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Iowa high school football: Gazette-area Week 5 games to watch
Cedar Rapids Kennedy returns to action with a Thursday test vs. Dubuque Senior
A dozen of the top area high school football games for Week 5 (Sept. 23-24). Note: Cedar Rapids Prairie has won its game at Ottumwa via forfeit.
Dubuque Senior at Cedar Rapids Kennedy
Time and place: 7:15 p.m. Thursday, at Kingston Stadium
Records and rankings: Senior is 3-1; Class 5A No. 2 Kennedy is 4-0.
Overview: Kennedy returns to action after earning a forfeit win last week over Cedar Rapids Jefferson. The Cougars have the top RPI in 5A and seem to be getting stronger week by week, handing Cedar Rapids Washington a 48-7 thumping before their bye week. Senior has won two straight, including a 41-14 win over Waterloo West last week. Jack Gilligan has passed for 891 yards to a balanced group of Rams receivers.
Cedar Rapids Washington at Cedar Rapids Xavier
Time and place: 7 p.m. Friday, at Saints Field
Records and rankings: Washington is 2-2 overall, 0-0 Class 4A District 4; No. 4 Xavier is 3-1, 0-0.
Overview: This will be a bounce-back game for somebody. Xavier dropped a 20-8 verdict last week to 4A No. 1 North Scott while Washington has suffered two consecutive lopsided losses after a promising 2-0 start. The Warriors committed five turnovers and managed just 77 yards of offense last week against Linn-Mar. Xavier’s Aidan McDermott has blossomed into a top-level receiver; he has 30 catches for 332 yards in just four games.
Iowa City Liberty at North Scott
Time and place: 7:30 p.m. Friday, at Eldridge
Records and rankings: Liberty is 0-4 overall, 0-0 Class 4A District 3; No. 1 North Scott is 4-0, 0-0.
Overview: Even if the Lightning fall to 0-5 with a loss to the top-ranked team in 4A, the schedule softens drastically after this week, and the possibility is still there for a postseason berth if they win their last four. Liberty lost a tough one in the final two minutes last week to Clear Creek Amana, 31-30, but the offense showed improvement. North Scott has won 12 straight games, including a 20-8 triumph last week over Cedar Rapids Xavier.
Iowa City Regina at Wilton
Time and place: 7 p.m. Friday, at Wilton
Records and rankings: Both teams are 4-0 overall, 1-0 Class 1A District 5. Regina is ranked No. 3.
Overview: Regina looks more and more each week like a true 1A Dome contender, and was extremely impressive in last week’s 34-0 blasting of previously unbeaten Mediapolis. The Regals have been suffocating on defense, allowing just 6.7 points per game. Aiden Udell has 19 tackles, and Carson Jensen has three interceptions to his credit. Wilton hasn’t been overwhelming, but 4-0 is 4-0. Jackson Hull has rushed for 529 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Iowa City West at Iowa City High
Time and place: 7:15 p.m. Friday, at Bates Field
Records and rankings: West is 1-3; Class 5A sixth-ranked City is 4-0.
Overview: West has won the last five games in the Boot series, including verdicts of 56-20 and 35-7 last season. But the Little Hawks are the favorites this time. They gained additional validation with a 21-17 victory last week over West Des Moines Dowling. Ben Kueter is a two-way star, and the Little Hawks have employed a two-QB system effectively. West’s last two losses, against Dubuque Hempstead and Davenport North, were a bit puzzling, and the Trojans probably need at least four wins in their last five games to have a shot at the postseason.
Linn-Mar at Cedar Rapids Jefferson
Time and place: 7:15 p.m. Friday, at Kingston Stadium
Records and rankings: Class 5A ninth-ranked Linn-Mar is 4-0; Jefferson is 0-4.
Overview: It’s safe to say by now that Linn-Mar has a legitimate defense. The Lions have allowed just 43 points in the first four games, and have collected 17 takeaways in the process. They were at their opportunistic best last week, forcing five turnovers and allowing 77 yards in a 36-7 rout of Cedar Rapids Washington. Jefferson did not play last week, forfeiting to Cedar Rapids Kennedy, but this game is on as of midweek.
Western Dubuque at Marion
Time and place: 7:15 p.m. Friday, at Thomas Park Field
Records and rankings: Western Dubuque is 2-2 overall, 0-0 Class 4A District 2; Marion is 1-3, 0-0.
Overview: Marion earned its first win of the season last week, tripping previously unbeaten DeWitt Central, 20-7. And that gives the Wolves renewed optimism heading into district play. Western Dubuque has won two straight after an 0-2 start, and is starting to click offensively. The Bobcats put up 65 points last week against Dubuque Hempstead behind four passing touchdowns from Jack Clemens and four rushing TDs from Spencer Zinn.
Mount Vernon at Benton Community
Time and place: 7:15 p.m. Friday, at Van Horne
Records and rankings: Both teams are 3-1 overall, 0-0 Class 3A District 4. Mount Vernon is ranked No. 9.
Overview: Benton has picked up three straight wins after an opening-week loss to Grinnell. The Bobcats have allowed just 20 points in the last three games. Offensively, they possess a bruising 1-2 ground attack with Colin Buch and Jacob Brecht, who have combined for 1,014 yards and 12 touchdowns. The Mustangs own a strong ground game as well; Trenton Pitlik has accumulated 497 yards (on 10.1 per carry) with 10 touchdowns.
Oskaloosa at Clear Creek Amana
Time and place: 7:30 p.m. Friday, at Tiffin
Records and rankings: Oskaloosa is 4-0 overall, 0-0 Class 4A District 4; CCA is 3-1, 0-0.
Overview: Oskaloosa has crafted a 4-0 mark, but has done so against teams that are a combined 4-12, and the level of competition goes up markedly with district play. CCA has had a flair for the dramatic; two of the Clippers’ victories (against Marion and Iowa City Liberty) have come in the final seconds. Ben Swails has passed for 712 yards; Harrison Rosenberg (18 catches, 341 yards) is his top target.
Sigourney-Keota at Pella Christian
Time and place: 7 p.m. Friday, at Pella
Records and rankings: Both teams are 4-0 overall, 1-0 Class 1A District 6. Sigourney-Keota is ranked No. 5; Pella Christian is No. 7.
Overview: A state semifinalist last year, Sigourney-Keota is rounding into shape behind a defense that allows 9.8 points per game and an attack that has tallied 42 in each of its last three contests. Cade Molyneux has become the featured back, with 833 yards and 10 touchdowns. Pella Christian received a forfeit victory last week from Van Buren County. Josiah Diehl headlines a defense that allows 12 points per contest.
Turkey Valley at Janesville
Time and place: 7 p.m. Friday, at Janesville
Records and rankings: Ninth-ranked Turkey Valley is 4-0 overall, 2-0 8-Player District 3; No. 7 Janesville is 4-0, 3-0.
Overview: After an 11-1 season in 2019 that ended in the semifinals, Turkey Valley dipped to 2-5 last year with a defense that allowed 48 points per game. But the Trojans have rebounded this fall, winning an overtime game with Don Bosco in Week 2. And that defense? It’s allowing just 15 points per contest behind Dylan Reicks (27.5 tackles). Janesville has won all four of its games by 20 points or more. Leo Dodd has thrown 14 touchdown passes, six to Wiley Sherburne.
West Branch at Mediapolis
Time and place: 7 p.m. Friday, at Mediapolis
Records and rankings: West Branch is 3-1 overall, 1-0 Class 1A District 5; Mediapolis is 3-1, 0-1.
Overview: West Branch has won two straight games decisively, and the Bears will try to keep it rolling against a Mediapolis outfit that suffered its first loss of the season, 34-0 to Iowa City Regina. Junior Andy Henson has 442 rushing yards and seven touchdowns for the Bears. West Branch will try to contain Mediapolis’ Anthony Isley, who has 707 yards and eight TDs to his ledger.