CEDAR RAPIDS - The Cedar Rapids Titans and Sioux Falls Storm have met in the conference title game in each of the past four seasons.
If the Titans have any hope to make it five, they will need to dig out of an ever-increasing hole.
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Area football capsules for Week 5.
Time and site — 7:15 p.m. Thursday, at Kingston Stadium
Records and rankings — Jefferson is 0-4 overall, 0-0 Class 4A District 5; third-ranked Washington is 4-0, 0-0.
Overview — This series has tilted drastically in Washington’s favor recently. Even last year, when the J-Hawks were enjoying their best season in quite some time, Washington beat them twice (including a 42-21 decision in the second round of the playoffs). The Warriors are a heavy favorite again against a J-Hawks unit that is allowing 41.5 points per game and has suffered in the second half of its games all season. Jefferson’s Tavian Rashed has collected 66.5 tackles. Washington QB Bryan Kunde has passed for 662 yards and nine touchdowns.
Time and site — 7:15 p.m. Friday, at John Wall Field
Records and rankings — Both teams are 3-1 overall, 0-0 Class 4A District 8. West is ranked No. 9.
Overview — Prairie rumbles into its district opener with a three-game winning streak, and the winner of this game probably has a leg up in the 4A-8 race. The Hawks have piled up 133 points in the last three weeks behind a diverse offense. Joseph Meyer has rushed for 470 yards and eight touchdowns, Dakota Simonson has passed for 413 yards and three touchdowns, and Levi Usher is averaging 25.7 yards per catch. West is coming off a 20-7 loss to Iowa City High in the Battle for the Boot, and looks to bounce back behind highly recruited receiver Oliver Martin (27 catches, 417 yards, four TDs).
Time and site — 7:15 p.m. Friday, at Clinton
Records and rankings — Both teams are 3-1 overall, 0-0 Class 4A District 7. City High is ranked No. 6.
Overview — Before the season, the 4A-7 race looked like a three-team battle for two playoff spots among City High, Muscatine and Bettendorf. Now, add Clinton to fray. The River Kings are a prolific outfit, ranking second in 4A in scoring at 45.3 points per game behind QB Johnny Sullivan, who has already passed for 1,254 yards and 15 touchdowns (against two interceptions). Gage Harris and Ty Wenzel both have 30-plus receptions. City High is riding high after a 20-7 win over Iowa City West last week, slowing the Trojans’ high-powered attack.
Time and site — 7:15 p.m. Friday, at Kingston Stadium
Records and rankings — Both teams are 2-2 overall, 0-0 Class 4A District 8.
Overview — Kennedy has righted itself after an 0-2 start, recording back-to-back routs against Dubuque Hempstead and Cedar Rapids Jefferson by a 94-7 margin. The Cougars are heavily favored to make it three in a row on Friday. Kennedy already has recorded 12 fumble recoveries. Rizaiha Maide leads the offense with 297 rushing yards and four touchdowns. Burlington quarterback L.T. Beck II has passed for 646 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Time and site — 7:15 p.m. Friday, at Ottumwa
Records and rankings — Linn-Mar is 1-3 overall, 0-0 Class 4A District 8. Ottumwa is 0-4, 0-0.
Overview — If Linn-Mar is going to make a dent in the 4A-8 race, a win Friday is an absolute must. The Lions are going to have to outscore people, because their defense is surrendering nearly 40 points per game. Neme Siaway paces the offense with 353 rushing yards. Ottumwa ranks 47th of the 48 teams in 4A offensively, averaging 6.5 points per game. Nik Batterson has rushed for 323 yards to lead the Bulldogs.
Time and site — 7:30 p.m. Friday, at Decorah
Records and rankings — Top-ranked Xavier is 4-0 overall, 2-0 Class 3A District 3. Decorah is 2-2, 1-1.
Overview — Xavier’s season was cut short in the second round of the 3A playoffs last year at the hands of Decorah, and the Saints surely will have that on their minds when they take the long trip north to Winneshiek County. Xavier climbed into a three-way tie at the top of The Gazette’s 3A rankings this week (along with Pella and Norwalk). Xavier’s Maliki Wilson ranks ninth statewide among 11-player RBs, with 741 rushing yards. The teams have one common opponent: Xavier routed Benton Community, which defeated Decorah last week in overtime.
Time and site — 7:15 p.m. Friday, at Thomas Park Field
Records and rankings — Maquoketa is 0-4 overall, 0-2 Class 3A District 4. Marion is 2-2, 1-1.
Overview — It’s official: Marion has climbed back to respectability. The Indians very nearly won their third straight game last week, and are solid favorites each of the next two weeks before the schedule ratchets up for the stretch run. Chris Mohwinkle and Owen Cartensen have combined for 600 rushing yards. Maquoketa has been outscored by a margin of 76-7 since district play began. Abe Kinrade has caught 15 passes for 205 yards and two TDs to lead the Cardinals.
Time and site — 7 p.m. Friday, at Riverside
Records and rankings — Top-rated Regina is 3-1 overall, 2-0 Class 1A District 4. Highland is 2-2, 0-2.
Overview — Regina had its toughest district encounter in quite some time last week, pulling away from Sigourney-Keota late in a 50-28 triumph. Another test awaits in Week 6 against Wilton. Jared Brinkman headlines the Regals’ defense with 28.5 tackles. The Regals target a pretty good passing attack exhibited by Highland. Jake Wood has passed for 618 yards and nine touchdowns. Trent Lasek, Chase Rath and Bill Burton all are in double-digits for catches.
Time and site — 7 p.m. Friday, at Bellevue
Records and rankings — Ninth-rated West Branch is 3-1 overall, 2-0 District 3. Bellevue is 4-0, 2-0.
Overview — Bellevue has been one of the biggest surprises in Eastern Iowa, routing its first four opponents to the tune of 190-21, but there’s a “however” involved. Those four teams are a combined 1-11, so this will be a big jump in competition for the Comets. This game features two of the top running backs in Class 1A — West Branch’s Luke Lenoch has netted 767 yards and 12 touchdowns; Bellevue’s Peter Kilburg’s numbers are nearly identical, 788 yards and 12 TDs. The Bears can be scored upon; they are allowing 23.2 points per game.
Time and site — 7:30 p.m. Friday, at Dyersville
Records and rankings — Second-ranked Union is 4-0 overall, 2-0 Class 2A District 4. Beckman is 2-2, 1-1.
Overview — Just another quality encounter in 2A-4. Union is one of three remaining district unbeatens (North Fayette Valley and Waukon are the others). The Knights are the 2A leaders in scoring offense (47.2 points per game) and scoring defense (1.5 ppg) and have recorded three shutouts. Quarterback Troy Hanus completes about 70 percent of his passes. Beckman’s Cody Goedken has intercepted three enemy passes.
Time and site — 7 p.m. Friday, at Winthrop
Records and rankings — Eighth-ranked Lisbon is 4-0 overall, 2-0 Class A District 4. East Buchanan is 2-2, 1-1.
Overview — The meat of Lisbon’s schedule has arrived. After three straight shutouts, the Lions were pushed to the end last week, scoring in the final minute for a 26-20 win over North Linn. East Buchanan and next week’s opponent, Wapsie Valley, will provide even bigger challenges. Jake Jennett has been a highly efficient quarterback, completing 27 of 46 passes for 583 yards and six touchdowns. The Bucs are in bounce-back mode after a 23-7 loss last week to Wapsie. Carter Downer has 403 rushing yards (and six touchdowns) in the bank.
Time and site — 7 p.m. Friday, at Wyoming
Records and rankings — Iowa Valley is 3-1 overall, 1-0 8-Player District 4. Midland is 4-1, 2-0.
Overview — Get the calculators ready, because this promises to be an offensive show. Midland is averaging 54.4 points per game behind the aerial antics of Alex Mertens (79 of 115, 1,133 yards, 15 TDs, 3 INTs) and Connor Harms (31 catches, 405 yards, 8 TDs). Iowa Valley, meanwhile, relies on the run. Bennett Goettsch is the workhorse with 695 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns. Both teams’ lone loss came at the hands of Don Bosco. Defensive stops will be precious.
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