116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
A dozen of the top area high school football games for Week 1 (Aug. 27):
Cedar Rapids Kennedy at Iowa City West
Time and place: 7:15 p.m. Friday, at Trojan Field
Records and rankings: Class 5A No. 8 Kennedy was 4-4 last season; West was 6-1.
Overview: West owns a four-game win streak over Kennedy (it was 38-14 last year), but the Cougars probably are slight favorites this time. Expect Kennedy to be more diverse offensively after being run-dominated in recent years, and the move-in of Jeron Senters (from Linn-Mar) will help on both sides of the ball. At halftime, 2021 Gazette Athletes of the Year Marcus Morgan and Aurora Roghair (both of West) will honored.
Cedar Rapids Washington vs. Cedar Rapids Jefferson
Time and place: 7:15 p.m. Friday, at Kingston Stadium
Records and rankings: Class 4A No. 4 Washington was 3-5 last season; Jefferson was 0-8.
Overview: Two teams on opposite ends of the optimism spectrum. Despite coming into the season with a five-game losing streak, hopes are high for Washington in its new classification, and the Warriors bring back their top four tacklers, led by Watts McBride. There was concern as to whether Jefferson would field a varsity team, but all systems are go, for now.
Clear Creek Amana at Marion
Time and place: 7:15 p.m. Friday, at Thomas Park Field
Records and rankings: CCA was 4-4 last season; Marion was 3-5.
Overview: Two new coaching regimes begin; Matt Haddy takes over at CCA, and Michael Joyner is the new guy at Marion. A lot else is fresh at Marion, the beginning of a new nickname (Wolves), logo and all of that. Marion upset CCA in the postseason last year, 18-14, and has a likely Division-I prospect in Alex Mota. CCA’s Alex Swails intercepted six passes last year as a junior.
Iowa City High at Iowa City Liberty
Time and place: 7:30 p.m. Friday, at North Liberty
Records and rankings: City High was 2-4 last season; Liberty was 2-3.
Overview: Liberty has won a pair of tight ones against City in the past two years (it was 28-24 last season), and this one has the potential to go down the wire, too. Mitch Moore is the new coach at City High, and James Harris takes over at Liberty. Both squads have a lot returning on their respective defenses. The Lightning hope to enhance an attack that scored just 11.2 points per game.
Muscatine at Linn-Mar
Time and place: 7:15 p.m. Friday, at Linn-Mar Stadium
Records and rankings: Muscatine was 3-5 last year; Linn-Mar was 1-5.
Overview: Former Marion coach Tim Lovell takes his whistle and clipboard across town to Linn-Mar. The Lions slid to 1-5 last season after a 6-4, playoff campaign in 2019, but a quick rebound is possible. Linn-Mar returns many key parts of its defense, including veteran Clayton Muszynski. If there’s a potential big-school dark horse in the Corridor, this is it.
Pleasant Valley at Cedar Rapids Prairie
Time and place: 7:15 p.m. Friday, at John Wall Field
Records and rankings: Class 5A No. 4 Pleasant Valley was 10-1 last season; No. 7 Prairie was 5-3.
Overview: Potentially the most attractive game of the area Week 1 slate. Pleasant Valley comes to town after reaching the 4A semifinals last year and returns QB Barrett Lindmark. Prairie counters with Iowa State commit Gabe Burkle and returns its top receiver in Elijah Ward. Expect a physical, probably low-scoring battle in the mold of the Hawks’ 13-7 win in 2019.
Western Dubuque at Cedar Rapids Xavier
Time and place: 7:30 p.m. Friday, at Saints Field
Records and rankings: Western Dubuque was 5-4 last season; Class 4A No. 6 Xavier was 10-1.
Overview: Lots of unknowns throughout both of these proud programs. Xavier, which reached the 3A semifinals last year before dropping an overtime heartbreaker to North Scott, will try to reload under veteran coach Duane Schulte. Western Dubuque returns leading rusher Spencer Zinn (598 yards, five TDs in 2020). The Saints earned a 38-21 decision in last year’s opener.
Williamsburg at Iowa City Regina
Time and place: 7 p.m. Friday, at Regina
Records and rankings: Class 2A No. 7 Williamsburg was 8-1 last season; 1A No. 4 Regina was 11-1.
Overview: Marv Cook stepped down after Regina’s Class A state-title run last year, and Jason Dumont takes over. He inherits a team that is well stocked along the lines but unproven at the skill positions. Williamsburg is traditionally strong, and will be again this fall. Carson Huedepohl rushed for 423 yards and collected 40 tackles in 2020.
North Linn at Alburnett
Time and place: 7:30 p.m. Friday, at Alburnett
Records and rankings: North Linn was 2-6 last season; Alburnett was 6-3.
Overview: Despite last year’s record (capped by a four-game losing streak), North Linn appears poised for a big jump this fall; we’re including the Lynx among five contenders in the Class A District 4 title hunt. Tate Haughenbury had seven takeaways last year as a junior. Alburnett topped the Lynx 21-14 last season and could be the chief threat to Lisbon in District 5.
Waverly-Shell Rock at Waukon
Time and place: 7:30 p.m. Friday, at Waukon
Records and rankings: WSR was 4-4 last season; Class 2A No. 3 Waukon was 10-1.
Overview: Waukon carries a 10-game winning streak (the first of that streak was a 45-10 rout of WSR), and that wave led the Indians to the 2A state championship last year. They’re a contender again behind two-way stalwarts Lincoln Snitker and Pat Hennessy. Don’t be surprised if WSR takes a giant step forward this season behind junior running backs McCrae Hagarty and Asa Newsom.
West Branch at Lisbon
Time and place: 7 p.m. Friday, at Lisbon
Records and rankings: West Branch was 5-3 last season; Class A No. 4 Lisbon was 7-3.
Overview: Without a doubt, Lisbon is facing its biggest challenge of the regular season. The Lions return the majority of their key pieces from a team that lost two of their three games by a combined nine points (the other was to eventual state champion Iowa City Regina). West Branch’s Andy Henson ran for 893 yards last year as a sophomore, and also was second on the team in tackles (32).
West Liberty at Solon
Time and place: 7:30 p.m. Friday, at Solon
Records and rankings: West Liberty was 6-3 last season; Class 3A No. 6 Solon was 7-3.
Overview: Both teams took the ambitious path when scheduling non-district opponents. West Liberty’s first three foes (also including Iowa City Regina and Independence) were 24-6 last year; Solon’s first four (also featuring Mount Vernon, Williamsburg and Davenport Assumption) were 29-7. Solon QB Blake Timmons accounted for 22 TDs last season; West Liberty’s Jahsiah Galvan ran for 1,673 yards.