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CEDAR FALLS — The Iowa High School Athletic Association state football semifinals begin Thursday.
The round opens with 8-player matchups followed by Class 3A. Class A and 4A will play Friday. Semifinals conclude with Classes 1A and 2A on Saturday. All semifinal games will be held at the UNI-Dome.
In 8-player, Midland (9-2) faces defending state champion and top-ranked Don Bosco (11-0), kicking things off at 9:06 a.m. Third-ranked Remsen St. Mary’s (10-0) plays Fremont-Mills (9-2) at 12:06 p.m.
In 3A, top-ranked Cedar Rapids Xavier (11-0) takes on No. 3 Solon (11-0), starting at 8:21 p.m. The other semifinal matches fourth-ranked Pella (10-1) with No. 6 Harlan (10-1), beginning at 5:36 p.m.
On Friday, top-ranked Iowa City West (11-0) leads off 4A semifinals with a game against No. 4 Bettendorf (10-1), which is set for 4:06 p.m. Second-ranked West Des Moines Dowling (10-1) will try to avenge a regular season loss to No. 7 Ankeny Centennial (9-2). They are scheduled to kickoff at 7:06 p.m.
Class A opens Friday competition with second-ranked Hudson (11-0) and No. 7 Saint Ansgar (11-0) at 10:06 a.m. Top-ranked West Sioux (11-0) plays No. 8 Council Bluffs Saint Albert (10-1) at 1:06 p.m.
Saturday consists of 1A and 2A games. Third-ranked Iowa City Regina (9-2) takes on No. 4 Pella Christian (11-0) in 1A at 10:06 a.m. The game is a rematch of last year’s quarterfinal. Top ranked West Lyon (11-0) faces No. 2 Van Meter (11-0) in the other 1A semifinal at 1 p.m.
In 2A, top-ranked Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley (10-1) faces No. 5 Waukon (10-1), starting at 4:06 p.m. In a battle of wild card teams, ninth-ranked Union Community (8-3) plays Williamsburg (9-2), which is scheduled for 7:06 p.m.
Midland (9-2) vs. No. 1 Don Bosco (11-0)
* When/Where — 9:06 a.m. Thursday, UNI-Dome
* How they got here — Midland came from behind to win a wild 52-50 quarterfinal over No. 9 Tripoli. Don Bosco continued its domination of opponents, shutting out HLV, 62-0.
* Overview — The game is a rematch of the season opener and last year’s state semifinal that Don Bosco, 72-0. Midland gave Don Bosco its closest game all season, falling 60-26 to the Dons to start this season. Midland is riding a five-game win streak and boasts the state’s leading rusher in Austin Smith, who has 2,832 yards and 46 touchdowns. Smith has rushed for 562 yards and seven TDs in two postseason games. Smith has also has thrown for 478 yards and five TDs, second on the team to Britan Martens, who has 640 and 15. Don Bosco makes its third straight semifinal appearance and has won 19 straight games. The defending state champion hasn’t allowed a single point in the playoffs, posting two 62-0 victories. The Dons’ high-powered offense has scored at least 60 points in every contested game this season. Don Bosco QB Wyatt Sawvel is seventh in 8-Player with 2,215 combined passing and rushing yards. Sawvel has thrown for 1,191 yards and 23 yards, adding 1,024 and 25 TDs on the ground.
CLASS 3A SEMIFINAL
No. 1 Cedar Rapids Xavier (11-0) vs. No. 3 Solon (11-0)
* When/Where — 8:21 p.m. Thursday, UNI-Dome
* How they got here — Xavier outscored Davenport Assumption in a 49-point first half and shutout the Knights in the second half for a 44-21 victory. Solon built a 35-0 halftime lead and throttled West Delaware 54-14.
* Overview — Irresistible force meets immovable object in this contest, featuring two of Class 3A’s best defenses. Solon has recorded six shutouts, allowing 37 points all season, which comes out to a mere 3.4 points per game. The 14 points surrendered to West Delaware last week was a season high. The Spartans have held opponents to 136.9 yards per game, including 73.3 passing yards per contest. Solon’s defense has contributed to the team’s 40.9 points a game, scoring seven TDs off 33 turnovers, which includes 16 interceptions. Hunter Kula has rushed for 855 yards and 10 TDs and Kendrick Harris has added 831 yards and 10 TDs for Solon. Cam Miller has 1,706 passing yards with 24 TDs, connecting with A.J. Coons for 552 yards and eight scores. Xavier’s defense has been impressive as well, shutting out four foes and not allowing more than 21 points in a game. The Saints allow an average of just 8.4 points a game. The Saints have forced 23 turnovers, including four picks from both McClain Burger and Quinn Schulte and two from Justin Schneider. Burger has led the way with 44 total tackles and eight solo tackles for loss. Burger and Jacob Hines are tied for the team lead with three sacks. Xavier’s special teams have flourished, returning four punts back for TDs thanks to two from Braden Stovie in the quarterfinals. Schulte’s move to quarterback has been successful, amassing 1,743 total yards. Schulte has thrown for 978 and 13 TDs. He has rushed for 765 yards and 16 scores. Stovie has become the Saints leading rusher with 833 yards, adding six TDs.
CLASS 4A SEMIFINAL
No. 1 Iowa City West (11-0) vs. No. 4 Bettendorf (10-1)
* When/Where — 4:06 p.m. Friday, UNI-Dome
* How they got here — West has rolled in the first two rounds, using two fourth-quarter scores to pull away from No. 6 Cedar Falls for a 27-9 quarterfinal victory. Bettendorf defeated North Scott, 31-21.
* Overview — Iowa City West makes it second straight semifinal appearance, earning a runner-up finish a year ago. The Trojans have established their run game behind Trumell Roberts, who rushed for 130 yards against the Tigers and 183 in the first round against Cedar Rapids Washington. Roberts leads a balanced run attack with 738 yards. Andre White has 559, which is one more than QB Evan Flitz, who ranks third in 4A with 2,347 passing yards and 26 TDs through the air. Traevis Buchanan has been the top target, catching 59 passes for 949 yards and 13 TDs. Jalen Gaudet has 558 receiving yards on 36 catches, giving Flitz another potent option. The Trojans have tallied 11 total sacks and four turnovers in the playoffs. Bettendorf quarterback Carter Bell is a dual threat. Bell has thrown for 1,303 and 17 TDs, completing more than 70 percent of his passes without an interception in 124 attempts this season. Nijel McIntosh has 1,153 rushing yards and 17 TDs, including 375 yards and three TDs on the ground during the playoffs.
CLASS 1A SEMIFINAL
No. 3 Iowa City Regina (9-2) vs. No. 4 Pella Christian (11-0)
* When/Where — 10:06 a.m. Saturday, UNI-Dome
* How they got here — Regina rebounded from a hard-fought double-overtime win with a 35-0 whipping of Wilton. Pella Christian handled Pleasantville, 44-6.
* Overview — Iowa City Regina is making its eight straight state semifinal appearance, going 7-0 during the current streak. The Regals had their string of six consecutive state titles (four in 1A and two in 2A) snapped last year by Western Christian. Regina reached last year’s semifinal with a 45-43 victory over Pella Christian, who is making its first semifinal in 10 postseasons. Regina is second in 1A with 2,150 passing yards. Regina QB Michael Conlon leads the way with 1,594 yards and 16 TDs. Jacob Phillips has been his most consistent receiver with 36 catches for 499 yards and five scores. Jacob Vollstedt heads the rush attack with 1,020 yards and 16 TDs, averaging 8.4 yards a carry. Conlon has added 315 yards and nine TDs on the ground. Pella is second in 1A with 3,098 rushing yards, including 1,000-yard rushers in Noah Treimer and Hayden Vroom. Treimer has 1,340 yards and 16 TDs, while Vroom has 1,041 and 19 TDs. Regals have allowed 112.4 rushing yards a game against 1A foes.
CLASS 2A SEMIFINAL
No. 5 Waukon (10-1) vs. No. 1 Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley (10-1)
* When/Where — 4:06 p.m. Saturday, UNI-Dome
* How they got here — Waukon has put up 80 points in the playoffs, dropping 10th-ranked New Hampton, 34-13, in the quarterfinals. Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley survived a challenge from No. 6 South Central Calhoun, winning, 28-20.
* Overview — Waukon leads 2A in total offense thanks to a potent duo in QB Abe Schwartz and running back Mitchell Snitker. Schwartz has 2,544 total yards, throwing for 2,044 and 21 TDs. Snitker has rushed for 1,680 yards, which ranks second in 2A. Snitker’s 22 rushing TDs is tied for first. Snitker has 31 total TDs, returning a kickoff, interception and fumble for touchdowns. Evan Armstead and Isaiah Welch have combined for 1,183 yards on 63 catches and 12 scores for Waukon, the 2A leading in passing with 2,224 yards. Waukon has scored more than 50 points in seven games this season, averaging a little more than 46 points per game. Waukon has outscored two playoff opponents, 80-29. BH/RV’s J.T. Van’t Hul is one of the top players in the state, leading 2A in total passing and rushing yardage. He has 2,706 total yards, including 1,684 through the air. Cade Moser is among class leaders with 781 yards on 41 coaches and eight TDs. BH/RV, the defending state champ, has won nine straight and hasn’t allowed more than 20 points in a game during that stretch.
CLASS 2A SEMIFINAL
No. 9 Union Community (8-3) vs. Williamsburg (9-2)
* When/Where — 7:06 p.m. Saturday, UNI-Dome
* How they got here — Union Community scored 22 points in the fourth quarter, including a field goal and touchdown in the final four seconds to avenge a loss and beat No. 2 Cascade, 22-14. Williamsburg also avenged a loss, dropping No. 3 Mount Vernon, 24-14.
* Overview — Both teams earned at-large berths to the playoffs and one will play for a state title next week. Earlier this season Williamsburg was top-ranked but two twice in a three week span, falling out of the rankings. The Raiders rebounded with two straight postseason wins over top-five teams. Williamsburg is the top rushing team in 2A thanks to 2A’s leading rusher Gage Hazen-Fabor, who has 2,168 yards on 239 carries with 22 TDs, averaging 9.1 yards per carry. Williamsburg’s defense has forced 24 turnovers this season, allowing less than 13 points per game in its 10 victories. Union Community also beat two ranked foes, shutting out Aplington-Parkersburg, 42-0. Union’s offense is led by QB Troy Hanus, who has set a program record with 2,042 passing yards. Hanus has thrown for 21 TDs. Koby Alpers has been a big-play target for Hanus, tallying 802 yards on 41 catches with 11 TDs. Britton Rolison has added 662 yards on 37 receptions and six TDs. Kaleb Roach is the Knights top rusher with 844 yards and 12 scores. The Knights defense has been stingy in their eight wins, giving up a mere 53 points (6.6 points per win) in eight victories.
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