DUBUQUE, Iowa – Whether Iowa City High quarterback Tyler Stika handed off to Amos Lavela or Xavier Washpun, it didn't matter.
The Class 4A No. 10-ranked Little Hawks' bruising running backs made Dubuque Hempstead pay, piling up 321 yards on the ground in a 35-21 victory over the winless Mustangs on Friday night at the University of Dubuque's Chalmers Field.
"We're pretty blessed to have two backs like that," City High coach Dan Sabers said. "They ran extremely hard and there were some times where they made some things happen by themselves a little bit. They certainly know how to finish runs."
Lavela ran for 207 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries. Washpun ran 18 times for 110 yards and scored a game-clinching touchdown that put the Little Hawks ahead, 35-14.
Stika completed six of 10 passes for 64 yards. His 11-yard touchdown pass to Mohamed Rouabhi gave City High (4-1, 3-0 Mississippi Valley Conference Mississippi Division) a 7-0 lead with 2 minutes and 38 seconds to play in the first quarter. Stika added a 3-yard TD run on a QB keeper with 35 seconds remaining in the first half to take a 21-14 lead into the locker room.
Hempstead (0-5, 0-3 MVC Mississippi Division) answered each of City High's first two touchdowns with scores of their own.
"They came out ready to play," Lavela said. "We weren't expecting that but they came out ready to play."
Drew Wagner hit Travis Boleyn for a 56-yard TD with 30 seconds remaining in the first quarter. Wagner connected with Matt Zenner on a 5-yard score midway through the second half and completed Hempstead's scoring with a 3-yard keeper with just more than 3 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.
"Our kids played a great football game against one of the storied programs in the state of Iowa," Hempstead coach Bob McIntyre said. "We battled all night and we're real proud of the effort the kids gave tonight on both sides of the ball and special teams. Every kid competed."