Little Hawks Keep The Boot

After winning at City High 14-12 in last year’s “Mud Bowl”, the Little Hawks kept the Boot by defeating the Trojans 20-7 at Trojan Field.


Jonathan House

City High players celebrate by holding up the Boot after beating West High

Fans across town had waited for it all week. The City vs. West “Battle for the Boot” always draws the attention of many fans across Iowa City. This year was no different. Fans came from the east side of town, the west side of town, and even a few North Dakota State Bison fans, who were in town for the NDSU game against the Hawkeyes on Saturday combined to pack both sides of Trojan field. After a slow start and a lot of first half turnovers, the Little Hawks were able to shut down the Trojans, holding them to just seven points. City keeps the boot for the second straight year, winning 20-7.

“It’s a bragging rights game, it’s memories that they’ll have for their entire life, and that’s what makes this game special,” Offensive Coordinator Joe Wilcox said after the game.

After two early fumbles that killed drives for both teams, the Little Hawks were able to string together a drive and take the lead on a touchdown run by Bryce Frantz ’17 at the end of the first quarter.

Frantz’s touchdown was the only scoring play of the first half. West had a chance to get on the board but failed to capitalize after West High kicker Lucas Karwal ’18 missed a field goal. The two teams combined for six first half turnovers and only seven points. City had three fumbles, while West had two interceptions and a fumble that killed a drive in the first quarter. City had another chance to score at the end of the half. Naeem Smith ’17 caught a pass, was hit hard at the ten on what the City High bench believed to be a targeting penalty. He wouldn’t return for the second half. Smith fumbled in the redzone, stalling another Little Hawk drive right before the half.

“I think our kids responded very well to that, I don’t know for sure what happened, it didn’t look good from what we saw, it’s a tough thing for the officials,” Head Coach Dan Sabers said.

City got the ball to start the second half, and wasted no time on expanding its lead. Zach Jones ’18 took the second half kickoff to the West High 40. On the next play, quarterback Nate Wieland ’17 found Jones down the sideline for 34 yards. A few plays later, Wieland would punch it in for the score.

“When we came out [of the locker room], we knew our main focus was keeping control of the ball, because we didn’t have trouble moving the ball, we had trouble putting points on the board,” Wieland said.

The Little Hawks would add to their lead on Bryce Frantz’s second touchdown of the night later in the quarter. West was able to score once on a well drawn up screen play, but the Little Hawks were able to shut down the Trojans and star receiver Oliver Martin ’17 for most of the game.

“We were able to get pressure on the quarterback, we tackled pretty well and our secondary was outstanding,” Sabers said praising his defense.

This was the first time that the Little Hawks had won the boot in back to back years since they won it for six consecutive years from 2005-2011. City also snapped a string of five straight boot games that the home team had won.