CEDAR FALLS, Iowa — There were Class 1-A programs in western Iowa that were happy to see West Lyon move down to Class A before last season. A-H-S-T now knows why.
The No. 1 Wildcats punished the Vikings in a physically dominant 63-21 victory in a Class A semifinal at the UNI-Dome on Friday. They rushed for 414 yards while building a 50-14 halftime lead.
West Lyon (13-0) controlled the line of scrimmage. It scored on seven of its first eight possessions and ran wild in the process. Quarterback Brandon Snyder and running back Kaleb Heyer were both well over the 100-yard mark by the middle of the second quarter.
Snyder had touchdown runs of 16, 30, 64 and 57 yards while amassing 185 rushing yards on only six carries. Heyer had 152 yards on 10 attempts, including a 69-yard TD run, before calling it a day.
“We focused all week on us, doing the little things right and controlling what we can control, and playing our game,” Snyder said. “We did that today, and this was the result.”
The one-sided win put West Lyon into next Thursday’s title game against co-No. 2 BGM (13-0), which ended reigning champion Wapsie Valley’s 26-game winning streak earlier in the day.
The Wildcats opened with scoring drives of 74 and 75 yards to take a 15-0 lead in the first quarter.
No. 4 A-H-S-T briefly stayed in the game with a 46-yard touchdown pass from Nathan Herbst to Lee Whyte that cut its early deficit to 15-7. But Heyer raced 69 yards to answer on the first play after the ensuing kickoff to allow West Lyon to regain its 15-point advantage.
“It was a blink of an eye, and the momentum was back on their side,” Viking coach Davis Pattee said. “It was unfortunate. ... It hurt to lose whatever momentum we had going.”
A-H-S-T never got it back. A fumble on the first play of the second quarter set up the first of three long TD runs by Snyder in the period. The final one put the Wildcats up by 36 at the break.
“I never thought it would be this easy. That’s a good team,” said coach Jay Rozeboom, who has won three state titles at West Lyon. “Once things started going our way, it just started rolling. We were able to finish up the game the way we wanted to.”
The Vikings didn’t even make it out of the first half healthy. Herbst and running back Kyle Bauerkemper both left with game-ending injuries, possible leg or ankle fractures, in the second period.
Austin Fink returned a kickoff for a touchdown before the half and added a short scoring run while playing quarterback late in the game. But other than that, A-H-S-T had little to cheer about following its unbeaten regular season and its first semifinal appearance since 2005.
This wasn’t the way Pattee and his players wanted it to end.
“It wasn’t because of our guys’ lack of effort,” he said. “They play a terrific brand of football, and it’s tough to overcome that brand of physicality if you don’t have the guys to match up and you don’t play sound assignment football.
“It’s been an incredible year. Everybody wishes, except for the state champion, that they could end with a win or a different result. But they played their tails off all year.”
West Lyon (13-0) .......................................... 22 28 13 0—63
A-H-S-T (12-1) .......................................... 7 7 0 7—21
WL: Brandon Snyder 16 run (Snyder kick)
WL: Bennett Feuchtenberger 1 run (Kaleb Heyer run)
A: Lee Whyte 46 pass from Nathan Herbst (Steven Jacobsen kick)
WL: Heyer 69 run (Snyder kick)
WL: Snyder 30 run (Snyder kick)
WL: Snyder 64 run (Snyder kick)
WL: Vaughn Moser 10 run (Snyder kick)
A: Austin Fink 79 kickoff return (Jacobsen kick)
WL: Snyder 57 run (Snyder kick)
WL: Damon Knobloch 10 run (Snyder kick)
WL: Nick Meester 1 run (run failed)
A: Fink 3 run (Jacobsen kick)
RUSHING: WL, Heyer 10-152, Fuechtenberger 9-61, Snyder 6-185, Meester 4-12, Ezzell 3-37, Moser 3-18, Knobloch 3-10, Van Beek 2-2, Pottebaum 1-13, Grotewold 1-(-2). A, Fink 20-38, Shannon 8-47, Bauerkemper 8-(-13), Herbst 5-(-9), Engel 2-3, Cordes 1-0.
PASSING: WL, Snyder 0-4-1 0. A, Herbst 1-1-0 46, Bauerkemper 0-1-0 0, Fink 1-2-0 3.
RECEIVING: A, Whyte 1-46, Shannon 1-3.