Trojan football team shuts out Liberty in season opener

West High took down cross town rival Liberty 27-0 on Aug. 28 behind a strong defensive performance.

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Owen Aanestad

The offense huddles before their first drive of the night against Liberty on Aug. 28.

Owen Aanestad, Sports Editor

Silence.

In a normal year that’s not exactly the word you would think of when you hear Friday night lights, but it’s 2020. Due to the rise in COVID-19 cases in Johnson County, the Iowa City Community School District decided to ban all fans at last night’s game on Aug. 27.

After 5 years of waiting to face off against their new cross-town rival, there was no need for an energy-filled crowd to get the blood flowing for head coach Garrett Hartwig and the West High football team. With the help of three touchdowns by all-around athlete Marcus Morgan ’21 the Trojans defeated Liberty 27-0 on Aug. 28 to secure their first win over the lightning in school history.

By the end of the first quarter, all the nerves were out after one of Morgan’s first passes of the night was picked off on the Trojans’ first possession. The West High defense set the tone early and started the game with a three and out shutting down the Lightning’s biggest threat, the run game.

Trey King ’21 and the Trojan offense settled in toward the end of the first quarter as they started to establish a run game of their own as they drove to the Liberty 11 yard line to finish the first quarter with a score of 0-0.

On the first play of the second quarter newcomer, King etched his name into the history books putting the Trojans on the board with a stellar 11-yard run to put West up 6-0 with 11:55 left in the first half.

A couple of dropped balls and throws offline kept Morgan and the offense out of the endzone the rest of the first half.

Tyler Meade’s defense put their head down and went to work up 6-0 through the majority of the second quarter holding the Liberty offense to only one first down in the first half to go along with their 6 on the whole night. Only being up 6-0 at the half doesn’t show what a rude awakening the class 4A West High defense was the whole first half for the Lightning.

Offensive coordinator Andrew Durham opened it all up the second half to get Morgan and the Trojan offense rolling with some short passes and runs for 10 to 12 yards each to King and top returning wide receiver Grahm Goering ’21 who finished with five catches for 93 yards. Morgan punched in his first touchdown of the night on a 13-yard run with 6:30 left in the third quarter to put West up 13-0.

Junior Will Towler came up big only a couple minutes later in the third when he recovered a Liberty fumble on the Lightning 32-yard line with 5:48 left in the third.

The Trojans took advantage of the Liberty turnover right away as Morgan who threw for 201 yards on the night cashed in for his second touchdown of the night on a 2-yard pass to running back Boaz Abramoff ’22 to make it 20-0, Trojans with 5 minutes left in the third.

The Trojans leading returning tackler Ian McAreavy ’21 was a big part of holding Liberty’s run-heavy offense to only 97 yards of total offense and zero pass attempts.

Morgan and Goering put the cherry on top to an exciting night for the Trojans with a 22-yard pass to Goering, where he made one man miss at the line for Morgan’s third touchdown of the night to put the Trojans up 27-0 only a couple minutes into the fourth quarter.

The football team defeated new cross-town rival Liberty 27-0 to start the season with a record of 1-0. The Trojans’ will be back in action next week at home for another adrenaline-filled game against City High and the Battle for the Boot on Sep. 4.