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Iowa high school football rewind: Sigourney-Keota knocks off No. 1 Pella Christian
Cobras have rebounded from 0-2 start
Sigourney-Keota’s restart has produced successful results.
The Cobras opened with an uncharacteristic 0-2 record this season. Coach Jared Jensen said they went back to the drawing board and returned to square one.
Sigourney-Keota has won three straight games, including a 15-13 victory over Class 1A top-ranked Pella Christian Friday night at Sigourney. The Cobras are 2-0 in 1A District 6 and share the lead with Week 7 opponent Central Decatur.
“We saw the mistakes we made really killed us,” Sigourney-Keota Coach Jared Jensen said about losses to eighth-ranked Durant and 2A Mid-Prairie. “We went back to ground zero and focused on all the little things we have to do correctly to be successful. The last three weeks we definitely have done that.”
The program’s signature rush attack and stout defensive play are part of the winning formula again. Sigourney-Keota used both to hand the Eagles their first loss.
Cole Clarahan led a balanced run game that amassed 252 yards. Clarahan rushed for 94 yards and both touchdowns. The first was a 3-yard score in the first quarter for a 6-0 lead. His short TD run put Sigourney-Keota up, 15-6, in the third and proved to be the game winner. Sawyer Stout ran for 88 yards and Isaac Burns added 75.
“Just ground and pound,” Jensen said. “Run that clock. Limit the mistakes and get 3 1/2 yards a pop.”
The offense averaged 4.3 yards per carry and helped produce time-consuming drives. One melted about six minutes off the clock in the second half, bridging the third and fourth quarters. A possession right before half resulted in Caden Clarahan’s 32-yard field goal with two seconds remaining for a 9-6 lead.
“We really put a drive together there,” Jensen said. “Going into halftime, we felt pretty good.”
Defense has been the most-consistent unit and coaches have moved personnel into the positions. They held the Eagles well below their 47.5 points per game average through the first four weeks. Jack Clarahan had a team-high 6.5 tackles, while Cale Clarahan and Cole Kindred had five, including four solos apiece.
Pella Christian drove to the Sigourney-Keota 40 but was turned away on fourth-and-4 with about a minute left to seal it.
“Our defense has stepped up,” Jensen said. “Defensively, we came to play tonight. They knew what was at stake. They really rallied around themselves.”
The Cobras play at winless Cardinal next week.
Duane Schulte wins No. 200 at Xavier
Duane Schulte is the only head football coach in Cedar Rapids Xavier’s 25-year history and he hit a milestone Friday against Cedar Rapids Washington.
The Saints defeated the Warriors, 38-0, in a 4A District 4 contest at Kingston Stadium, securing his 200th victory at Xavier. He is 200-70 overall and has led the school to state titles in 2006, 2017 and 2018.
“I was kind of thinking about all the former players we’ve had,” Schulte told The Gazette after the win. “They all helped us get to this point.
“And I’m happy for the current guys that can say they were here for this moment. It’s not my win, it’s Xavier’s win.”
Schulte has averaged eight wins a year. He was 25-14 at his alma mater Cedar Rapids LaSalle, which merged with Cedar Rapids Regis to form Xavier in 1998. Schulte has coached his sons, Reggie, Bryce and Quinn, building a 225-84 overall mark.
Reggie, who played quarterback for his dad and is a current Saints assistant, said his dad is consistent and old. He emphasized the former.
“As a player, you knew what to expect every day,” Reggie said. “You're going to get coached hard and be set to a high standard. But you're also going to know that you're cared about. It doesn't matter if you're the first guy on the roster or the last guy. He also doesn't give up on kids.
“As a young coach, there have been times where I have been ‘over’ a guy and he'll say ‘we just need to keep coaching them’ and that player will find a way to be a key contributor in some aspect. He is able to see the best in people and bring it out them.”
Xavier has reached the state championship game six times, earning runner-up finishes in 2012, 2013 and 2021. The Saints dropped a triple-overtime thriller to top-ranked Council Bluffs Lewis Central last season.
Schulte has created a strong rapport with players and draws the best out of them.
“Coach really cares about all of the players,” said Xavier senior Michael Cunningham, who rushed for 124 yards and three touchdowns against Washington. “The time he puts in with the players and assistants ... the culture he built here ... the game plans he puts together ... a great coach.”
The third-ranked Saints improved to 5-0 this season and are 1-0 in the district. They host Pella next week.
Rally lifts Iowa City Liberty
Iowa City Liberty scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns for a 20-16 come-from-behind victory over 4A eighth-ranked North Scott Friday night at North Liberty. The Lightning outscored the Lancers 20-7 after halftime.
“North Scott’s a good team,” said Liberty quarterback Graham Beckman, who passed for 204 yards and three TDs. “We came out here, especially in the second half, and just played better than them.
“I think it was just keeping our heads up and believing in ourselves. We knew that we could play with them and even be better than them, we just kind of shot ourselves in the foot in the first half.”
Liberty trailed 9-0 when it got on the board with a 4-yard TD pass from Beckman to Christian Barney with 5:38 left in the third.
North Scott responded with a TD to go up 16-6 with 11:10 remaining. The Lightning took control the rest of the way. Beckman connected on an 80-yard scoring strike to Garrett Gregoire to pull within three.
Liberty took over at the Lancers’ 29 after a punting miscue. Beckman hit Wyatt Williams for a 24-yard score and the Lightning’s first — and final — lead with 8:06 to play.
“Our players just have a lot of guts,” Liberty Coach James Harris told The Gazette. “They believe. I just appreciated them pounding the stone and believing.”
The Lightning are 4-1 overall and 1-0 in 4A District 3.
This and that
- East Buchanan rushed for 423 total yards, including 331 yards in the second half in a 48-12 homecoming victory over Maquoketa Valley. For the second time, the Buccaneers completed just one pass that went for a TD
- Mount Vernon (5-0) remained one of just four unbeaten teams in 3A after a 47-0 home win over Benton Community. The Mustangs recorded their third shutout this season and have allowed just six points in the last 12 quarters.
- Dyersville Beckman rebounded from its first loss of the season with a dominant performance against Postville. The Blazers won, 89-0, and set the school record for points in a game. The old record was 84, set in 2013.