Prep Football: Prairie Pulls Off Stunner, Runs Away From Iowa City West
By K.J. Pilcher, Reporter
IOWA CITY, Iowa – They came. They saw. They conquered.
And, Cedar Rapids Prairie Coach Mike Morrissey led the Hawks in their routine battle cry one more time.
Prairie earned the chance to shout it with a 49-28 upset over second-ranked Iowa City West in an Iowa High School Athletic Association Class 4A second round playoff game Monday night at Trojan Field.
The Hawks (8-3) and the large number of fans that made the trip were ecstatic and loud after the game. Morrissey reminded his team after the game none of the doubters wore orange and black.
"We were the underdogs," Prairie quarterback Jace Hanna said. "No one picked us to win, so we had nothing to lose. We just came out with a lot of energy."
Their play reflected that mentality, forcing turnovers – seven actually – and converting third and fourth downs at will without reservation.
One of the biggest plays of the game came right before halftime, catapulting the Hawks into a 28-21 lead at halftime and one they didn't surrender.
Prairie took possession with 1:42 on the clock at its own 34. The Hawks marched down the field to the West 12. After a sack and spike, Prairie missed a 40-yard field goal with :02 left. A West penalty gave them another play, and Morrissey elected to go for it instead of another kick attempt.
The gamble paid dividends as Hanna placed a perfect ball to Jarred Edmonds on a post route for an 18-yard touchdown with no time left.
"It's something we saw on the previous play," Morrissey said. "We thought we could take advantage.
"Jarred ran a nice route (and) Jace threw the ball the only place it could have been and we were fortunate to that one."
The Hawks took chances throughout the game, leaving everything on the field. Prairie turned fourth downs into touchdowns two more times with Hanna hitting Demetrius Harper for a 24-yard score and a 42-21 lead in the third, and Edmonds again for a TD on a 4th-and-19 for the final score.
"I don't gamble much," Morrissey claimed. "I try not to be conservative with what we do. I guess I error on the side of aggression.
"It's the kids that execute it. I can call whatever I call but they're the ones who came through."
Hanna came through repeatedly, completing 20 of 28 passes for 311 yards and four TDs. Edmonds had 111 yards, while Harper added 131.
"The line gave me plenty of time," Hanna said, "the receivers made some great catches."
The Hawks used a strong run attack to keep West honest. Mitch Christensen rushed for 106 yards and three TDs.
Prairie was able to take an early advantage with early miscues by the Trojans, who lost two fumbles and threw an interception on their first three possessions. West fumbled on its opening play, coughing it up after a 17-yard gain. The Hawks Kentrel Smith recovered on the 46 and Christensen capped the 54-yard drive with a 1-yard TD run and 7-0 lead less than 90 seconds in the game.
The Hawks effort put a damper on an excellent performance by Ezra Reiners, who had 136 yards rushing and 86 receiving. Reiners scored twice for the Trojans, including a 9-yard score to tie it 7-7, and his rushing set up Nate Boland's 1-yard run in the second to tie it at 14-14.
Boland threw for 185 yards, including 47 yards to Jeremy Morgan and 28 to Dondre Alexander. The Prairie defense picked off three of his passes and forced four fumbles to end West's impressive season at 10-1. Morrissey said he was pleased to see the drills in practice transfer to competition.
"Against a good team like (West) it is so rare," Morrissey said. "Our guys were able to break on balls or get on the ball when it was on the ground."
The win sets up a rematch with No. 3 Cedar Rapids Xavier (11-0). The Saints beat Prairie, 48-14, on Week 3.
"We'll keep it as routine as possible going into the rest of this week," Morrissey said. "We'll prepare how we prepare and take care of things that we control as usual. We're looking forward to it."