116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
The Gazette’s Iowa high school football staff pose and answer questions about the current season. See how much Jeff Linder, K.J. Pilcher and Nathan Ford can gain for 4 Downs:
1st & 10: What was the most surprising result from Week 1?
Linder: Waverly-Shell Rock's rout of Waukon was stunning. I had the Go-Hawks highly ranked preseason, but I didn't expect that by any means.
Pilcher: Easton Valley’s 60-14 whipping of Don Bosco was a shocker. The Dons have been a perennial powerhouse since their move to 8-Player. They are the ones normally doling out the lopsided losses. The River Hawks allowed just 14 points and shut out Don Bosco in the second half, which is the Dons’ lowest point total since a shutout loss to Northwood-Kensett Sept. 29, 2018. It was also the highest point total given up by Don Bosco since its 78-76 win over Murray on Nov. 8, 2012. Easton Valley quarterback Conor Gruver threw for 318 yards and eight TDs.
Ford: Cedar Rapids Prairie's 27-21 win over Pleasant Valley surprised me, especially considering the Hawks had a handful of starters out. PV is coming off a state semifinal appearance and had multiple Division I recruits on the field. Definitely looking forward to seeing the fourth-ranked Hawks at full strength now, but for me this game was also a reminder of the importance of program building and depth in high school football.
2nd & long: Which head coach had the most impressive debut win with their new school — Linn-Mar’s Tim Lovell, Iowa City High’s Mitch Moore or Clear Creek Amana’s Matt Haddy?
Linder: All three were impressive in their own ways. CCA showed a lot of resolve in rallying past Marion. But the ease in which both Linn-Mar and City High won was striking. I'm going to call a tie between Lovell and Moore.
Pilcher: Interestingly, Haddy could have been on the Marion sideline for his debut. Clear Creek Amana’s come-from-behind win was the most exciting. Lovell’s return to Linn-Mar was certainly noteworthy. Mitch Moore’s immediate impact at Iowa City High is the most impressive. City High has won just two games in each of the last four seasons. It is a certainty it will surpass those totals.
Ford: I'll give a slight nod to Moore. Iowa City Liberty is not in the biggest class this year, but the Lightning are in their fifth year of varsity football and beat City High each of the last two years. For the Little Hawks to start with a 41-0 win in a rivalry matchup confirms they're a team to keep an eye on.
3rd & short: Which game are you most excited for in Week 2?
Linder: Cedar Rapids Xavier at West Delaware. It's going to be physical. It's going to be fun.
Pilcher: Solon at Mount Vernon. The Spartans are ranked sixth and the Mustangs are No. 9 in Class 3A. They combined for 110 points in blowout opening-game victories. Two strong dual-threat QBs at work here. Own Brase had 218 combined yards and three scores, including 113 on the ground, in a 47-18 win over Anamosa. Blake Timmons amassed 284 total yards with 137 passing and four total TDs.
Ford: Cedar Rapids Washington vs. Marion on Thursday. This isn't a matchup we typically see in football, but these teams are now in the same class (4A). We have Washington ranked No. 3 and I'm excited to see the Warriors in a more-competitive setting. Marion lost its opener by just a point to Clear Creek Amana.
4th & goal: What football rivalry without a traveling trophy should create one?
Linder: A Kolache Trophy between Cedar Rapids Prairie and Cedar Rapids Jefferson would be a natural. If Cedar Rapids Xavier and Cedar Rapids Kennedy would renew their rivalry, how about The Twin Pines Trophy?
Pilcher: Clear Creek Amana and Iowa City Liberty should introduce a traveling trophy. The two growing communities border each other. There doesn’t seem to be much love lost between the two schools either. They should name it the “Bluebird Trophy.” The winning team also gets a celebratory breakfast Saturday morning at North Liberty’s Bluebird Cafe paid by the losing program.
Ford: Now that Marv Cook has stepped down as head coach at Iowa City Regina and is a legend at both schools, I propose Regina and West Branch play for the Cook Book. Each page can represent a year and is signed by the winning team's seniors, with whatever message they choose.