West defeats Wahlert with Rogers’ three touchdowns

BY IAN MARTIN | OCTOBER 12, 2009 7:20 AM

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The sophomore strikes again. If Iowa City West’s victory Oct. 9 were a movie, that would be its title.

After two possessions that only lasted three plays each led off the game for the Trojans, a 77-yard touchdown pass from super-sophomore Charles Rogers to senior Tayler Bontrager late in the first quarter propelled the Trojans to an eventual 35-0 victory over lowly Dubuque Wahlert.

“I put the ball up in the air for Tayler to go get it,” Rogers said. “And I guess it was just perfectly placed, and he grabbed it.”

Rogers, who won the full-time QB job time after splitting snaps with Luke McLeran earlier in the year, accounted for three of his team’s five touchdowns. Along with the pass to Bontrager, he added 11-yard and 1-yard running touchdowns, in the second and third quarters, to put his team further ahead.

While not playing much spread offense early in the game, Rogers ran through the Golden Eagle defense in the second quarter after switching to the shotgun.

“We started off under center, and we got stopped the first two times,” the 6-2 quarterback said. “So we came out in the spread formation, and I guess it just loosened up.”

Along with the success of Rogers, the Trojans also received a few gifts from the Wahlert offense to aide the win. Wahlert’s center snapped the ball over the head of quarterback Zack Brautigam numerous times, including once in the red zone. An interception in the third quarter by West’s Ian McBrearty as well as a late fumble recovery by the Trojans also contributed to the victory.

The Trojans are now 3-4 on the season. Wahlert fell to 1-6 after the loss. This means that even with the Hawkeyes gunning for a BCS bid, West could be Iowa City’s biggest playoff surprise after the regular season ends.

“We knew for us, the third win tonight, its pretty likely that we’ll get, at a minimum, in the substate [playoffs], which is huge for the program,” said West coach Brian Sauser.

The program, which was winless last year, is undeniably improving, and this week marked a new situation for the team. Very rarely in the past two years have the Trojans been favored going in to a ball game, but their head coach said his team dealt with the expectations by not taking notice.

“We didn’t talk about it any differently than we talked about City High,” Sauser said. “I’m really proud of our kids to come out and focus.”

Up 14-0 at halftime, he noted the team’s defense was a key.

“Our kids just kind of closed it down the second half and played pretty well,” Sauser said. The front four “completely dominated the line of scrimmage” in the second half, he noted.

But even with defense, any team will still appreciate a good offense. While putting the game away with 14 third-quarter points, Rogers and Bontrager pitched and caught three more times after the initial touchdown for another 34 yards and two first downs.

And just as any coach would enjoy hearing, apparently his quarterback and senior receiver have chemistry that is hard to form.

“We got so much in common,” said Rogers. “We talk a lot during school. He’s a great receiver to throw to.”

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