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Warriors blitz West to end Trojans’ season

CR Wash 44, West 19 in 4A Quarterfinal
Yeshuwa Hicks walks off the field alone after the conclusion of a Class 4A state quarterfinal game against Cedar Rapids Washington Nov. 7. (photo by Chris Umscheid)

CEDAR RAPIDS– The road to the UNI-Dome and a bid for a state football championship in Class 4A for the Iowa City West High Trojans ended at Kingston Stadium in Cedar Rapids as the Trojans’ nemesis, the Cedar Rapids Washington Warriors, rolled over them 44-19 in a quarterfinal round game Friday, Nov. 7.
“This is the one team that can match up with our guys and they certainly did that,” West coach Garrett Hartwig said, noting, “we were just out-matched a little bit, and the credit goes to Wash.” Hartwig said, “(the Warriors) have just so many guys that can get you.”
The Warriors entered the contest with an 11-0 record and District No. 6 Championship to West’s 7-4 showing and second-place finish in District No. 7. The teams had met earlier in the season in Mississippi Valley Conference (MVC) competition with the Warriors taking a 28-0 win.
The Warriors owned the first quarter with a pair of touchdowns while stopping every Trojan drive cold. Wash put West in a deeper hole nearly three minutes into the second quarter with its third touchdown for a 21-0 lead with 9:13 left in the half.
Alex Henderson gave Trojan Nation a reason to cheer with 6:36 left in the half after the junior took a pass from quarterback Aaron Bleil, good for a 25-yard touchdown reception. Connor Gordon’s extra point kick was good and West was on the scoreboard, 21-7.
In the final minute of the half, West held-off a Wash drive, forcing the Warriors into a 24-yard field goal attempt, which gave the home team a 24-7 advantage heading into the locker rooms.
The Warriors came out in the third quarter and extended their lead with a touchdown with 5:22 left in the period. A blocked kick prevented the extra point, making it a 30-7 ballgame. With 3:14 left in the quarter, Henderson took another Bleil pass into the end zone to score. Gordon nailed his kick for the extra point, but a penalty on the Trojans negated it. After the penalty was assessed, Gordon tried again on his kick. This time however, it missed the mark, making the score 30-13.
The Trojans tried a little strategy on their ensuing kick-off, going for an onside kick at short range, which they managed to recover for another shot at the Warrior goal line. Luck was not on their side though as three consecutive incomplete passes led to West going for it on fourth down with another incomplete pass and Wash taking over on downs as the result. Washington held onto the ball as the third quarter became the fourth and scored with 11:55 left in the ball game on a 2-yard dash. With the good kick the Warriors were ahead 37-13. Another 2-yard sprint and successful kick with 8:06 to go made it 44-13.
“I’m proud of the way our guys kept fighting,” Hartwig said afterward. John Milani exemplified the Trojans’ “never say die” attitude as he scooped up a Wash fumble and made the quick dash into the end zone to score the third touchdown of the game and the last one of the season. A two-point conversion attempt failed with 3:35 left, bringing down the curtain on the Trojan season.
“We just ran into a better team tonight,” the coach said. “Wash has the capability to go all the way.”
The game was the final gridiron performance for seniors Kevin Dowell, Xavier Koch, Connor Gordon, Conner Greene, Aaron Bleil, Tyler Eads, Ryan Ruden, Jon Raley, Quincy Jones, Ayoub Ali, John Milani, Dylan Krantz, Mitch Yoerger, Michael Krupp, Joe Ranard, Noah Fletcher, Logan Stevens, Ben Moore, Trevor Peterson, Justin Preuschl, Blake Moser, Hayden Hendricks and Carter Parker.