116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
A dozen of the top Metro/Iowa City and area Iowa high school football games for Week 4:
Linn-Mar at Cedar Rapids Washington
Time and place: 7:15 p.m. Thursday, at Kingston Stadium
Records and rankings: Linn-Mar is 1-2; Class 4A No. 9 Washington is 2-1.
Overview: Thursday is the first day of the rest of the season, and this could be a pivotal game for both teams. Linn-Mar has lost two straight games, but very nearly took down 5A top-five Pleasant Valley before falling in overtime. Washington, meanwhile, will try to bounce back after special teams let the Warriors down in a 27-6 loss to Cedar Rapids Kennedy. Washington’s Michael Blank has caught 14 passes for 214 yards and three touchdowns, and Chase Mahoney has 24 tackles. For Linn-Mar, four of Keaton Roskop’s five receptions have gone for touchdowns.
Iowa City West at Davenport Central
Time and place: 7 p.m. Thursday, at Davenport (Brady Street Stadium)
Records and rankings: West is 2-1; Central is 1-2.
Overview: West is heavily favored to win its third straight game and take a 3-1 mark heading into the Week 5 Battle for the Boot. Christian Janis (14 catches, 372 yards, 5 TDs) is third in 5A in all-purpose yards, with 600, and Jack Wallace is tied for fourth in passing touchdowns (six). No wonder the Trojans are averaging more than 310 yards per game. Central earned its first win of the season last week, outlasting Cedar Rapids Jefferson in overtime, 19-12.
Cedar Rapids Xavier at North Scott
Time and place: 7:15 p.m. Friday, at Eldridge
Records and rankings: Both teams are 3-0. Xavier is ranked No. 3 in Class 4A; North Scott is No. 6.
Overview: Xavier has rattled off three consecutive wins over quality competition, but this probably marks the Saints’ toughest test of the regular season. The teams have a common opponent in Western Dubuque (Xavier won, 31-14; North Scott by a 45-7 margin). The Lancers are the last team to top Xavier in the regular season, 20-8 in Week 4 last year. The Saints will try to slow a North Scott attack that averages more than 300 rushing yards per game, led by junior QB Kyler Gerardy, who already has amassed nearly 1,000 yards of total offense. The Saints counter with RB Michael Cunningham (354 rushing yards) and WR Aidan McDermott (four receiving TDs).
Iowa City High at West Des Moines Dowling
Time and place: 7:30 p.m. Friday, at West Des Moines (Valley Stadium)
Records and rankings: Both teams are 2-1. Dowling is ranked No. 2 in Class 5A; City High is No. 6.
Overview: This game was City High’s launchpad last season. The Little Hawks knocked off Dowling at Bates Field, and that vaulted them to a 10-2 campaign that took them all the way to the state semifinals. Expect an aerial show from both sides. City High’s Drew Larson is tied for second in 5A in passing touchdowns (seven) and third in passing yards (766) while Dowling’s Jaxon Smolik is fifth in passing yards (584). The Maroons have played one of the state’s toughest schedules thus far, splitting games with fellow central Iowa heavyweights Southeast Polk and Ankeny.
Iowa City Liberty at Clear Creek Amana
Time and place: 7 p.m. Friday, at Tiffin
Records and rankings: Both teams are 2-1. Liberty is ranked No. 10 in Class 4A.
Overview: How will Liberty bounce back after suffering an upset loss at Western Dubuque. The Lightning, who looked so good through their first 1 1/2 games, haven’t been quite the same the last six quarters and will try to rediscover their mojo. Offense is not an issue: Graham Beckman is fourth in 4A in passing yards (716), and the Lightning are putting up better than 30 points per game. They’ll try to move the ball against a CCA defensive outfit that has been surprisingly stout, allowing just 6.3 points per game. The Clippers bounced back nicely from their last-second Week 2 heartbreaker at Independence, topping Washington (Iowa), 31-6, last week.
Iowa City Regina at Mediapolis
Time and place: 7 p.m. Friday, at Mediapolis
Records and rankings: Regina is 2-1 overall, 0-0 Class 1A District 5; Mediapolis is 3-0, 0-0.
Overview: Let the fun begin in Class 1A District 5. Take Louisa-Muscatine out of the equation, and the other five teams are a combined 14-1, and that one loss (Regina, to Williamsburg) certainly isn’t a bad one. This game, and the battle of unbeatens between Wilton and Durant, will provide an early peek at what the pecking order might look like. The Regals’ defensive focus will be upon Mediapolis’ Anthony Isley, who ranks second among 1A rushers with 597 yards (he has scored eight touchdowns on the ground). After getting shut out in the first game, Regina has scored 85 points in the last two weeks.
Marion at DeWitt Central
Time and place: 7:15 p.m. Friday, at DeWitt
Records and rankings: Marion is 1-2; Class 3A No. 8 Central is 3-0.
Overview: Marion’s stock rose immeasurably last week. After suffering lopsided losses in their first two games, the Wolves put it all together with a surprising 38-14 handling of then-3A ranked Benton Community. University of Iowa recruit Alex Mota was stellar on both sides of the ball, rushing for 130 yards and recording five tackles. The Wolves will try to build on that momentum in this final non-district game, and it will be a challenge. The Sabers are scoring at a 41.7-point clip behind RB Ben Pace (435 rushing yards, eight touchdowns).
Cedar Rapids Jefferson vs. Cedar Rapids Kennedy
Time and place: 7:15 p.m. Friday, at Kingston Stadium (Kennedy is the home team and its fans will sit on the west side)
Records and rankings: Class 5A No. 5 Kennedy is 3-0; Jefferson is 0-3.
Overview: Kennedy’s special teams were exemplary in last week’s win over Cedar Rapids Washington. The Cougars blocked a punt and a PAT, recovered an onside kick and went 2-for-2 on field goal tries. The Cougars can play defense, too, as their 8.3-points-per-game allowed will attest. That unit should shine again this week against a Jefferson club that is averaging 54 yards of total offense per game. The J-Hawks fought hard last week in a 19-12 overtime loss to Davenport Central. Kennedy has moved to the top of the 5A chart in RPI.
Cedar Rapids Prairie at Bettendorf
Time and place: 7:30 p.m. Friday, at Bettendorf
Records and rankings: Class 5A No. 8 Prairie is 2-1; Bettendorf is 0-3.
Overview: Of all the happenings in 5A football so far this fall, perhaps the biggest surprise is the fact that Bettendorf is 0-3. The Bulldogs surrendered 372 rushing yards and four touchdowns to Muscatine’s Ty Cozad last week, and that has to have Prairie’s Makelle Taylor envisioning a big night of his own this week. Taylor has 368 yards through three weeks. The Hawks ran for 336 yards last week in a 24-7 win over Cedar Falls at the UNI-Dome, their second straight victory. Prairie held the Tigers to 141 yards of total offense.
Mount Vernon at Center Point-Urbana
Time and place: 7:15 p.m. Friday, at Center Point
Records and rankings: Class 3A No. 4 Mount Vernon is 3-0; CPU is 2-1.
Overview: The secret is out ... Mount Vernon is very good. The Mustangs sandwiched a couple of shutout wins around their memorable rivalry-game win over Solon, and have soared up the rankings. Caden Stimmel and Brady Erickson rank 1-2 among 3A leaders in receptions, with 17 and 16, respectively. This doesn’t appear to be a cakewalk, though: Center Point-Urbana has explosive capabilities, scoring in the 30s in both of its victories. Cole Werner has rushed for 373 yards and six touchdowns.
Dyersville Beckman at Cascade
Time and place: 7 p.m. Friday, at Cascade
Records and rankings: Class 1A No. 1 Beckman is 3-0 overall, 0-0 District 4; Cascade is 2-1, 0-0.
Overview: Beckman holds the No. 1 spot for the first time since The Gazette began compiling football rankings. The Blazers haven’t been overwhelming their opponents, but have done enough to get the job done. This begins a string of challenging district games (Waterloo Columbus, Sumner-Fredericksburg and MFL MarMac also will be a handful). Beckman’s Nick Wulfekuhle is fourth among 1A rushers, with 570 yards. Cascade certainly is a threat in this game; the Cougars already have a notch in their belt of a ranked team (2A’s Monticello).
East Buchanan at Alburnett
Time and place: 7 p.m. Friday, at Alburnett
Records and rankings: East Buchanan is 2-1; Class A No. 7 Alburnett is 3-0.
Overview: Two elite defenses square off in a game that could be a playoff preview (perhaps a second-round or quarterfinal game). Alburnett is tops in Class A in scoring defense (4.3 points per game allowed); East Buchanan is tied for second (4.7), and both teams have recorded two shutouts. Ryland Cornell, Hunter Bowers and Gavin Reck have two takeaways apiece for the Bucs; Alburnett’s Brody Neighbor has compiled 24 tackles. Grayson Carolan is an explosive receiver for the Pirates, averaging more than 30 yards per catch.