CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Not exactly how Cedar Rapids Prairie wanted to send out its coach. Exactly how Iowa City High wanted to go into the postseason.
"For sure," said City High quarterback Andrew McNulty after his team's 41-14 romp last night at John Wall Field. "This is definitely the statement we wanted to make. That we are prepared for the playoffs."
The second-ranked Little Hawks (9-0) prepped for Wednesday's Class 4A substate round with a first-half offensive performance of five touchdowns, 34 points and an unbelievable 419 yards. It was all working the run, the pass and everything in between.
As City High Coach Dan Sabers said when informed of the specifics of the first-half damage: "Wow."
"You don't expect to do that," he said. "But we've got some people."
Such as McNulty, who accounted for 244 total yards, including touchdown passes of 22 yards to Thomas Zoeckler and 50 yards to Jasper Washington. Such as running back Cedric Readus, who sprinted for 141 yards and two long TDs on just seven carries.
Even guys who haven't gotten many touches this season were impressive. Bobby Millard had a 27-yard first-quarter touchdown run and Todd Turner a 20-yarder in the second.
Explosive might be understating things.
"We wanted to get a fire underneath us from the start of the game and just carry it on through," said McNulty, whose 175 passing yards came on just six completions. "Now we're hoping to carry that same momentum right into the playoffs."
This wasn't the way anyone at Prairie wanted to see Craig Jelinek's career end. It was his final game after 22 years as head coach, and he was honored during a pre-game ceremony that included the presence of many of his former players.
There were hugs and tears galore on the field after the game. The most touching moments came when Jelinek posed for photos with his grandchildren and shared a long tearful embrace with his son, Adam, who played for him and was one of his assistant coaches.
"It really started hitting me probably Tuesday," Jelinek said. "It's been a really, really tough week. But what I tried to do all week was just live in the minute, what I had to take care of now. Not think about all the years and all the people that I've come in contact with."
Prairie (2-7) scored 14 points in the fourth quarter to avert the shutout: a 14-yard pass play from Chaz Boots to Thomas Frieden and a 1-yard run by Dakota Day.