Cedar Rapids, Iowa News, Sports, and Weather
CEDAR RAPIDS Tony Lombardi sees it. Now, he's trying to spread the vision to his team.
"I know it sounds crazy we got our butts waxed," Lombardi said. "But I feel there's a good football team here, waiting to develop."
Washington played Class 4A fifth-ranked Cedar Falls to a statistical standoff, but special teams and turnovers and the ability to capitalize on both were the difference in the Tigers' 31-16 MVC Valley Division triumph Friday at Kingston Stadium.
Brayden Longnecker connected with Ike Boettger for two touchdowns in the first 3 1/2 minutes as the Tigers improved to 3-0 overall, 1-0 in the division.
"Brayden threw some really nice balls, the line gave him time, and I was able to get up and grab them," the 6-foot-5 Boettger said.
Cedar Falls was the superior team on the scoreboard, building a 24-7 halftime lead amid a problematic punting game by the Warriors (1-2, 0-1).
It's not as if the Warriors were pushed around all night. The teams both finished with 241 yards of total offense. Washington had more first downs (18-11) and ran 27 more plays from scrimmage.
Here were the results of Washington's first three punts all negative.
* A high snap forced Noah Dostal to scramble instead of punt. He was run down for a 17-yard loss, giving Cedar Falls possession at the 26.
* The second punt was blocked.
* The third punt was shanked, for a 12-yard net.
Cedar Falls capitalized on all three plus an interception to the tune of 24 points.
Longnecker and Boettger hooked up for TD passes of 26 and 8 yards, and the Tigers led 14-0 with barely 3 minutes elapsed.
Washington followed with the night's best drive by either team. The Warriors journeyed 80 yards in 21 plays, converting four times on third down and once on fourth-and-1 at the Cedar Falls 3.
Mitch Blades capped it with a 1-yard quarterback sneak to get the Warriors within 14-7, and Washington's defense got a stop on the next possession.
The Warriors were moving again when lineman LaVonte Batte went down with an apparent knee injury. He was pushed off the field in a wheelchair, and the hosts never regained the momentum until it was too late.
Cedar Falls blocked a punt moments later, leading to a 37-yard field goal by Eli Berregaard.
The margin increased to 31-7 in the third quarter before the Warriors got a safety (on a snap through the end zone) and a touchdown (Blades to Jason Oney, for 28 yards) in the final three minutes.
Blades completed 15 of 29 passes for 167 yards.
"He's exciting, but he's not disciplined yet," Lombardi said. "I think we can fix that."
Oney caught six passes for 82 yards.
Jake Buck rushed for 93 yards for the Tigers; Boettger caught four passes for 88 yards.
Cedar Falls hosts Waterloo West next Friday; Washington is at Linn-Mar.