116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Seven area high school football teams have advanced to the UNI-Dome for the state semifinals. The following are capsules for games involving area teams Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
East Buchanan vs. West Hancock (Class A)
Time: 10 a.m. Thursday
Records and rankings: No. 7 East Buchanan is 10-1; No. 1 West Hancock is 11-0.
Overview: East Buchanan will try to do what no other team has done; dent the scoreboard against West Hancock. Nobody has scored more than seven points against the Eagles, who are allowing 4.2 points per game. The Buccaneers have been stingy lately as well, blanking Wapsie Valley 12-0 in the quarterfinals for their ninth consecutive victory. Adam Hackett ran for 159 yards and a touchdown, and Adam Fox collected 9.5 tackles. Hackett has 1,723 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns this season. West Hancock counters with a ground attack that nets 320 yards per game, led by Mathew Francis (1,675 yards, 25 TDs).
Cedar Rapids Xavier vs. Winterset (Class 4A)
Time: 7 p.m. Thursday
Records and rankings: No. 2 Xavier is 10-1; No. 7 Winterset is 9-2.
Overview: Xavier has advanced to the Dome for the eighth time in the past 10 seasons, thanks to a hard-earned 24-13 victory over Webster City in the quarterfinals as Will Hiserote ran for 139 yards. Aidan McDermott is a focal point to the Saints’ attack; he has caught 52 passes and averages 12.8 yards per reception, and also has intercepted five enemy passes. QB Alex Neal has accounted for 20 touchdowns and completes 68 percent of his throws. Winterset is in the playoffs for the first time since 2014 and is making its deepest postseason run in school history. The Huskies’ two losses came against 1A juggernaut Van Meter and 4A semifinalist Lewis Central (38-37). Senior RB Dawson Forgy has rushed for 2,159 yards (9.8 per carry) and 32 touchdowns.
Dyersville Beckman vs. Van Meter (Class 1A)
Time: 10 a.m. Friday
Records and rankings: Both teams are 11-0. Beckman is ranked No. 6; Van Meter is No. 1.
Overview: Van Meter has been a UNI-Dome regular lately, winning the 1A championship in 2017 and finishing second in 2019 and 2020. The Bulldogs have been a wrecking crew this season, averaging nearly 48 points per game. Quarterback Jack Pettit has passed for 1,081 yards and rushed for 832, with 31 total touchdowns. Dalten Van Pelt has rushed for 1,491 yards and 23 scores. Beckman is enjoying its best season in school history and is shooting for its first finals berth. The Blazers have been dominant in the postseason, outscoring their three opponents by a 101-19 count. Owen Huehnergarth (1,559 yards, 23 TDs) spearheads a bruising ground game, and junior QB Cayden Gassman has been responsible for 1,886 total yards and 24 TDs.
Iowa City High vs. Southeast Polk (Class 5A)
Time: 7 p.m. Friday
Records and rankings: Both teams are 10-1. City High is ranked No. 7; Southeast Polk is No. 2.
Overview: Mitch Moore has engineered a startling turnaround in his first year as City head coach. A two-win outfit in 2020, the Little Hawks have hit overdrive this season and have reached the UNI-Dome for the first time since earning runner-up honors in 2010. The Little Hawks jolted No. 1 Cedar Rapids Kennedy, 32-13, in the quarterfinals behind 227 rushing yards and three touchdowns by Darren Richardson, upping his season total to 966 and 16, respectively. Quinton Tran and Drew Larson effectively share the quarterback position; they have combined for more than 2,100 passing yards. Ben Kueter leads the defense with 94 tackles, 39 for loss. Last year’s runner-up, Southeast Polk is full of talent, led by five-star defensive back Xavier Nwankpa. The Rams are elite at quarterback (Jaxon Dailey) and receiver (Cole Filloon).
Waukon vs. Southeast Valley (Class 2A)
Time: 10 a.m. Saturday
Records and rankings: Both teams are 10-1 and were tied for No. 3 in the final Gazette 2A poll.
Overview: Defending 2A champion Waukon returns to the site of last year’s glory, despite heavy graduation losses. The Indians opened the season with a 45-6 loss to Waverly-Shell Rock, then have responded with 10 consecutive victories, including a 28-14 triumph over North Fayette Valley in the quarterfinals behind 248 rushing yards and two touchdowns by Pat Hennessy. That sent his season total to 1,887 yards. Lincoln Snitker is another veteran cornerstone for the Indians; he has rushed for 850 yards (more than 11 per carry). Hennessy and Snitker have combined for 140 tackles. Southeast Valley is battle tested, to say the least. The Jaguars shared the title of District 2, the toughest district in 2A. Quarterback Kolton Kruse has passed for 1,944 yards and has rushed for 1,278, with 36 total touchdowns.
Williamsburg vs. West Lyon (Class 2A)
Time: 1 p.m. Saturday
Records and rankings: Williamsburg is 8-3; No. 6 West Lyon is 9-2.
Overview: Well, Williamsburg is at it again, and it should come as no surprise. The Raiders’ pre-district schedule (0-3 against Iowa City Regina, Van Meter and Solon) ultimately paid off, and they have rattled off eight consecutive wins in which they have outscored their opposition by a total of 324-38. That includes an eye-opening 32-6 whipping of top-ranked West Marshall in the quarterfinals. Cade Ritchie passed for 241 yards and three touchdowns. West Lyon is a powerhouse program that has won five state titles, most recently in 2019. The Wildcats have won eight in a row after a 1-2 start, including emphatic wins over top-10 foes Spirit Lake (35-7) and Central Lyon/George-Little Rock (24-7) in the last two rounds. Jaxon Meyer leads a balanced running attack with 790 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Solon vs. Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley (Class 3A)
Time: 4 p.m. Saturday
Records and rankings: Both teams are 11-0. Solon is ranked No. 3; BHRV is No. 2.
Overview: After storming through its district, Solon has found a way to win close games in the postseason. First, the Spartans edged Davenport Assumption in Round 1, 24-17. Then they rallied to knock off West Delaware on the road, 23-19, in the quarterfinals, overcoming a 10-point deficit in the final five minutes on a long run, a screen pass for a touchdown and a blocked punt for another. Sean Stahle has rushed for 1,127 yards and 17 touchdowns. BHRV has blistered everything in its path all season, averaging 47 points per game and allowing 10. Quarterback Tanner Te Slaa has passed for 1,928 yards and 28 touchdowns, with Landyn Van Kekerix and Caleb Kats his primary targets.