack before he shed four would-be tacklers to rack up 13 yards. On the next play — West Marshall’s second from scrimmage — Hart hooked up with Davis on a 48-yard touchdown pass.
Not to be outdown by the offense was the Trojan defense, which pitched its first shutout of the season. Centerville’s only real scoring threat was a 14-play, 72-yard push that started at the Big Reds’ own 24 and stalled at the West Marshall 4. Centerville’s best offensive possession lasted 6:48 but came up short of the goal line.
“The thing about our defense is we’re physical, we just play smash-mouth football,” Hackett said. “My worry tonight was maybe missing some tackles, but the good thing with our guys is there’s somebody else flying around that’s behind them to secure the tackle.
“Our team let a few teams make drives down the field and for some reason our defense decides to step up when we get there. It frustrates the heck out of me as a coach but our defensive coordinator coach (Jesse) Coyne tells me it’s going to be fine. It’s good to see them deal with a little adversity and they overcome it and they kept them out (of the end zone) and we gave them zero points tonight so I’m happy with it.”
West Marshall allowed only 136 yards to Centerville on 51 plays, limiting the Big Reds to 10 first downs and a mere 76 rushing yards on 30 attempts. It’s the Trojans’ first shutout of the season, and it comes two rounds into the playoffs.
“I think our defense has gotten better and improved every week through now, and that’s what you want to see in your team come playoff time,” Hackett said.
West Marshall’s only empty offensive possession was followed by a three-and-out for Centerville, and Nason blocked the punt after Cruize Flanders bobbled the snap. Davis scooped up the loose ball and nearly notched a defensive touchdown, though the Trojans only had to go 7 yards after his return. Pope took the toss sweep around end for a 6-yard TD run to make it 21-0 midway through the second quarter, and the rout was officially on.
West Marshall will learn its next playoff opponent on Saturday, as the Iowa High School Athletic Association intends to announce the pairings at noon.
“It’s hard telling,” Hackett shrugged. “When it comes to the state, sometimes you just never know. We’ll find out [Saturday] and prepare the best that we can to go out and compete and play our best. I’m just glad that we get to play another football game.”
West Marshall 60, Centerville 0
At State Center
CTRV 0 0 0 0 — 0
WM 14 25 7 14 — 60
WM — Kaden Davis 48 pass from Peyton Hart (Hart kick), 9:24.
WM — Hart 25 run (Hart kick), 7:36.
WM — Preston Pope 6 run (Hart kick), 8:24.
WM — Jarrin Goecke 10 run (kick failed), 3:34.
WM — Brayden Evertsen 82 run (kick failed), 2:13.
WM — Pope 5 run (pass failed), :59.
WM — Pope 1 run (Hart kick), 6:46.
WM — Davis 2 pass from Hart (Cody Braddy kick), 11:52.
WM — Jaesen Evans 7 run (Braddy kick), 1:40.
First downs 10 17
Rushes-yards 30-76 35-457
Passing yards 80 53
Comp-Att-Int 7-21-0 3-6-0
Total offense 51-136 41-510
Fumbles-lost 3-0 1-0
Penalties-yards 4-25 3-18
RUSHING — CTRV: Bradley Watts 10-41, Sawyer Wardlow 14-24, Kellen Johnson 3-23, Sabin Esaias 1-3, TEAM 2-(minus-15); WM: Pope 13-182, Hart 8-113, Evertsen 1-82, Goecke 5-35, Anthony Schuler 2-23, Caden Vellinga 4-12, Evans 2-10.
PASSING — CTRV: Wardlow 6-18-72-0, Johnson 1-3-8-0; WM: Hart 3-6-53-0.
RECEIVING — CTRV: Johnson 3-43, Kade Mosley 2-19, Merrick Mathews 1-9, Griffin Weber 10-9; WM: Davis 2-50, Raven Pinegar 1-3.