High-school football fights for Iowa City bragging rights

Friday night football takes over Iowa City once again, as Iowa City West and Iowa City High duke it out for the Battle of the Boot.

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The Daily Iowan; Photos by Josep

West High players place “W” stickers on their gold helmets after a West High 4A Mississippi Valley Conference high school football practice at West High on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017. The Trojans are 3-0 heading into their cross-town rivalry with 1-2 City High. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)

Sean Bock, [email protected]

There’s a certain buzz around Iowa City.

Yes, the Hawkeyes are 2-0 but tonight, college football takes a back seat — there’s a battle on for Iowa City.

No. 2 Iowa City West (3-0) will travel across the river to face crosstown rival City High (1-2) in the annual Battle for the Boot.

Although the Trojans, who are coming off a wild 32-31 comeback win over No. 8 Cedar Falls Sept. 8, are the favorites in this one, it’s a rivalry game.

Anything can happen.

“We understand the rivalry and the tradition, but for us, it’s all about getting ready for district play, which is next, and that’s the most important part of the season,” West head coach Garrett Hartwig said. “I think almost every 4A team understands that. We haven’t won a district game yet, we’re 3-0, but I would trade in those three wins for a district win right now.”

RELATED: Cyclones get the best of Hawks in Little Cy-Hawk

The Little Hawks are stuck in a two-game losing streak after a 56-33 loss in Ames in the Little Cy-Hawk matchup.

City High is led by quarterback Bryce Hunger and standout wide receiver Zach Jones, who tallied 256 receiving yards last week.

“Jones is a really good player,” West safety Cole Mabry said. “He had 16 receptions last week, so we’re trying to stop them and [key in] on him this week. They have playmakers. Hunger is a threat to run, and he’s got a good arm, too, so we’ll have our hands full.”

Mabry, who has an offer from Iowa State, has some talented teammates on the defensive end who can shut down the prolific City High passing attack.

Iowa commitment Dillon Doyle leads the Trojans defense from the linebacker position along with seniors Trumell Roberts and Caden Fedeler.

On Wests’ offense, quarterback Evan Flitz and star wideouts Traevis Buchanan and Jalen Gaudet headline one of the most explosive attacks in the state.

The City High defense will have its hands full after giving up 56 points in Ames last week and 35 points against Pleasant Valley in Week 2.

“We’re confident,” Mabry said. “We’ve had a pretty solid week of practice so far. Last week, we certainly didn’t play our best football the whole game but still came out with the win, so we know we have a lot to work on and feel if we can put it all together, then we’ll be solid.”

In last year’s competition, the Little Hawks came away with a 20-7 victory — their second-straight win in the series.

“There’s [got to] be a little more hype going into this one,” Mabry said. “It’s a rivalry game, and it’s City. But we try to approach it like any other game and not try to blow it up too big, because we just have to go play West high football.”

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