Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
STATE CENTER — West Marshall may have thought they had it easy in a second-round Class 2A football playoff game Friday after running to a touchdown on the first possession of the game. West Marshall would have thought wrong.
Mid-Prairie’s defense found their footing on a muddy field and kept the score at 6-0 until halftime, but the home team Trojans won the second half 20-14 and the game 26-14.
Mid-Prairie played well enough to win but West Marshall played better, outgaining the Golden Hawks on the ground 315-154 and through the air 109-92.
“I thought the (defense did great considering our offense was terrible,“ Mid-Prairie head coach Pete Cavanagh said. ”They did what we asked them to do against a top running team.“
Mid-Prairie ran and threw for 33 yards and two interceptions in the first half while West Marshall had 139 yards.
“Offensively we couldn’t get enough going,“ Mid-Prairie head coach Pete Cavanagh said. The Golden Hawks had a couple of penalties that put them behind the sticks. ”Crucial penalties, turnovers and some miscommunications in there.“
The second half started with the Golden Hawks marching down the field and gaining momentum.
“We had to kick it into gear,” Hawks quarterback Will Cavanagh said. “We didn’t know what would work so we went to the spread and tried to throw a little bit. It kind of worked at the end of the half.”
"When we would pack it in, they would pack it in,“ Coach Cavanagh said. ”So we thought we could run inside with our interior guys. We were able to do that until they started loading the box again.“
The Hawks had a first and goal but fumbled it away on the 9. “When we committed that turnover down there, that was a backbreaker,” Coach Cavanagh said. “We had the momentum and we couldn’t catch up after that.”
The sixth play after the fumble, West Marshall scored on a 66-yard pass.
“This is a game we could have won if we don’t commit those turnovers,” Coach Cavanagh said. “That team is a tough crew and our offense does not help the defense much. Our defense buckled down and got the job done.”
The offense answered the bomb score when Braden Hartley ran three times for 15 yards, Jackson Pennington caught two passes for 22 yards and Cavanagh ran three times including the 25-yard scamper for a touchdown and a 14-7 game with 2:31 remaining in the third quarter.
“Hartley really stepped up and played a big role this year,” Will Cavanagh said. “It’s because he spent a lot of time working in the off-season, a spring and summer lifting and it paid off this year. I’ll miss playing with him and all the other guys.”
The Trojans made it 20-7 with 8:02 left in the game., but Mid-Prairie fumbled it away and six plays later — five rushes by Preston Pope and a 10-yard run for the TD by Peyton Hart made the score 26-7 with 4:13 left.
Pennington caught a scoring toss from Cavanagh with a minute left.
“That offense puts pressure on our defense and that good of a team is going to run the clock,” Coach Cavanagh said. “These (Mid-Prairie) seniors have meant a lot. They have a lot to be proud of. They have worked hard and been strong leaders.”
Cavanagh’s son is one of those seniors.
“It’s hard. It’s tough. It will probably hit me later. I’m proud of him. He did a great job all year, especially from a leadership standpoint.”
Hartley and Cavanagh combined for 20 carries and 132 yards. Through the air, he was 11-of-23 for 92 yards. Pennington had eight receptions for 61 yards. Justice Jones had 12.5 tackles, Cain Brown 11.
Mid-Prairie ends its season at 6-4. West Marshall advances to the quarterfinals hosting Williamsburg
The Golden Hawks say goodbye to 10 seniors including Cavanagh, Pennington, Jarrett Hoffman, Evan Hall, Helmuth, Jones, Sam Harris, Cael Garvey, Zane Fisher and Gannon Callahan.