ELDRIDGE — Kevin Tippet admitted he wasn’t completely happy with the way his offense performed Friday night in its season opener.
North Scott made a bunch of mistakes and committed numerous penalties to put itself in uncomfortable, unwieldy situations.
Fortunately, the Lancers appear to have another ferocious defense.
They contained perennial power Iowa City West and quarterback Marcus Morgan for most of the night and did enough offensively to claim a 14-7 conquest of the visiting Trojans at Lancer Field.
"Morgan is good, very good, but our defense just played great," Tippet said. "We were persistent and played hard, and we were getting to the ball. And when he got away, we always seemed to have two more guys waiting to make the play."
Iowa City West managed just 11 yards rushing in the contest with Morgan finishing with a minus-7. The son of former Iowa basketball player Michael Morgan managed to pass for 157 yards, but 103 of those came on two plays. The Trojans finished with only five first downs.
"The whole week we just said we have to be physical and we have to be relentless," said North Scott linebacker Ben Belken, who joined junior Joey Petersen in making many of the biggest plays. "That’s what we were, and it all worked out."
The offense did its share as running back Quentin Allison rushed for 109 yards and quarterback Jake Matthaidess added 108 in his first career start.
Matthaidess scored both Lancer touchdowns — on a 13-yard run in the second quarter and a 6-yard dash in the third — and was at his best in the final minutes.
He ran for three consecutive first downs as the Lancers controlled the ball for the final 5 minutes, 22 seconds, not allowing Morgan and the West offense to get back on the field.
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"I was really nervous coming in," admitted Matthaidess, a senior who won out in a hard-fought battle for the starting QB job. "I was just anxious to get going. It was absolutely amazing. It’s so different when you get out here under the Friday night lights."
Matthaidess’ second touchdown gave the Lancers a 14-0 edge with 3:56 remaining in the third quarter, but that’s when Morgan got loose for one of the few times all night.
Just four plays later, he launched a 61-yard scoring pass to Graham Goering, who got wide open behind the North Scott secondary, slicing the lead to 14-7.
The Trojans got the ball back only two more times after that, however. On their final series, Carter Schmidt sacked Morgan for a 7-yard loss on third down and Layne Hamann batted down a fourth-down pass to give the Lancers the ball at their own 42.
Matthaidess then clicked off runs of 9, 12 and 10 yards to eat up the clock.
The Lancers rolled up 215 yards rushing in the victory, but Tippet wasn’t too wild about 10 penalties for 82 yards.
"We just need to be more consistent," he said. "We can’t have all these penalties. If we can execute offensively, we’re going to be a pretty good team."
The win avenged a 28-7 loss to West in the season opener a year ago that Belken admitted "left a sour taste in our mouths."
"The thing about that game last season, we lost 28-7 but it was a 14-7 game late in the third quarter," Tippet said. "We just had no offense and the game got away from us."