IOWA CITY Ask Iowa City West quarterback Nate Boland if he prefers to throw the ball or run it and he can't help but crack a smile.
"It depends," Boland said. "If it's open on the pass I'd like a passing touchdown, and if it's open on the run I'll certainly run it."
That's an understatement. Boland rushed for 115 yards and four touchdowns to propel the Class 4A No. 3 Trojans to a 41-14 win over Cedar Rapids Kennedy on Sept. 13 in a Mississippi Valley Conference football game at Trojan Field.
West (3-0) lost a fumble on its opening drive and then nearly allowed a score on the ensuing drive. Instead, the Trojans racked up 28 unanswered points and finished with 469 yards of offense.
Kennedy (2-1) rallied from behind for wins in its first two weeks, but five turnovers and stalled drives were costly against West.
Boland, a senior with a 4.0 grade-point average, threw for 160 yards, but most of his damage came on the ground.
Boland ripped off a 16-yard touchdown run to complete a 71-yard drive that lasted only 60 seconds to give the Trojans an early 7-0 lead.
Boland is a big reason why West's read-option attack is so tough to stop. West coach Brian Sauser said he's never had a player that was so in sync with his approach and reading opposing defenses in real-time.
"I don't have any reservation about saying he's the best quarterback in the state of Iowa," Sauser said. "He's an underrated kid. He really understands what's going on. He's as much involved in the game plan as anyone else."
Sauser described Boland, who also added touchdown runs of 5, 26 and 1 yards, "sneaky fast" before stopping to correct himself.
"I think he's just fast," Sauser said.
Kennedy put together two impressive drives in the first half, but didn't have anything to show for it.
The Cougars turned a fumble recovery into a 72-yard drive to the West 13-yard line. But a third-and-short turned into a fourth-and-19 after false start and holding penalties. Kennedy turned the ball over on downs.
The Cougars fumbled on their next possession, then lost another fumble on a punt return.
Kennedy opened the second half with two interceptions and fumble on its first three possessions.
"We have to finish," Kennedy quarterback Derek Jacobus said. "We're a good football team."
All of Kennedy running back Logan Wedo's 139 rushing yards came in the second half, including 28- and 1-yard touchdown runs.