Morgan leads Trojans to state quarterfinals

Garrett Hartwig’s squad used a big second half to pick up their sixth win of the year against a solid Dubuque Hempstead defense Oct. 30.


Alyssa Skala

The Trojan’s defensive line prepares for the next play Oct. 30.

Owen Aanestad, Online Editor-In-Chief

In what was supposed to be a week four matchup between the two best teams in eastern Iowa, the Trojans finally had their time to shine tonight — but with more on the line than a Mississippi Valley Conference championship. The Trojans approved to 6-0 on the year and advanced to the state quarterfinals with a 38-24 win over Dubuque Hempstead Oct. 30.

Owen Smith ’21 pushed one through the uprights only a couple of minutes into the first quarter after the Mustangs coughed up the opening kickoff right into the hands of junior Nate Gudenkauf to put the Trojans up early 3-0.

Some costly penalties held back Tyler Meade’s defense throughout the first quarter as West went into the second quarter down 3-10 for one of their first deficits of the year.

Marcus Morgan ’21 drove the Trojan offense down the field all night with some big third-down completions and mobility in and out of the pocket. Morgan punched in his first touchdown of the night to tie up the ball game at 10 early in the second quarter.

Hempstead’s shifty quarterback was too much to handle as the Mustangs went back up 10-17 with 8:45 left in the second quarter.

A big return from Grahm Goering ’21 set up Andrew Durham’s offense well into Hempstead territory where senior Trey King made a man miss at the goal line to tie the game at 17 with six minutes left in the second quarter.

Back to back, big stops from the Trojan defense and a last-second Goering interception took West into the half tied 17-17.

Morgan and the Trojan offense couldn’t capitalize off a big return from Mikey Brown ’21 to start the second half, but like many times last night, the defense picked up some slack and got a big stop which set up another Morgan to Goering connection to put West up 24-17 through the rest of the third quarter.

Hempstead stayed persistent and tied it up at 24 with 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter.

West High’s offense came alive with the game on the line in the fourth quarter when Morgan found Goering for the second time of the night, including a nice fade route in the corner of the endzone to put the Trojans up 31-24.

Morgan sealed the deal with 3:47 left in the fourth quarter when he faked out the whole Hempstead defense and tiptoed the sideline for a 39-yard touchdown run to put West up 38-24.

Garrett Hartwig’s team advances to the state quarterfinals where they will play undefeated Pleasant Valley for a trip to the UNI-Dome.