CEDAR RAPIDS — From 20 to 20, Waterloo West moved the ball almost at will against Cedar Rapids Prairie.
But once the Wahawks hit the red zone, the Prairie defense stood tall. Coach Mike Morrissey’s team closed the regular season at 6-3 overall, 4-2 in division play after a 31-7 victory. The Hawks will be on to the Class 4A playoffs Wednesday.
West closed the regular season at 3-6, 3-3 and will have to wait to find out if it earned a spot in the playoffs.
Prairie gave up a number of big plays in the first half but was able to make big plays of its own, several for losses, when necessary. The defense was much better in the second half, holding the West running game in check.
“We made some adjustments at the half,” Morrissey said. “The biggest difference was that we stuck to our assignments a little better.
The Hawks finally got on the board with 5:44 left in the first half when Mitch Christensen vaulted across from 3-yards out to give Prairie a 7-0 lead.
Prairie added to the lead in the third quarter on 23-yard field goal by Sam Drysdale and a 5-yard run by freshman Trevor Northrup. He came in for an injured Christensen and ran for 60 yards.
“He was a starter for us earlier in the year,” Morrissey said. “He had been dinged up a little and was out, but he came in for an injured player tonight and did a great job.”
West finally broke through on a 37-yard scoring pass from Alexander Young to Michael Price with 9:18 remaining, cutting it 17-7.
The Wahawks got the ball back three minutes later, but Cameron Rathje picked off a Young pass and returned the ball to West 1. Quarterback Jace Hanna went in two plays later to put the game away for the Hawks.