By Travis Hutson
The Prairie Hawks football team ran onto the field Friday night to see fireworks and a packed stadium. The players knew this was the biggest game of the season, and possibly their high school careers.
They were facing off against 9th ranked Iowa City West, who were armed with at least two Division 1 recruits. The biggest story coming in was Iowa City West wide receiver Oliver Martin 17’, who is a 4 star recruit and has offers from multiple major NCAA schools.
In the first 4 games Prairie’s secondary gave up a lot of big plays, and the consensus around the metro area was that Martin would be able to capitalize on the Hawks weakness. The coaches adjusted though, moving former free safety Preston LaGrange 17’ to corner back. With more height and athleticism in the face of Martin, they were able to keep him in check.
The only struggle for Prairie’s defense was running back Devonate Lane, who played his first game of the season at running back and finished with 222 rushing yards. Despite Lane’s best efforts, the Hawks were victorious, 39-20.
The juggernaut Prairie offense was in control most of the game. With their signature clock eating drives, they would take up 5-10 yards a play all the way down the field, and into the end zone. Wing back Joe Meyer ‘17 and running back Zach Ganske ’17 both finished with over 100 yards on the ground. The scoring included 3 touchdowns by Meyer, 2 by Ganske, and 1 by LaGrange, who caught a pass thrown by Dakota Simonson 17’, broke a tackle, and scrambled 59 yards for the TD at the end of the first half.
This win will officially put Prairie on the radar, who started the season with 0 votes in the top 10. Seen as a surprise top playoff contender, they will likely have a target on their back moving forward.
In their 4 remaining regular season games, the Hawks will look to keep extending their win streak, and avoid being on the wrong side of a surprise upset against bottom teams Ottumwa and Burlington. Wins over Linn Mar and Kennedy would cement their status as an elite team, and set them up for an appearance at the UNI-dome in October.
(Cover photo by Kyler Schutzman)