Prep Football: On Third FG Try, Linn-Mar Wins in OT
By Jeff Johnson, Reporter
MARION — If at first you don’t succeed, try again. Then try again, if you get the chance.
Austin Wolter’s 23-yard field goal in overtime gave Linn-Mar a wild 24-21 win over Cedar Rapids Washington Friday night at Linn-Mar Stadium.
It was the first field goal of the season for the junior kicker, who was given three opportunities to win this game, which was reminiscent of so many Linn-Mar/Washington dramas in recent seasons. Washington scored with nine seconds left to upset Linn-Mar in a Class 4A playoff second-rounder on this field last season.
A Zach Martins interception of a double-tipped Mitch Blades pass on Wash’s OT possession gave Linn-Mar (1-3) a golden opportunity for the win. Two Rhys Davis QB sneaks took the ball to the 5, with Lions Coach Bob Forsyth electing to kick on third down.
That decision turned highly prudent when holder Matt Ramsey couldn’t handle the center snap. But since Wolter didn’t get the kick off, Linn-Mar got the ball back on fourth down.
Wolter then hooked a 27-yard attempt wide left but was run into by a Washington defender for a five-yard penalty that gave him a third try. This time, he made it.
"(The misses) delayed all the pressure. It made made more nervous ...," Wolter said. "Right when I hit that last one, I knew it was going through. The first one, I saw a guy right on me, and he hit me right after I kicked it, and I pulled it."
Washington (1-3) scored a pair of touchdowns in the third quarter to take a 21-14 lead: a 1-yard Blades sneak and 24-yard TD pass to Jason Oney. Blades threw for 269 yards, with Oney catching 11 balls for 154 yards.
Linn-Mar came through with a late drive to tie it at 21-21 and send it to overtime. On third-and-goal from the 5, Davis pitched right to Ross Lembeck, who pulled up and threw across the field back to Davis for the TD with 1:10 remaining.
JoJo McBride had an electrifying 97-yard return for touchdown on the opening kickoff for Washington. He broke free from a scrum of players at his own 20, sprinted down the sideline and ran through a final desperation tackle at the Linn-Mar 20 for the TD.
But Linn-Mar responded with a 70-yard drive to tie it up at 7-7. Receiver Matt Meier made the two biggest plays of the nine-play march: a 22-yard catch of a Davis pass on 3rd-and-5 at the Linn-Mar 35 and a 31-yard reverse run that took the ball inside the Washington 5.
Davis fittingly hit Meier on a slot-out pattern for the TD.
Linn-Mar’s defense held Washington without a first down in the initial quarter, taking running back Mitch Bredeson out of the game completely and harrassing Blades with a plethora of blitzes. The Warriors were mistake prone throughout (a season-long pattern), committing six first-half penalties for 59 yards, and having a high center snap disrupting a 43-yard Ajram field-goal attempt in the second quarter.
Blades ended up being sacked seven times in the game.
Linn-Mar took the lead early in the second after pinning down Wash at its own 3 and forcing a punt. Another halfback pass (this one 26 yards from Lembeck to Meier) took the ball to the Washington 2.
Davis sneaked over for the score. The senior ran for 57 yards and threw for 94.
Meier had 80 rushing and passing yards, all in the first half.
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