Mustangs stampede Osawatomie

Iola opened the 2021 season by thrashing visiting Osawatomie, 38-0.

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September 3, 2021 - 3:53 PM

Iola High defenders Sam Fager, top, and Trent Jones force a fumble while teammates Adam Atwell, from left, and Tyler Boeken are ready to pounce on the ball. Atwell came up with the recovery, one of three Osawatomie turnovers in the Mustangs’ 38-0 season-opening victory Thursday. REGISTER/RICHARD LUKEN

HUMBOLDT — Sure, there were some missteps. 

A penalty here, a missed block there — not unexpected for a team seeking to replace several starters this year — stalled a number of potential scoring drives for Iola High Thursday.

But when things were clicking, the Mustangs put on quite a show.

Spearheaded by senior wideout Brett Willis and sophomore quarterback Landon Weide on offense, and an opportunistic defense, Iola opened the 2021 season by thrashing visiting Osawatomie, 38-0.

The contest was played at the Humboldt Sports Complex and moved up a day because of damage to the football field at Iola’s Riverside Park.

Regardless of location, the lightning-quick Willis proved quite a headache for the Trojan defenders.

Unofficially, he touched the ball only five times on offense — three receptions and two carries — and scored three touchdowns in the process.

“He opens the offense a lot,” Iola head coach David Daugharthy said. “I knew he had some moves in him, but I hadn’t seen them on display like he had tonight.”

Willis opened the scoring with a 13-yard touchdown catch from Weide, three plays after senior linebacker Adam Atwell gave the Mustangs pristine field position with a fumble recovery at the Osawatomie 17.

Willis’s second score was a byproduct of pure speed, as he outraced the Trojan defenders on an 8-yard end-around.

Iola High’s Landon Weide, left, is congratulated by assistant coach Ben Weihn after throwing a first-half touchdown pass Thursday in a 38-0 win over Osawatomie. REGISTER/RICHARD LUKEN

But the third quarter was the one that left the Iola crowd abuzz.

One play after Iola’s TJ Taylor picked off an Osawatomie pass, Weide found Willis on a short pass before the speedster zigged, zagged, spun and twisted his way through the weary Osawatomie defense for what became a 37-yard touchdown.

Unofficially, Willis covered 52 yards on his three catches, while Weide was 10 of 19 for 192 yards and four touchdowns.

That’s not bad for the lanky sophomore, who beat out two others for the starting quarterback job in preseason.

Accentuating his poise in the pocket and a nice touch on short passes, Weide also showed off his throwing arm, arcing a pair of perfect spirals to Taylor and Sam Fager for touchdowns covering 61 and 26 yards, respectively.

“You used the word: poise,” Daugharthy said. “We had a battle, three guys fighting for that  quarterback spot. He won it, because He’s the most poised back there, the most in control.

“He showed exactly what I’ve seen every time he steps on the field,” Daugharthy continued. “He makes plays you wouldn’t expect. I’m really pleased with how he played tonight.”

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