Spencer Zinn rushed for 193 yards and a touchdown to help lead the Western Dubuque football team to a 21-10 victory over Iowa City Liberty in their final non-conference game played in North Liberty, Sept. 10.
“We’re back in the saddle,” said Justin Penner, head coach, of the Bobcats, about his team’s first win of the year. “The kids had a great week of practice and didn’t act like they were 0-2 football team when they took that field. They really attacked practice and turned it into a win.”
The Bobcats have faced a lot of adversity this season and that trend continued in this game as they fell behind 3-0 in the first quarter before the offensive line took over. The Bobcats put up 14 points in the second quarter to take a 14-10 lead into halftime.
Zinn was the first Bobcat to find the end zone when he powered his way in from the three-yard line to cap off a touchdown drive and Grant Glausser followed with his two-yard run.
After the break, the Bobcats’ defense took over the game and kept Liberty’s offense out of the end zone for the final 24 minutes.
“They had a big play on us in the first half and drove the ball a little bit on us in the second half. But what our defense did really well was not break and give up points and at the end of a football game how many points you gave up is the most meaningful stat,” said Penner. “Our defense sure was stingy in that department, plus Caleb Klein had three takeaways for us, two interceptions and he recovered a fumble, which really helps too.”
The offense kept working hard in the second half chewing up yardage and taking time off the clock. Finally, with 8:33 left to play in the game, Jack Clemens connected with Nick Bryant on a 56-yard touchdown pass to put them up 21-10.
“Spence ran the ball well and the offensive line was great at giving him some lanes to run the ball,” said Penner. “With four minutes left in the game, those guys got to experience the fun part of being an offensive linemen. That’s when you know you’re going to run and they know you are going run and you’re still able to do it successfully. Our boys up front took care of business and I’m really proud of our guys for that.”
Both sides of the ball enjoyed big nights for the Bobcats as they totaled 462 yards of total offense and the defense held the Lightning to 50 rushing yards on their way to earning just 222 yards of total offense.
“This win was a big confidence builder for our guys. They now know that practice is a huge part of what makes this process work,” said Penner. “They now also know that if they work their tails off that they can accomplish what they want to on Friday night.”
The Bobcats will put that theory to the test as they open the Mississippi Valley Conference part of their schedule hosting Dubuque Hempstead (1-2) Sept. 17 with kickoff at 7:30 p.m.
WD’s statistical leaders were: passing — Clemens 15-of-28, 215 yards, one TD, two INTs; rushing — Zinn 21-for-193 yards and a TD, Grant Glausser 17-for-59 and a TD, Kaleb Reed 2-for-6; receiving — Bryant 6-for-117 yards and a TD, Oltmanns 5-for-63, Caleb Klein 1-for-20, Daviyon Gaston 1-for-9, Tucker Nauman 1-for-4, Zinn 1-for-2; kickoff returns— Oltmanns 2-for-30; punt returns — Dominic Frost 2-for-27; extra points — Caden Abresch 3-for-3; punting — Nauman 4-for-120 yards; fumble recoveries – Caleb Klein one; interceptions — Klein 2-for-30; tackles — Frost 7.5, Evan Surface 5.5, Klein five, Glausser four, Chase Boulting, Dakota Hoffman and Max Klein 3.5, Grayson Gardner 2.5, Ian Fagan and Zinn two, Oltmanns, Chase Anderson, Lucas Ingles and Connor Krogman one, Nauman, Ryker Staudenmaier, Nevin Pins and Brody Steger 0.5.