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Regina, Mount Vernon earn No. 1 spots in preseason football rankings

Prep football: Valley, Norwalk, Akron-Westfield, Don Bosco also on top in Gazette poll

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Iowa City Regina is in the midst of a championship monopoly, unprecedented in Iowa.

Our voters don’t see the dynasty ending this season.

The Regals — owners of six consecutive state titles — are a unanimous Class 1A No. 1 in The Gazette’s preseason football poll.

Other top-ranked teams are West Des Moines Valley (4A), Norwalk (3A), Mount Vernon (2A), Akron-Westfield (Class A) and Don Bosco (8-player).

Regina (13-1 last year) is the only defending champion to open the new season on top, and is the only team in any of the six classes to be a unanimous No. 1.

The Regals have won 82 of 84 games during their current run, engineered by Coach Marv Cook. They edged Western Christian, 35-28, for the 1A crown last year. Western (11-3) opens at No. 2 in 1A, followed by West Branch (11-1) and prolific running back Luke Lenoch.

Valley (10-3) edges crosstown rival (and three-time defending 4A champion) West Des Moines Dowling (13-0) in first-place votes (4-3) and points (67-66) for the top big-school billing. Valley is led by quarterback Rocky Lombardi, a Michigan State recruit.

Cedar Rapids Washington (10-2) starts at No. 3. Cedar Rapids Kennedy (13-1), which went from a 3-8 season in 2014 to 13-1 and a berth in the state finals last year, is No. 5.

Norwalk (12-2) is among the 3A teams trying to unseat No. 3 Pella (14-0), the two-time defending champion in that class. The Dutch defeated Norwalk, 31-17, in last year’s final.

Cedar Rapids Xavier (9-1) is second in 3A. The Saints have a pair of offensive weapons back in quarterback Bryce Schulte and running back Maliki Wilson.

Mount Vernon earned six first-place votes in 2A after an 11-3 season ended in the championship game last season. The Mustangs were beaten by Spirit Lake, which has moved up to 3A. University of Iowa recruit Tristan Wirfs spearheader the Mustangs’ lines. North Fayette Valley is No. 2 in 2A.

The top four teams in Class A are separated by only five points. Last year’s runner-up, Akron-Westfield (11-3) is No. 1, followed by Algona Garrigan (11-1). Defending-champion Gladbrook-Reinbeck (12-2) and Saint Ansgar (10-2) share the No. 3 spot.

Saint Ansgar is down from Class 1A this season.

Don Bosco (11-1) is the consensus pick in 8-player, with five first-place votes. No. 2 Fremont-Mills (9-2) and No. 3 Ar-We-Va (8-3) received one apiece.

This year’s poll committee consists of Jeff Johnson, K.J. Pilcher, Jeff Linder, Jeremiah Davis, Douglas Miles and Nathan Ford of The Gazette, along with Scott Unash of KGYM Radio.

THE GAZETTE PRESEASON FOOTBALL POLL

(First-place votes in parentheses)

CLASS 4A W-L Pts. Pvs

1. West Des Moines Valley (4) 10-3 67 —

2. West Des Moines Dowling (3) 13-0 66 —

3. Cedar Rapids Washington 10-2 42 —

4. Ankeny 9-2 39 —

5. Cedar Rapids Kennedy 13-1 38 —

6. Bettendorf 12-1 28 —

7. Johnston 9-3 23 —

8. Muscatine 6-4 18 —

9. Ankeny Centennial 8-3 17 —

10. Lewis Central 8-4 12 —

Others receiving votes: Iowa City High 10, Waukee 9, Pleasant Valley 8, Urbandale 6, Iowa City West 1, Southeast Polk 1.

CLASS 3A W-L Pts. Pvs

1. Norwalk (2) 12-2 55 —

2. Cedar Rapids Xavier (1) 9-1 47 —

3. Pella (4) 14-0 46 —

4. Harlan 8-2 35 —

5. Creston/Orient-Macksburg 6-5 25 —

(tie) Washington 7-3 25 —

7. Glenwood 8-2 24 —

8. Sioux City Heelan 8-2 21 —

9. Carroll 7-4 20 —

10. Dallas Center-Grimes 9-3 18 —

(tie) Spirit Lake 14-0 18 —

Others receiving votes: West Delaware 14, Gilbert 9, Ballard 8, Solon 5, Independence 4, South Tama 4, Grinnell 3, Sergeant Bluff-Luton 3, Webster City 1.

CLASS 2A W-L Pts. Pvs

1. Mount Vernon (6) 11-3 69 —

2. North Fayette Valley 10-3 59 —

3. Dike-New Hartford 11-2 41 —

4. Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley 8-3 39 —

5. Albia (1) 12-1 23 —

6. Aplington-Parkersburg 8-3 17 —

7. Central Lyon-GLR 7-5 14 —

(tie) Hampton-Dumont 8-3 14 —

(tie) Union 4-6 14 —

10. Williamsburg 7-4 13 —

Others receiving votes: Waukon 12, Monroe PCM 11, Mid-Prairie 10, Anamosa 9, South Central Calhoun 9, Garner-Hayfield/Ventura 7, Southeast Valley 6, Carroll Kuemper 5, Dyersville Beckman 4, Underwood 4, Central Lee 3, Baxter CMB 1, Clear Lake 1.

CLASS 1A W-L Pts. Pvs

1. Iowa City Regina (7) 13-1 70 —

2. Western Christian 11-3 57 —

3. West Branch 11-1 56 —

4. Pella Christian 7-4 41 —

5. Hinton 10-2 37 —

6. Denver 11-2 32 —

7. Madrid 8-3 27 —

8. Van Meter 11-2 25 —

9. Jesup 6-4 9 —

10. South Winneshiek 8-3 8 —

(tie) West Lyon 6-4 8 —

Others receiving votes: Logan-Magnolia 5, Panorama 4, Maquoketa Valley 3, Sibley-Ocheyedan 1, Sigourney-Keota 1, Wilton 1.

CLASS A W-L Pts. Pvs

1. Akron-Westfield (4) 11-3 53 —

2. Algona Garrigan 11-1 49 —

3. Gladbrook-Reinbeck (2) 12-2 48 —

(tie) Saint Ansgar (1) 10-2 48 —

5. West Sioux 11-1 37 —

6. West Hancock 7-3 29 —

7. Council Bluffs St. Albert 6-4 19 —

8. BGM 11-1 18 —

9. Montezuma 7-4 15 —

10. Hudson 8-3 14 —

Others receiving votes: Lisbon 10, Pekin 9, Lynnville-Sully 8, Earlham 7, Lawton-Bronson 6, Ridge View 5, Grundy Center 4, Alburnett 3, Sioux Central 3.

8-PLAYER W-L Pts. Pvs

1. Don Bosco (5) 11-1 63 —

2. Fremont-Mills (1) 9-2 36 —

3. Ar-We-Va (1) 8-3 35 —

4. Audubon 8-2 30 —

5. Coon Rapids-Bayard 6-4 27 —

6. Exira-EHK 8-2 23 —

(tie) Glidden-Ralston 11-1 23 —

8. Bedford 6-4 18 —

9. Elkader Central 11-1 17 —

(tie) Lenox 10-1 17 —

Others receiving votes: Lone Tree 16, Newell-Fonda 16, Turkey Valley 14, Ackley AGWSR 13, Janesville 7, Ruthven GTRA 7, East Mills 5, Easton Valley 5, Colo-Nesco 4, Midland 3, North Iowa 3, Iowa Valley 2, Stanton 1.

l Comments: (319) 368-8857; jeff.linder@thegazette.com

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