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 5:
Cedar Rapids Kennedy at Dubuque Senior
Time and place: 7:15 p.m. Friday, at Dubuque (Dalzell Field)
Records and rankings: Class 5A No. 5 Kennedy is 4-0; Senior is 3-1.
Overview: Kennedy has assembled another fine defense; the Cougars are allowing 7.8 points per game, and only one 5A team (Pleasant Valley, 5.5) has been better. The Cougars have held three straight opponents to a touchdown or less, and they yielded just 20 yards of offense last week to Cedar Rapids Jefferson. Offensively, the Cougars have developed into a balanced unit; six different guys have rushed for a touchdown, with nobody with more than two. Cyrus Courtney leads the receiving corps with 14 catches, including three TDs. Senior has won two straight games behind quarterback Jack Simon, who has passed for six touchdowns and no INTs.
Cedar Rapids Xavier at Cedar Rapids Washington
Time and place: 7:30 p.m. Friday, at Kingston Stadium
Records and rankings: No. 3 Xavier is 4-0 overall, 0-0 Class 4A District 4; Washington is 2-2, 0-0.
Overview: Xavier Coach Duane Schulte is on the brink of more history; a win Friday would be his 200th at Xavier (he is 199-70 at Xavier, 224-84 overall). The Saints flourished through the non-district portion of the season, winning all four against challenging competition, all by 17 points or more. Michael Cunningham has rushed for 460 yards, and Aidan McDermott is an elite two-way performer. Washington probably provides the Saints with their toughest district test. The Warriors have speedy skill-position guys like Michael Blank (20 receptions, 309 yards, 4 TDs), Miles Thompson and Watts McBride.
North Scott at Iowa City Liberty
Time and place: 7:30 p.m. Friday, at North Liberty
Records and rankings: Both teams are 3-1 overall, 0-0 Class 4A District 3. North Scott is ranked No. 8; Liberty is No. 9.
Overview: It’s completely possible that this is the pivotal game that will decide the 4A District 3 champion. Liberty stomped on the throttle last week, scoring the final 49 points in a 55-7 blasting of Clear Creek Amana behind 254 passing yards by Graham Beckman. That put his season pass total to 970 yards, with a 9-to-0 TD-to-INT ledger. Christian Barney, Lucas Meyer and Garrett Gregoire all have at least 14 receptions. North Scott looks to bounce back after a 17-0 home loss to Cedar Rapids Xavier. Quarterback Kyler Gerardy has rushed for 498 yards and passed for 630, with 10 total touchdowns.
Iowa City High at Iowa City West
Time and place: 7 p.m. Friday, at West
Records and rankings: City is 2-2; West is 3-1.
Overview: City High put a 56-7 beating on West last year, and that surely will be incentive for the Trojans in this year’s Battle for the Boot, which on paper appears to be a coin flip. The Trojans are on a three-game winning spree, scoring at a 39-point clip in the process. Christian Janis has been one of the state’s top receivers; the senior has caught 19 passes for 25.4 yards per snag, and seven touchdowns. City had a rough go of it last week in central Iowa, dropping a 34-0 decision to West Des Moines Dowling. Expect an aerial showdown between City’s Drew Larson (65.6 completion pct., 945 yards, 7 TDs) and West’s Jack Wallace (56.2%, 786 yards, 10 TDs).
Ottumwa at Cedar Rapids Prairie
Time and place: 7:15 p.m. Friday, at John Wall Field
Records and rankings: Ottumwa is 2-2; Class 5A No. 8 Prairie is 3-1.
Overview: Prairie has won three straight games, but the most recent didn’t come easy; the Hawks had to fight off winless Bettendorf, 18-17. They’ll be heavily favored at home the next two weeks (they welcome Waterloo West next Friday). Prairie is averaging nearly 280 rushing yards per game behind Makelle Taylor (454 yards, 3 TDs) and QB Cal Sullivan (348 yards, 3 TDs), both of whom average 6.1 yards per carry. Ottumwa has dropped two straight after a 2-0 start, including a 42-7 loss to Burlington last week.
Wilton at Iowa City Regina
Time and place: 7 p.m. Friday, at Regina
Records and rankings: Wilton is 3-1 overall, 0-1 Class 1A District 5; Regina is 2-2, 0-1.
Overview: It’s too early to call this an elimination game, but the loser will have some ground to make up to reach the playoffs. Regina suffered a 17-7 loss to Mediapolis last week while Wilton was beaten 28-8 by Durant. Wilton sophomores Owen Hassell and Drew Keith both average more than 100 yards rushing per game. Jackson Naeve has emerged as Regina’s top offensive weapon, catching 15 passes for 206 yards and four touchdowns.
Marion at Western Dubuque
Time and place: 7:30 p.m. Friday, at Epworth
Records and rankings: Both teams are 2-2 overall, 0-0 Class 4A District 2.
Overview: This game has gained a lot of luster in the last two weeks. Both teams have won two straight games after 0-2 starts. Marion’s turnaround has been astonishing, knocking off a pair of 3A ranked foes in Benton Community and DeWitt Central. Alex Mota has started getting more touches, and the offense has begun to click. Western Dubuque has turned to freshman Brett Harris at quarterback, and he has thrown for 376 yards and four touchdowns. Caleb Klein has 13 receptions, with 21.8 yards per catch and four touchdowns.
Cedar Rapids Jefferson at Linn-Mar
Time and place: 7:15 p.m. Friday, at Linn-Mar Stadium
Records and rankings: Jefferson is 0-4; Linn-Mar is 2-2.
Overview: This is the Lions’ first game in their home stadium after some issues with their new turf. Linn-Mar won a pivotal game last week over Cedar Rapids Washington, 30-12, and is heavily favored to roll Friday and get back on the right side of .500. The Lions have been opportunistic defensively, gobbling up 10 takeaways.
Mediapolis at West Branch
Time and place: 7 p.m. Friday, at West Branch
Records and rankings: Both teams are 4-0 overall, 1-0 Class 1A District 5. West Branch is ranked No. 5; Mediapolis is No. 10.
Overview: There are going to be two quality games in 1A-5 every week, and this probably shapes up as the biggest one of the year. Mediapolis opened some eyes last week by opening district play with a 17-7 victory over Iowa City Regina; Anthony Isley ran for 159 yards, pushing his season total to 756 (and nine touchdowns). West Branch has been a wrecking crew so far, scoring a 1A-high 60 points per game, including an 86-0 rout of Louisa-Muscatine last week. QB Tye Hughes has accumulated 10 offensive touchdowns, and Carver Boelk averages 22.4 yards per catch, and four of his nine receptions have ended in the end zone.
Benton Community at Mount Vernon
Time and place: 7:30 p.m. Friday, at Mount Vernon
Records and rankings: Benton is 3-1 overall, 0-0 Class 3A District 4; No. 4 Mount Vernon is 4-0, 0-0.
Overview: Mount Vernon drew a tough two opponents to open district play, hosting Benton this week and traveling to Davenport Assumption in Week 6. The Mustangs rank second among 3A teams in scoring defense, allowing 5.0 points per game. Jackson Jaspers leads that unit with 29 tackles. Joey Rhomberg and Brady Erickson have developed into one of 3A’s top QB-receiver combos. Benton rebounding nicely from its Week 3 loss to Marion, hammering South Tama, 48-0, last week. The Bobcats jumped in front, 41-0, at halftime, and cruised home with the continuous clock.
Easton Valley at Central City
Time and place: 7 p.m. Friday, at Central City
Records and rankings: No. 6 Easton Valley is 3-1 overall, 2-0 8-Player District 5; Central City is 4-0, 3-0.
Overview: A major challenge — and a gigantic opportunity — awaits Central City. The winner of this game is the likely district champion, and a victory certainly would vault the Wildcats into the 8-Player top 10 next week. And looking at the roster, 2023 should be even better. QB Jayden Hanson and RB Aiden Klostermann (471 yards, 7 TDs) are juniors, and the top six tacklers of a defense that allows 13.2 points per game consist of three juniors and three sophomores. They’ll try to contain an Easton Valley attack that scores at a 53.8-point clip. Charlie Simpson has run for 705 yards (13.8 per carry) with 12 TDs.
Maquoketa Valley at East Buchanan
Time and place: 7 p.m. Friday, at Winthrop
Records and rankings: Maquoketa Valley is 3-1 overall, 2-0 Class A District 4; No. 9 East Buchanan is 3-1, 1-1.
Overview: We know that old Tri-Rivers rivals East Buchanan, North Linn and Alburnett are quality teams. Question is, where does Maquoketa Valley fit? We’ll know more after Friday. East Buchanan is coming off a surprisingly high-scoring non-district win over Alburnett, 34-27, scoring four second-half touchdowns. The Bucs are, as usual, a run-heavy offense, averaging 342 yards on the ground. Tanner Thurn leads a balanced attack with 495 yards. Maquoketa Valley stayed perfect in district play with a 22-20 win over Bellevue, behind 220 yards and three TDs by junior Lance McShane, who has 719 yards and 12 TDs to his credit through four weeks.