MARION – For most of Friday night, Linn-Mar’s offense looked a lot like the high school version of the Oregon Ducks against Waterloo West.
With quick passes and shifty runs, the Lions (1-2) sprinted past the Wahawks (1-2) for their first win of the season, 59-35.
“(The players and assistant coaches) have done a great job this week, trying to put our other two games behind us and really try to get better, and I think we did,” said Linn-Mar Coach Bob Forsyth. “We really executed well, and when we do that, we feel like we can move the ball.”
Linn-Mar hit the ground running right from the start, amassing 398 total yards on offense by halftime, on the way to 555 total for the game.
Most of those yards belonged to the two leaders of the team in quarterback Ryan Schmidt and running back Ross Lembeck. Schmidt was efficient in a mostly flawless performance, going 19-28 for 313 yards, three touchdowns and one interception.
Lembeck, the lone player who contributed on the Lions team that went undefeated in the regular season two seasons ago, guided the Lions on the ground, running the ball 12 times for 136 yards and two touchdowns. His performance had Forsyth gushing about the senior after the game.
“Ross is an unbelievable competitor and athlete,” Forsyth said. “He’s a tireless worker (too). He wouldn’t take a break unless we made him. He’s just a warrior, and he’s kind of the lynch pin of this whole team.
“(Schmidt) is getting better. He’s getting better as a leader and he’s getting better as a quarterback. It always helps to win.”
Despite the many positives on offense – the 555 yardage total is easily the highest so far this season – Forsyth said his team was far from perfect.
Some lapses on defense, according to Forsyth, and a lack of discipline on offense at times – the Lions were penalized 12 times for 98 yards, six of which were false start or illegal procedure – led the sixth-year coach to say his team has plenty to work on.
After building a 42-6 lead at halftime, West was able to bring the score to within 42-27 on a trio of touchdown runs in the third quarter from the Wahawks’ Alexander Young, who ended the night with 25 carries for 235 yards and four touchdowns.
Forsyth said he told the Lions they had to come out with the same energy to finish West off, but that message may not have landed.
“We’re nowhere near where we hope to be (overall),” Forsyth said. “It was a really good learning lesson I hope we can build off of. We begged them and threatened them and everything at halftime to come out and match their intensity level, and we just did not.”
Though West fought back, Linn-Mar asserted its will in the fourth quarter, adding two late touchdowns – one from Lembeck on a 47-yard scamper, the other from Schmidt on a four-yard run.
The lesson the Lions learned, Forsyth said, could be one that serves them well going forward, even if it elevates the stress level of the coaches a little.
“It’s a credit to our kids that even when we got caught in that jam a little bit, we were able to fight back and win,” Forsyth said. “That’s big, especially for a young team, a lot of young kids.
“You really can’t teach them about (avoiding a lull) until you live through it. Luckily, we lived to win it and talk about it (tonight).”
Linn-Mar is next in action on Friday on the road against Cedar Rapids Washington.
Linn-Mar 59, Waterloo W. 35
|TEAM STATISTICS||Waterloo W.||Linn-Mar|
|Rushes-yards||43 - 304||38 - 242|
|Comp-Att-Int||10 - 21 - 0||19 - 28 - 1|
|Fumbles-lost||2 - 2||0 - 0|
|Punts-average||5 - 32.0||1 - 36.0|
|Penalties-yards||7 - 40||12 - 98|
Rushing: Waterloo W. – Alexander Young 25-235 , Mitchell Paeper 15-68 , Lajashiene Williams 2-2 , Dylan Borseth 1--1 Linn-Mar – Ross Lembeck 12-134 , Tristan Freese 5-16 , Ryan Schmidt 11-50 , Logan Benter 7-46 , Perion Scott 3--4
Passing: Waterloo W. – Mitchell Paeper 10-21-0-98 Linn-Mar – Ryan Schmidt 19-28-1-313
Receiving: Waterloo W. – Trey Burt 4-43 , Christian Burt 1-13 , Jaelon Jones 3-34 , Lincoln Conrey 1-8 , Dylan Draeger 1-0 Linn-Mar – Griffin Brennecke 4-136 , Trevor Noble 3-41 , Jon Schlotterback 3-33 , Andrew Gassmann 4-61 , Ross Lembeck 4-39 , Tristan Freese 1-3
SCORE BY QUARTERS
LM - 8:30, Ryan Schmidt pass to Griffin Brennecke, 36 yards (Austin Wolter XP good)
LM - 5:46, Ross Lembeck 1 yard run (XP good)
WW - 1:47, Alexander Young 9 yard run (XP failed)
LM - 11:54, Lembeck 6 yard run (XP good)
LM - 8:27, Schmidt pass to Brennecke, 26 yards (XP good)
LM - 5:46, Lembeck 18 yard run (XP good)
LM - 1:13, Schmidt pass to Andrew Gassman 28 yards (XP good)
WW - 7:31, Young 20 yard run (XP good)
WW - 4:36, Young 6 yard run (XP failed)
WW - 2:29, Young 7 yard run (2XP good)
LM - 1:31, Schmidt 4 yard run (XP good)
LM - 8:04, Lembeck 47 yard run (XP good)
WW - 5:43, Mitchell Paeper 4 yard run (2XP good)
LM - 3:30, Wolter FG good, 33 yards