MARION — If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Then try, try, 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, reminiscent of so many Linn-Mar/Washington dramas in recent seasons. Washington scored with nine seconds left to upset unbeaten Linn-Mar in a Class 4A playoff second-rounder on this field last season.
That started a four-game losing streak for the Lions. It’s over now.
“It’s been a hard road for the coaches and the kids,” said Linn-Mar Coach Bob Forsyth. “They’ve come every day ready to listen and ready to work.”
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 middle of the field to the 5, with Forsyth electing to kick on third down.
That decision turned highly prudent when holder Matt Ramsey couldn’t handle the center snap. Since Wolter didn’t get the kick off, Linn-Mar got the ball back on fourth down, albeit seven yards back.
Wolter hooked a 28-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.”
“We challenged the kids at the beginning of the week to play better and come together, especially the defense,” Forsyth said. “I thought we came around pretty well tonight.”
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. An 8-yard scramble on fourth down by Davis gave Linn-Mar a first-and-goal. On third-and-goal from the 5, Davis pitched right to back Ross Lembeck, who pulled up and threw across the field back to Davis for the TD with 1:10 remaining.
“Our offensive coordinator, Matt Casebolt, does a great job in play calling,” Forsyth said. “He told me he was going to call that play, and I thought to myself ‘I don’t know if we’ve run that play since the summer. sometime. But at this point, whatever he thinks will work, and it did.”
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 2-yard 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. Washington rushed 23 times for 3 yards, including seven sacks of Blades.
The Warriors were mistake prone throughout (a season-long pattern), committing six first-half penalties for 59 yards, and having a high center snap disrupt a 43-yard Riyad Ajram field-goal attempt in the second quarter.
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.
Here is the game boxscore:
Linn-Mar 24, CR Wash. 21
AT LINN-MAR STADIUM
|TEAM STATISTICS||CR Wash.||Linn-Mar|
|Rushes-yards||23 - 3||39 - 145|
|Comp-Att-Int||17 - 37 - 1||11 - 24 - 2|
|Fumbles-lost||1 - 0||1 - 0|
|Punts-average||5 - 25.6||6 - 33.7|
|Penalties-yards||8 - 74||6 - 45|
Rushing: CR Wash. – Mitch Blades 18-3 , Mitch Bredeson 5-0 Linn-Mar – Rhys Davis 18-57 , Ross Lembeck 10-45 , Matt Meier 3-30 , Nick Trabucco 6-14 , Zach Martins 1-2 , Team 1--7
Passing: CR Wash. – Mitch Blades 17-37-1-269 Linn-Mar – Rhys Davis 9-22-2-94 , Ross Lembeck 2-2-0-31
Receiving: CR Wash. – Jason Oney 11-154 , JoJo McBride 2-46 , Noah Dostal 2-39 , Clayton Bjornsen 2-30 Linn-Mar – Jon Schlotterback 3-62 , Matt Meier 3-50 , Rhys Davis 1-5 , Ross Lembeck 1-4 , Zach Martins 2-2 , Nick Trabucco 1-2
SCORE BY QUARTERS
CRW-JoJo McBride 97 kickoff return (Riyad Ajram kick)
L-M-Matt Meier 2 pass from Rhys Davis (Austin Wolter kick)
L-M-Davis 2 run (Wolter kick)
CRW-Mitch Blades 1 run (Ajram kick)
CRW-Jason Oney 24 pass from Blades (Ajram kick)
L-M-Davis 5 pass from Ross Lembeck (Wolter kick)
L-M-Wolter 23 FG