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Trojans survive Lin-Mar Lions with upset win

Yeshuwa Hicks lets out a joyous yell after the West High Trojans upset the Linn-Mar Lions in a Class 4A second round playoff game Monday, Nov. 3, in Marion. (photo by Chris Umscheid)

MARION– They never say die.
The Iowa City West High Trojans were down 31-34 with just over two minutes left in the game Monday, Nov. 3, as they faced the Linn-Mar Lions in the second round of Class 4A playoffs. A drive of over 90 yards ensued and ended with Yeshuwa Hicks making an 8-yard run for a touchdown with 25 seconds left in the game. After Connor Gordon’s extra point kick, the Trojans had a 38-34 lead and the win.
The Lions struck first, scoring with 7:52 left in the first quarter on their second possession with a 80-plus yard run. A successful point after kick gave the home team a 7-0 lead. Hicks scored with 59.8 seconds left in the period, running the ball to the house on third down and 3 yards to go. Gordon’s kick tied the game at 7-all.
A West High drive in the second quarter was held back by the Lion defense, leading to a field goal attempt by Gordon, which gave the Trojans a 10-7 lead. The Lions answered by grinding out a touchdown run to take the lead back at 14-10. The Trojans retaliated with Aaron Bleil connecting with Oliver Martin for a touchdown reception with 5:40 left in the half. Once again, Gordon booted in the extra point and West was back on top 17-14.
A 5-yard dash put a Lion in the end zone for a 21-17 advantage, but West held the high ground at the halftime break as Bleil connected with Tyler Eads for another Trojan touchdown with 19.4 seconds remaining. This time however, Gordon’s kick ricocheted off of the upright, foiling the extra point and making it a 23-21 lead.
Linn-Mar put another seven points on the board in the third quarter with a 5-yard run to score after punting to the Trojans, who fumbled the ball allowing the Lions to recover and head for the red zone on a first down. In the fourth quarter, the Lions scored on a 4-yard run, however the extra point attempt fell victim to a fumble making it a 34-23 situation for the Trojans.
“We’ve been in this situation all year long,” West coach Garrett Hartwig said. “We’ve been down but we don’t quit, these kids are coached not to quit.”
Bleil scored on a keeper and tossed to Conner Greene for a two-point conversion for the 34-31 deficit. A quartet of completions by Eads and Martin set the table for Hicks’ final score.
The win boosted West’s record to 7-4 overall, retired the Lions at 9-2 and punched the Trojans’ ticket to a quarterfinal round match up Friday, Nov. 7, against top-ranked and undefeated Cedar Rapids Washington at Kingston Stadium in Cedar Rapids.