116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
A dozen of the top area Iowa high school football games Friday. All games kick off at 7 p.m.
Dubuque Senior at Cedar Rapids Kennedy (Class 5A)
Place: Kingston Stadium
Records and rankings: Kennedy is 9-0 and ranked No. 1. Senior is 5-4 and unranked
Overview: These teams played Sept. 23 at Kingston, with Kennedy coming away with a 28-21 victory. The Cougars had exactly 190 yards passing and rushing in that game, a season theme for a balanced offense. Quarterback Carson Blietz has thrown for 1,519 yards and 17 touchdowns (to just five interceptions). Tight end Brenden Linde has seven TD catches, receiver Jeron Senters six. Running back Jazan Williams has rushed for 893 yards and 10 TDs. Senior ended the regular season with back-to-back losses to playoff teams Pleasant Valley and Cedar Falls. Jack Gilligan is one of the best QBs in the state, throwing for 2,114 yards and 17 touchdowns and rushing for 506 yards and six TDs.
Linn-Mar vs. West Des Moines Dowling (5A)
Place: Williams Stadium (Des Moines East)
Records and rankings: Linn-Mar is 7-2 and ranked 10th. Dowling is 6-3 and fifth ranked.
Overview: Linn-Mar lost last week’s regular-season finale to fourth-ranked Prairie, 36-20. Its other loss was to No. 2 Southeast Polk. Running back Carter Henderson is a 1,000-yard rusher, who has 15 TDs. Quarterback McKade Jelinek threw for over 1,110 yards and 13 scores. Dowling lost three of its first four games, to No. 2 SEP, No. 3 Ankeny and No. 7 Iowa City High. It played the majority of the regular season without starting QB Jaxon Smolik (broken collarbone), though he has returned, which makes the perennially strong Maroons a very tough playoff out. Dowling won seven consecutive big-school state titles before falling in last season’s semifinals to Ankeny.
Bettendorf at Cedar Rapids Prairie (5A)
Records and rankings: Bettendorf is 5-4 and not ranked. Prairie is 7-2 and ranked fourth.
Overview: Prairie lost its regular-season games by a combined four points, finishing with a RPI ranking of 4, behind Southeast Polk, Cedar Rapids Kennedy and West Des Moines Valley, in that order. The Hawks played their first three regular-season games without multiple starters, who were suspended but have returned. QB Brandon Vlcko has accumulated just over 1,800 yards passing and rushing with 20 TDs. Prairie won the regular-season encounter between these teams, 54-20.
Burlington at Cedar Rapids Xavier (4A)
Records and rankings: Unranked Burlington is 7-2. Xavier is 8-1 and rated No. 2.
Overview: While Xavier has been in the playoffs 16 years in a row, winning three state titles in that span, this is Burlington’s first playoff berth since 2012. Xavier lost in Week 4 to top-ranked North Scott, 20-8, but it has been comfortable wins since then. Wide receiver Aidan McDermott had a 50-catch regular season, scoring three TDs. He also is fourth on the team in tackles and has four interceptions, two pick-6s. Burlington lost to North Scott, 42-0, and Oskaloosa. The Grayhounds are run-centric, to say the least, having thrown 40 passes all season, with 14 completions. Running back Bryant Williams is terrific, rushing for 2,025 yards and 27 TDs.
Cedar Rapids Washington at Waverly-Shell Rock (4A)
Records and rankings: Washington is 5-4 and not ranked. Waverly-Shell Rock is ranked fifth with an 8-1 record.
Overview: Washington rebounded from a four-game losing streak midseason to win its final three games and claim a ‘wildcard’ playoff spot. The Warriors have rolled with Watts McBride as primary ballcarrier down the stretch, and he has been productive: 526 rushing yards and six TDs. He also is second on the team in receptions and third in tackles as a safety. W-SR’s lone loss was to West Delaware, 14-6. The Go-Hawks have rushed for over 2,000 yards, with several contributors. McCrae Hagarty has led the way with 923 yards and 12 TDs.
Urbandale at Iowa City High (5A)
Records and rankings: Urbandale comes in 7-2 and ranked ninth. City High is 8-1 and rated No. 7.
Overview: City High’s lone loss came Oct. 8 to Pleasant Valley, 31-14. The Little Hawks’ RPI is just 7 because of a schedule that consisted of opponents with a 30-51 record, a win percentage that was second-to-last in all of 5A. The Little Hawks have excelled with a two-quarterback system, with both of those QBs sophomores. Quinton Tran and Drew Larson have combined to throw for 1,823 yards and 23 touchdowns, to just four interceptions. Urbandale’s losses were by seven points to Valley and one last week to Waukee Northwest. QB Peyton Rottinghaus has thrown for over 2,000 yards.
MFL MarMac at Iowa City Regina (1A)
Records and rankings: MFL MarMac has a 7-2 record and is unranked. Regina is 9-0 and No. 3.
Overview: Regina won its opening playoff game over Cascade, 41-19. MFL MarMac knocked off Denver, 18-13. Regina has won 20 games in a row, regular season included. MFL MarMac is a run-heavy team, with Cullen McShane rushing for 1,012 yards and 14 touchdowns. Gabe McGeough has added 927 yards and eight TDs. MFL MarMac’s losses have been to Dyersville Beckman and Waterloo Columbus. Levi Daniel has 991 yards rushing and 14 TDs for Regina. Quarterback Jack Tierney has thrown for 851 yards and nine scores. Two of Regina’s nine victories have come by forfeit.
West Branch at Dyersville Beckman (1A)
Records and rankings: West Branch is 7-2 and unranked. Beckman is No. 6 with a 9-0 record.
Overview: Beckman beat South Hardin in last week’s first round, 42-6. West Branch was a 35-6 winner over Eldon Cardinal. West Branch’s losses were to Waterloo Columbus and Iowa City Regina. The Bears have been led offensively by running back Andy Henson (1,295 yards rushing and 16 TDs). Beckman also has a terrific running back in Owen Huehnergarth (1,229 yards and 21 TDs).
Independence at Benton Community (3A)
Records and rankings: Both of these teams are 8-1. Benton is ranked sixth, Independence seventh.
Overview: Perhaps the premier matchup in the entire state in the round of 16. Independence’s lone loss was in the penultimate regular-season game, 25-14, to West Delaware. Benton lost its season opener to playoff qualifier Grinnell, 37-34, and is on an eight-game win streak. Marcus Beatty has been a beast at running back for Indee, with 1,931 yards rushing and 21 TDs. He also has thrown and caught a touchdown. Jacob Brecht has 1,336 yards rushing and 14 TDs for Benton. Quarterback Colin Buch is a dual threat, who has thrown and rushed for 1,579 yards and 17 TDs.
Davenport Assumption at Solon (3A)
Records and rankings: Assumption is 6-3 and unranked. Solon is ranked No. 3 with a 9-0 record.
Overview: Certainly not the easiest first-round playoff game for the third-ranked Spartans, even though they beat Assumption in the regular season, 38-10. It’s the whole beating-a-good-team twice theory. Assumption’s other losses have been to 4A top-ranked North Scott and 3A No. 6 Benton Community. John Argo is the Knights’ best player, leading his team in rushing (1,264 yards, 17 TDs) and tackling. Solon averages 47 points per game and has a point differential of 36, its closest win coming by 14 points. Quarterback Blake Timmons has been wonderful, throwing for 1,200 yards and and rushing for 726 yards and eight TDs.
East Buchanan at Lisbon (A)
Records and rankings: Both of these teams have 8-1 records. Lisbon is ranked No. 4, East Buchanan is No. 7.
Overview: Another game that could be the best in the state in the round of 16. Lisbon held off Bellevue in last week’s first round, 30-27. East Buchanan did the same with Mason City Newman, 44-29. Lisbon’s loss came to 1A playoff qualifier West Branch in the regular-season opener. East Buchanan lost its second game, to No. 3 North Linn, 20-0. Lisbon has relied on many hands offensively, its leading rushers having just 675 yards (Jamien Moore) and 647 yards (Max Kohl). East Buc has a ground-oriented attack, having thrown just 40 passes in nine games. Adam Hackett has 1,495 yards and 18 touchdowns rushing for the Bucs.
Audubon at Montezuma (8-Player)
Records and rankings: Audubon is rated fifth and is 8-0. Montezuma comes in ranked second with a 10-0 record.
Overview: Montezuma escaped its first-round game, 36-34, over New London. Audubon beat Stanton, 55-20. The Wheelers’ loss was to top-ranked Anita CAM, 58-42. Everyone knows the prolific nature of Montezuma quarterback Eddie Burgess, who has thrown for just under 2,000 yards and rushed for just over 1,200. He has accounted for 58 touchdowns. Audubon QB Gavin Smith has just a shade under 2,500 yards rushing and passing, with 48 touchdowns, 36 of them rushing.
Other area games
- Class 4A: Decorah (6-3) at No. 1 North Scott (9-0)
- Class 4A: Clear Creek Amana (6-3) at No. 7 Winterset (7-2)
- Class 3A: Grinnell (6-3) at No. 3 West Delaware (9-0)
- Class 2A: Monroe PCM (5-4) at Williamsburg (6-3)
- Class 2A: Mid-Prairie (6-3) at No. 1 West Marshall (8-1)
- Class 2A: Camanche (6-3) at No. 3 Waukon (8-1)
- Class 2A: No. 10 North Fayette Valley (8-1) at Monticello (7-2)
- Class 1A: No. 10 Waterloo Columbus (7-2) at No. 5 Sigourney-Keota (9-0)
- Class A: North Tama (7-2) at No. 9 Lynnville-Sully (8-1)
- Class A: Wapsie Valley (7-2) at No. 3 North Linn (9-0)
- 8-Player: English Valleys (7-1) at No. 4 Easton Valley (9-0)
- 8-Player: No. 9 Lansing Kee (8-1) at No. 6 Turkey Valley (9-0)