CEDAR RAPIDS– Coach Brian Sauser wasn’t the happiest man in Kingston Stadium last Thursday night, even though his West High Trojans defeated the Kennedy Cougars.
“We’ve got to play better football,” Sauser said.
The Trojans played just well enough to escape Kingston with a 35-28 win, but it almost went down to the wire. West held a 21-7 halftime advantage, but the two teams traded touchdowns throughout the second half.
The Cougars scored first with 4:56 left in the first quarter on a 41-yard run, and a good point-after-touchdown kick made it 7-0 Cougars.
Less than a minute later, Richard Bryant put West on the board with a 69-yard run for a touchdown. Alex Troester’s PAT kick was good, and the game was tied.
After foiling a Cougar drive, the Trojans took the lead when quarterback Charles Rogers scampered, whooped and hollered as he ran down the West sideline 41 yards to score. Troester’s kick was good, and West was up 14-7 with 8:25 left in the half.
With 2:40 remaining, Jessie Peterson recovered a Kennedy fumble giving West the ball on Kennedy’s 20-yard line. Anthony Brown punched the ball in for the touchdown from the 2, and West was ahead 21-7 with 1:14 to go in the half.
When play resumed, West kicked-off to Kennedy and watched as the Cougars scored on a 9-yard run with 7:33 left in the period.
The final 12 minutes opened with the Trojans driving the ball up the field. Brown made a 3-yard run to score with 9:46 left in the ballgame, giving West a 28-14 lead.
But the Cougars weren’t ready to call it a night just yet, scoring off a 62-yard pass. The successful PAT kick made it 28-21. Rogers scored again on a keeper, running 22 yards for a touchdown. A good Troester PAT kick and West again had some margin of comfort at 35-21 and just over five minutes to go.
Again the Cougars struck, scoring with 3:18 to go on a 1-yard run. The 35-28 score held and West improved to 6-1 overall, 5-0 in the MVC.
“A win is a win,” Sauser said, “but it’s disappointing to play at such a high level last week (49-19 win over CR Xavier), and then not perform at that same level tonight. We have to get a lot better in a short amount of time.”
Sensing a degree of overconfidence in his squad, Sauser offered the reminder that “the last game has no bearing on this game. There are no easy nights.” The Trojans can expect a tough week of practice as they re-tool for Friday night’s match-up at home against Cedar Rapids Washington.
“The bottom line, we gotta get back to playing at a high level,” Sauser noted.