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, Jeff Johnson, K.J. Pilcher and Nathan Ford can gain for 4 Downs:
1st & 10: Which team had the best rebound from Week 1 to Week 2?
Linder: Waukon. The Indians bounced back nicely from their loss at Waverly-Shell Rock to blank Decorah.
Johnson: It has been a tough go for Starmont, a traditionally strong football program that has had a recent season canceled because of low number of players. The Stars have won eight games since 2014. After a 20-6 loss in Week 1 to Sumner-Fredericksburg, the Stars rebounded last week with a 42-38 win over Bellevue. That’s the most points Starmont has scored in a game since 2015.
Pilcher: Lisbon. After a tough 12-6 loss to West Branch, the Lions dominated North Cedar, 58-6. Lisbon outgained North Cedar 417-116. The Lions defense forced three turnovers and had 15 tackles for loss.
Ford: I had Ankeny Centennial in my preseason Class 5A rankings but quickly dropped the Jaguars following a 42-13 loss to Indianola. Now I'll have to reconsider after they bounced back to beat then-No. 2 Ankeny 14-7.
2nd & long: Are you buying or selling these 2-0 teams: Dyersville Beckman, Iowa City High and North Linn?
Linder: I'm in on all of them (though the wise thing would have been to buy low at the beginning of the season). Beckman's game this week at Monticello will be among the most intriguing in the area.
Johnson: Buying big time on Beckman and North Linn. Need to see a little more from City High, though there’s no doubt first-year coach Mitchell Moore has injected some enthusiasm into the program. Schedule sets up for the Little Hawks to win at least six games. At least.
Pilcher: Buy. Buy. Buy. North Linn is 2-0 against teams that are .500 with decisive victories. The Lynx and City High haven’t allowed a point through the first two weeks. The Little Hawks have outscored foes, 109-0, so far. Beckman turned some heads with the opening win over Camanche and followed with a shutout.
Ford: I'm buying Iowa City High because of the talent on that team but these next three weeks (Ames, West Des Moines Dowling, Iowa City West) will be tough. Dyersville Beckman was an easy buy after a 28-14 Week 1 win over Camanche. I thought I'd be a little more cautious with North Linn, but looking at the schedule I actually think the Lynx could run the table. Will that translate into playoff success? Well, there is no Iowa City Regina in Eastern Iowa Class A this year so give me North Linn stock too.
3rd & short: What individual performance caught your attention from Week 2?
Linder: I'll go with the game I attended. Since we take stats at the games we cover, we are (at least I am) forced to watch the ball. But Friday, when Xavier had the ball, I watched West Delaware LB Wyatt Voelker (who usually ended up close to the ball anyway). The kid's a force.
Johnson: How about Highland’s Brenton Bonebrake? Other than the perfect last name for a football player, he rushed 17 times for 244 yards and four touchdowns in a 48-20 win over Columbus Community. He also caught four passes for 103 yards and a TD.
Pilcher: Cade Molyneux was a “Swiss Army Knife” for Sigourney-Keota in a 42-12 win over Mid-Prairie. The senior rushed for 248 yards and three touchdowns, averaging 7.8 yards per carry. He also passed for 33 yards and a touchdown. He also had a couple tackles, a tackle for loss and a fumble recovery.
Ford: It came in a loss but Mount Vernon's Trenton Pitlik put on a show against Solon. He ran for 145 yards and three touchdowns on 15 attempts and added 98 yards and a TD on four catches. He did his damage with speed and with the ability to bounce off Solon tacklers. The Mustangs lost 41-27 but led 21-14 at halftime and should remain a team to watch this season.
4th & goal: Cedar Rapids Washington wore black jerseys with white numbers and black pants with red helmets instead of traditional school colors. Colleges, especially Iowa State, have done this. Do you like the trend?
Linder: If done in moderation (maybe once a season), I'm fine with it. Black jerseys with white numbers ... as long as the numbers are readable from the press box, I'm fine with just about anything.
Johnson: I don’t like ‘em, but the kids do, and it’s all about the kids. By the way, look at Wash’s helmets. The “Wash” script looks just like the New York Giants, which is no coincidence. Warriors Coach Mo Blue is a huge Giants fan.
Pilcher: At first, I didn’t like it. Consider that my “OK, Boomer” moment. My view has softened. The players knew the team was purchasing alternate uniforms and likely had input. We’ve seen different colored uniforms for special causes and honoring the past. The trend can be fun for players, which matters most.
Ford: I'm of the belief that teams should embrace their school colors, but I don't mind the occasional alternate jersey. Football teams wearing black still is much more excusable than the trend of basketball teams wearing grey a few years ago.