116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Upon further review, those five takeaways by Linn-Mar’s defense Friday ... not that extraordinary.
The Lions have been doing it, consistently, all season.
Linn-Mar has been a ball-hawking crew on its way to a 4-0 start, forcing 17 turnovers.
“The kids are buying in. They’re playing hard. They’re playing physical,” Coach Tim Lovell said after the Lions’ 36-7 rout of Cedar Rapids Washington on Friday.
“We put in a different defense. We’re just asking them to play assignment football. If they do that, they can see success. And it helps that the kids love each other.”
Linn-Mar was 1-5 last season, giving up 33.2 points per contest. Lovell came aboard from Marion in the offseason, and brought along expectations and demands.
“We’ve demanded accountability and excellence,” he said. “If they’re not doing their part, they’re going to have to reconsider what they’re doing.
“The kids have shown that they’re willing to be coached.”
And willing to shut teams down. The Lions are allowing 10.8 points per game. They surrendered just 77 yards to Washington, including minus-35 on the ground.
“I trust in our defense,” said Cam Guenther, whose two interceptions Friday upped his season total to five. “Coach Lovell put together a great game plan, and we trust in that. If the other team makes big plays, we don’t get down.
“Coach is great with the connections he makes with the players. It’s how he approaches every single day.”
Still, there is room for improvement. The Lions didn’t sustain drives offensively Friday, relying instead on some big plays.
“We’ve got to clean up our offensive line,” Lovell said.
Linn-Mar is scheduled to play Cedar Rapids Jefferson next week.
Cedar Rapids Kennedy’s midweek audible
Game day became a practice day. The weekend became two days of rest.
Cedar Rapids Kennedy’s Week 4 itinerary changed abruptly Tuesday when Coach Brian White was told that Cedar Rapids Jefferson could not field a varsity team, and would forfeit.
“We had just gotten on the practice field, it was about 4:20 in the afternoon when (Athletics Director Aaron) Stecker came up and told us that Jefferson wasn’t going to play,” White said. “It was probably for the best. I don’t know if that would have been good for football.
“So we went into scramble mode. We had already written up our Dubuque Senior (scouting) cards. We had a good week of prep for Senior.”
The forfeit victory moved Kennedy to 4-0, and there is a possibility that the Cougars will move to No. 1 in this week’s Class 5A rankings after Ankeny bumped top-rated Southeast Polk, 21-7.
“Should we be No. 1? I don’t know,” White said. “Ankeny has a very, very good football team. Southeast Polk is very, very good. But I think we can go out and match up with just about anybody.”
The Cougars continued prep for Dubuque Senior on Friday (they host the Rams next week), then White journeyed to the UNI-Dome to take in the Ankeny Centennial-Cedar Falls game.
Kennedy welcomes Cedar Falls in Week 6.
This weekend is a strict bye weekend
“The players and coaches have Saturday and Sunday off,” White said. “No responsibilities.”
Right on cue, here comes Williamsburg
In terms of pre-district scheduling, Williamsburg bit off a lot.
Iowa City Regina. Van Meter. Solon. And an 0-3 start.
“We have 10 new starters on offense. I probably should have thought through that a little better,” Coach Curt Ritchie said.
“We have gotten a little better each week, but it was hard to see against the three teams we started with.”
Not so hard now.
Williamsburg opened Class 2A District 6 play Friday with a 62-0 home blistering of Central Lee. It was 55-0 at halftime.
The Raiders traditionally start with an ambitious schedule. But this was taking it up a notch. Those first three opponents are 12-0.
“It’s hard. We have high expectations each and every year,” Ritchie said. “I think the last time we got to the Dome, we started 0-3.”
Actually, it was a 1-3 start in 2019. That was two years ago, when the Raiders finished 8-4 and advanced to the semifinals.
Williamsburg will be heavily favored to sweep through its district. The Raiders are at Centerville next week.