Week 3 Rewind: West High Defensive Linemen Make All-around Impact

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Photo by Jeff Yoder

Ryan Murken

Your Prep Sports

IOWA CITY – Having defensive linemen that impact the game is a common theme for most championship caliber football teams.

During its two-year run of state title game appearances West High had its share of players along the defensive front capable of affecting the game.

Few teams get the type of boost from its defensive lineman that Jason Strunk and Landon Green gave West High on Friday.

The two starting defensive tackles for eighth-ranked West High (2-1), Strunk and Green both scored touchdowns on Friday as the Trojans bounced back from a 10-7 loss to No. 2 Bettendorf with 31-17 win over Southeast Polk.

“It was massive,” Strunk said of the win. “We didn’t like the taste in our mouth from a loss so to get that taste out of our mouth was massive.”

Strunk and Green are part of a new breed of defensive lineman at West High.

Fast, strong and athletic Green and Strunk are full capable of taking on opposing offensive lineman but versatile enough to fill a variety of roles.

The duo showed off that versatility on Friday.

Strunk, a 6-foot-1, 220-pound senior made a pair of huge plays, rushing for 44 yards and also returned an interception seven yards for a score.

The 5-foot-9, 210-pound Green who leads the Trojans in tackles and doubles as a short-yardage running back scored on a 1-yard touchdown run.

Strunk and Green combined for 5.5 tackles including two for loss.

“Our defense is playing pretty well,” Strunk said. “We just have to keep working hard and get better every day.”

The first big play for Strunk was a 45-yard run on a fake punt on a fourth-and-two play on the Trojans’ first possession of the second half.

Strunk took a direct snap and rumbled up the sideline shaking off a pair of tackles along the way.

“It was something noticed on film that we thought we could get away with,” West High coach Garrett Hartwig said. “I credit the players they just made a play.”

That drive ended with Green diving into the endzone on third-and-goal to put West High up 21-10.

“That was huge, that was a big momentum shifter in the game and helped us keep going,” West High sophomore quarterback Marcus Morgan said of the fake punt. “I thought that was an important drive.”

Strunk helped seal the win when he intercepted a screen pass from Southeast Polk quarterback Josiah Cole and returned it seven yards for a touchdown.

The senior burst through the line and snagged the pass from Cole before going untouched into the endzone.

“I just saw it was a little too easy to get through the line, that’s what I did is just noticed it and stayed still,” Strunk said. “Coaches tell us every week don’t rush.”

SHUTOUT STREAK: The Clear Creek Amana defense put up four more zeros on Friday night, extending its shutout streak to 11 consecutive quarters.

Clear Creek Amana hasn’t allowed a point since Mount Pleasant scored a touchdown in the first quarter of the season opener.

The Clippers are holding opponents to 215 total yards and 2.3 points per game this season while forcing six turnovers.

NEW QBS: A pair of area quarterbacks had strong debut performances in their first career starts on Friday.

West High sophomore Marcus Morgan completed 17-of-27 passes for 209 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions in a 31-17 win over Southeast Polk.

Regina senior Scott Arendt threw for 250 yards and two scores against No. 10 Pella Christian filling in for injured sophomore Ashton Cook.

Arendt was 18-for-35 with two interceptions and also rushed for a touchdown in a 24-21 loss.  

MR VERSATILITY: Plenty of high school players have extensive roles on both sides of the football.

Few have more responsibilities than Solon senior Adam Bock who showed his versatility on Friday in a 47-10 over Marion.

Bock rushed for 94 yards and two touchdowns, caught two passes for 25 yards and two scores and had a team-high 10 tackles from his linebacker spot.

He also had five of his seven kickoffs go for touchbacks and averaged 39.8 yards on four punts including a 55-yarder.

OFFENSIVE PERFORMER OF THE WEEK: Andrew Rohret had been solid in his first two weeks leading the Clear Creek Amana offense.

The Clear Creek Amana senior quarterback was a lot more than just solid in a 38-0 win over Fort Madison on Friday.

Rohret completed 13-of-16 passes for 158 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 111 yards and two more scores.

BEST OF THE REST: West Branch senior quarterback Beau Cornwell completed 19-of-32 passes for 286 yards and two touchdowns in a 31-7 win over Williamsburg.

Solon senior Adam Bock rushed for 94 yards and two touchdowns and caught two passes for 25 yards and two more scores in a 47-10 win over Marion.

West Branch junior Tanner Lukavsky rushed for 135 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries in a 31-7 win over Williamsburg.

DEFENSIVE PERFORMER OF THE WEEK: It was a team effort for the West Branch defense in holding Williamsburg all-state running back Gage Hazen-Fabor in check and junior Wyatt Goodale certainly did more than his part.

Goodale had a team-high nine tackles, including eight solo stops, in the Bears’ 31-7 win over Williamsburg.

BEST OF THE REST: Regina senior defensive lineman Luke Stein had three sacks and a fumble recovery in a 24-21 loss to Pella Christian.

City High senior linebacker Liam McComas had seven solo stops including a tackle for loss among his team-high 8.5 tackles in a 35-0 loss to Ames.  

West High senior defensive back Noah Aanestad recovered a fumble recovery and had an interception to go with 1.5 tackles in a 31-17 win over Southeast Polk.